A/N: This was written between 9pm and 12:30am, so if I use some odd-looking words or suddenly throw in an abundance of semi-colons then that is the reason. This is written in the third person, but centred around Amane's thoughts. (I thought I would mention that at the beginning because I have not put in a single name throughout the entire story and Sod's Law decrees that without this note I will end up with at least one review asking who the story is based around.)
This story is dedicated to Paladius, one of the most talented writers I have ever exchanged correspondance with, and author of, simply, the best Amane stories on this site.
Incense. It swathed the room in a great blanket, perfuming the corners with cloying sweetness.
She enjoyed the smell; she liked the way it stubbornly cloaked the furniture and the walls and her clothes with itself; and when lit in plenty would cause a slight mist to descend upon her vision, as if she were seeing things in an utterly different way from normal. But most enjoyable with opium incense was that, if when sat very still, one could discern beneath the syrupy smell a more pungent tang. Something…spicy, almost. But what gave her the pleasure was the image that always came with that scent: that of uneasy decay. It required so little extension of the imagination to see that rotting object, just out of reach: a little damp, and the rot nestling beneath.
She watched calmly as it swirled around her, fibres of clothing readily absorbing it. The smell would follow her outside, she knew. Which was perfectly fine. It was not a distinctly unpleasant odour by any means; it just made people uneasy, which was how she liked them. So much easier to read that way: limbs shifting, eyes trembling loosely in sockets.
She herself sat calmly, completely at ease. Long limbs, deceptively fragile, folded over each other; hands rested calmly in her lap. She believed that it was this fragility of appearance which drew the men to her, drew anyone to her – people were attracted to frailty, attracted to the idea of being master over something so obviously insubstantial and crying out to be dominated. It sometimes started out as protection, but in the end the urge for dominion inevitably overcame all else.
Or sometimes it wasn't that; it was the fascination for having glimpsed such purity and for wanting more. And there was such perfection in those features…she knew, had known from too young an age just to turn those big, big eyes on anyone at all, and they would trip over themselves in the flurry to do her bidding.
Perhaps it was a family thing. Because everyone always mentioned it about her brother – it was almost as if females were expected to be beautiful, for God's sake. You could even look upon her as being overshadowed by him in that area; not that it particularly concerned her. Because in the end, when those softly perfect features hardened and gave her quite a different sort of beauty, they always took her seriously; and one could not dispute the fact that no one had given her brother that honour. It was as if he expected it though, or perhaps such a thing was beyond imagining for him. He was pretty; she was pretty. Yet there was a difference, even in the midst of such perfection.
He had queried it once, when they had walked down the bustling, jostling street together, whispering in that soft voice now filling up with fear and awe: They…they're looking at us, onee-chan. Why are they doing that? And she had wantedto reply, Because we're beautiful, you and I; the world has never before been granted such a tantalising glimpse of physical perfection strolling casually down the street like this.
But she did not say that, of course. Not one to indulge in such foolishness as informing this to her brother, even if she had managed to convey it in sufficiently simple enough terms for him to grasp her meaning; and yet she wanted to, oh God yes. One could not deny how good they looked together, he slightly taller although he still managed to look up at her when he talked, their clothes perfectly chosen (and with such good taste) and managing what should have been a near impossible feat of complementing the hair which some people dared to insist was merely a pale, pale shade of blond. This had made her angry in the beginning – It's fucking white, you fools, are you colour-blind as well as retarded? – and had been one of the few things which could truly drive her into a rage, while her brother looked on with that baffled, conforming smile of his.
How could he do that, just let people's untrue opinions go uncorrected? Besides, you could not ignore those two images of perfection walking by – they were so, so perfect. Gods, almost. You couldn't ignore them. It was…was blasphemy. Sacrilege. How can you fail to adore me?
Hands plucked querulously at her clothes. Why did he always have to be so uncomfortable with the way people treated them? It was natural for people to be fascinated with them, she had argued. And he had looked back at her, and his eyes were blank and uncomprehending. We…we're not special, onee-chan. Not really. Not at all. Why must people think so?
Eventually, she could be no more than irritated with his persistent innocence, the same thing that made him face every day with such gaiety, while part of her secretly looked on and envied him for his unsullied mind, his…his pureness. That was it: he was so fucking pure. Mind and body purged from birth of all that would taint him.
And his reaction when the first girls had approached him…well, that was actually laughable. The way bafflement had lingered for so much longer than she had thought it would, before shyness, horror, and fear… She had admitted to herself at that moment that she had no idea as to why he should look that way, why his eyes would acquire a round, glazed look akin to a rabbit caught in headlights. He had explained it to her later, haltingly at first, voice gaining in rhythm and volume as he grew more confident of what he was trying to say, but still holding that irrepressible undercurrent of softness, even as his eyes had trembled and his body shivered with memories. He didn't understand why they were doing it, he whispered; surely it could not be purely because of…well, you know, onee-chan, that thing… It didn't make sense – people couldn't be that shallow, so quick to make conclusions. They had barely heard him say two sentences, or then they would have known, discovered the truth…
What truth?she had whispered back, tenderly, her arms holding him to her.
I'm not worthy. Of this. This…worship. It sounds silly but that's what it is. They scare me. It's like they've become something else, something primitive, because all they need to do is look at me and then it happens.
So there it was: her brother had low self-esteem. Brilliant. Fucking brilliant. And she had sat there, fury coursing through her veins as she became warmer, more incensed, trembling even more than he was. It had taken so much of her self-control not to slap him, to tell him not to be so stupid but to relax and bathe in this adoration: How many people are looked upon like this?
And he had shuddered a little in her arms, as if a feeble attempt to pull away. But she had him now; he was in her arms; and he was safe there. She wasn't going to let anyone hurt him, her frail baby brother who had been born before her but seemed to forget the fact as often as she herself did. He was hers.
How tenderly she had caressed him, holding him tightly against the curve of her body until the entirety of his whimpers had been absorbed safely into her! She had thought he would have been taken aback at some point about how physically close they actually were to each other – they were both teenagers now, and at the sort of age that they both were at one did not generally indulge in such trusting closeness unless you were either extremely close friends, or in a relationship. But he had seemed to find comfort in her closeness, snuggling closer; while she privately marvelled at how someone who was perhaps an inch taller than her (and she was tall for her age even then) could suddenly seem so…compact. She would not have thought it possible that a human being could occupy so small a space without discomfort. But then he was slender, even taking into account the recent approach of adolescence, and it added to the fragile light in which she was inclined to view him. He really had been pressed right up against her, though; and if she had not known better she would have considered the possibility that there was more than a bit of harmless brother-sister bonding going on here. It wasn't as if he would have been the first person to look at her in a sexual light, but at the same time it wasn't what she expected of him, and therefore not what he gave her.
Oh yes, but he was obedient. So obedient. Like a dog, she thought with affectionate mocking – the little yappy ones that nearly choke on the rubber ball when they run off to get it. He would do anything for her, she knew; and one could argue that he already had. Although it was not a one-sided devotion, she admitted unreluctantly to herself – she would give him the world if he asked for it. She had actually asked him about it once, voice gently teasing –
But what would I do with it?
– and the confusion in his voice and expression had been oh so funny. He could almost be relied upon to make her laugh – although, granted, it usually wasn't something he did deliberately.
And of course, what he gave, he would give whole-heartedly. That was so taken for granted by her that she had not even allowed herself to consider the possibility that he might hold back even a little. No matter what the request. But the mystification on his face! That had been truly entertaining, in a way few things were. To think, he didn't know what to do – that a teenager of his age had not even thought about – well, that was funny. And he had been so slow in replying, for a moment she allowed herself, not without malicious amusement, to entertain the possibility that he had actually forgotten the question. And as for refusal…she had had, she reflected, a right to be angry. No explanations. Just 'No', in that quiet voice she was coming to detest.
But she had been…her mind groped for a word. Cunning. Close, but not quite. Devious. That was better. She could be devious, all right. Not that it really required much skill to manipulate her brother round to her way of thinking, of inducing guilt. That was actually sort of easy, if you went about it in the right way. She hadn't been met with another outright refusal – a triumph, not that it should have been, really, not when she had not expected one in the first place – but the uneasy shifting of his body had urged her to increase her efforts, doubling them, tripling them, until she could feel her head thick with mental perspiration. Then, finally, acquiescence.
You'd do this for me, wouldn't you?
…W-Why of course I would, onee-chan. I'd do anything for you. You know that.
He had looked queasy when she asked him for it again, and after mumbled permission, she took pity on him and left it for a while, leaving it in temporary abandon as she saw him struggle to come to terms with what had been done. It had taken so much coaxing afterwards to persuade him that it was not important really, it didn't actually matter, in fact it meant nothing. (Him unusually sharp, whispering, If it means nothing then why ask it of me? And her gentle but firm reply, like her hand a manacle around his neck – It makes me happy.)
Happiness. Oh yes. That was what it was really all about, wasn't it? As well as mentally marking him out as hers, it was just about making them happy. Because he had started to enjoy it after a little while, hadn't he? Admittedly, he never fully relaxed, perhaps still bewildered over certain aspects of it, but it mattered little. She liked him submissive; and he was so good at it, so why not let him do what he wanted to do? Even if it meant him lying uselessly beneath her…she could not imagine him dominant, anyway. Or at least attempting to be. Yes, that was it: any attempt to assert himself in anything was just that: an attempt. The word successfully conveyed his habitual failures, and the way the voice inside him which mumbled, Next time, I'll do it better, became quieter and smaller until it shrank into insignificance.
His body flopping uselessly under her like a fish, out of its element. Not that he really seemed to have one: he was so clumsy at school, from what she could gather. She could understand why, but still it infuriated her: it was unnecessary humiliation, and he was always so…well, relatively, graceful at home.
Of late he had acquired that grace on a more permanent basis; she knew the reason for it, or at least she thought she did, but still it unnerved her, although she soundly denied this thought to herself. His movements now were so smooth, her mind muttered in a tone vaguely sullen; it was a liquid grace undefinable apart from the way it perhaps resembled something feline.
You feel like a clumsy child beside him now. That's it, isn't it?
Maybe. It was certainly true that she had grown used to feeling comfortably superior to him, disregarding the age difference just as he did, viewing her superiority as something obvious and natural and unquestionable. And now…now he fancied himself her equal. And she admired him for it, and thought him worthy of it, and still it pissed her off. He certainly possessed the necessary self-confidence now; and, laughingly and a little ruefully, she half-believed him despite herself as his tone took on that slower, more dangerous edge which he explained was due to entirely to this new necklace. She still didn't know whether to believe him or not; she could not deny, not did she want to, that he was unmistakably different at times; at the same time, she smiled when he talked of spirits and Ancient Egypt. He would grow angry then, and she saw the blood glow in his eyes and loved him for it.
Prone to moods, at other times he could be more quiet, thoughtful, so that she would have confused him for her brother had not the reflection on his voice bordered on nostalgia, and occasionally regret. There were things, he would explain in that soft though monotonous tone, that he should have done. Revenge…he had tasks to fulfil, people who awaited his return with fear and masochistic excitement. A certain Pharaoh…
It was at times like these that he would become agitated, voice rising to the edge of hysteria and back again, babbling nonsense about having to leave: they were waiting. Rotting as they waited. Truly hysterical now. And she would take him in her arms and soothe him until he lay quiet, and sometimes he would show his gratitude. Strange that one so cold could be so…charged with life. He had held her under him as the incandescence blazed through her and she hoped she would die right then, and then afterwards he would be sullen and unreachable. You treat us both like whores, he would mutter, fixing her with those big brown eyes.
That's because you are, my brother.
Don't call me that.
Of course he was crazy; they all were. Each and every one. Rotted and decaying. Right to the core, like a ripe fruit infested with maggots.
He still made the switch, occasionally. Like a manic-depressive, back and forth between determined innocence and that awful, awful knowing, as he gave her leers that made her shudder. Her, wondering: what have I got us into? Then mentally shrugging and giving herself up to him again. She wondered frequently who was in control of this whole thing, him or her. Far less frequently, she wondered if she cared. They could live out the rest of their lives like this, a crazy oblivion punctuated by occasional bliss. Although, as he would remind her with one of his malicious smirks, you'll go first. Remember, I am immortal. Then, as she starts to force out laughter, like attempting to force a screw through a hole the tiniest bit too small for it, he puts a finger to her lips. Sometimes he would tell her to quiet herself; other times he would do it for her. He knew how to. Occasionally he still called her 'onee-chan', eyes laughing in appreciation as she stiffened.
Then, of course, there had been the time when the three of them…
She slumped back in the armchair and yowled laughter. Her previous regal posture, the way she had of making any chair seem like her throne, had collapsed into utter relaxation as her muscles gave way. Oh he was such fun, this little spirit. And all hers, just like her brother had been.
Was he even aware of the situation? And did he…approve of it?
She thought perhaps he did. Giggles tore from her throat as she huddled in the chair, incense infecting her clothes, smell deliciously rotten. The large eyes were unseeing with laughter.
Three miles away, the spirit sat against a tree with his legs drawn up against his body in a posture which mirrored their sister's. His eyes were glassy with inane fervour, and he was staring at a particular flower by his right foot with an intensity of concentration that his sister would have understood perfectly.
He was quite alone, which was how he liked it, and his body ached from the past few years of such constant strenuous activity, but it was nothing he minded. It certainly wouldn't kill him.
"You like me," he whispered to himself. His eyes continued to have that glassy sheen to them. "I know you do. Whatever I do, you like me. Because I'm perfect." He gripped the handle of the knife tighter, and brought it up to his face. "Always perfect. Tell me, onee-chan: do you like your whores like this?"
Skin ripped like paper.
A/N: …I've never tried anything like this before. I did enjoy writing it, however. I was trying to keep it subtle near the beginning but I wasn't sure how long it was kept up for. I have never tried writing about Amane before, nor writing a Bakura/Amane or Ryou/Amane thing into a story.
Less angst than usual, and more darkness…writing preferences are changing, I think. I was investigating quite a few things while writing this…I explored several topics which interest me. Don't generally go in for incestuous things, as I don't like incest at all, but until about two-thirds of the way through I had been thinking of it as more like rape, until Yami Bakura came along. Then I supposed it was more like incest. Meh. (shrugs defensively) Don't hate the story because of that, please. Personally, I was sort of satisfied with how this turned out…No glaring flaws have become apparent yet, but, knowing my fanatically critical nature, I dare say I will find some in due time.