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A Mimori/Cougar dark romance.

Angst/Psychological- Rated M for language, violence, adult situations, torture, H/c, Dom, Noncon, lemon M/F, M/F. AU- set after Mimori is imprisoned by Commander Jigmar (OOC). Mature audiences only.


Casualties of War

Prologue: Sheltering Arms

Mimori

It's almost like a fairytale… a princess kidnapped by an evil wizard… and locked away in a horrible dungeon… guarded by a fierce dragon…

Except my tale is fractured- a cannibalized version- with no happy ending… No matter how much I pray, I am not awaiting rescue by a handsome prince… will not be carried off on the winds in his arms upon his racing steed…

No, my end is much darker… This dungeon,… this dark and dreary prison that the sun has never seen… will be my crypt.

Perhaps it was supposed to end this way… full of pain and misery… right up until my imminent death…

Like a princess I had lived in luxury… had been afforded the best of everything… I was always conscious of my fortune… knew I lived a life of privilege… and later on I tried to earn it… to prove that I was worthy of such amenities… by caring for everyone else, especially those less fortunate… by not judging others… or how they led their lives… by championing those without voices… they called it charity… but I saw it as my duty…

But perhaps my actions weren't enough to balance the fortunate life I led… Perhaps Fate- in her great sense of satirical irony- wanted payment of a more personal nature…

Perhaps the balance is this new tortured and hopeless existence… this suffering that has been heaped on my body and soul… hounding and haunting me until I am murdered… and my entire existence is reduced to a mysterious yet insignificant footnote…

Because he will kill me, of that I am most certain… After the things I've seen,… after the things he's done to me… he really has no other choice…

In so many ways and on so many levels, I am a threat… …to his office and career… …to his ambitions and grand designs, both public and secret… …a threat to his status and his way of life… …a threat to his future… …even a threat to his identity and sanity (his eyes have told me so)

Am I really suffering? I don't feel as much as I imagined I would… …I don't feel anything at all, really… …not anymore…

In the beginning it was painful… shocking… bewildering… and I felt desperate… frantic… violated… alone… and I hurt… in ways I never thought I could… but now…

I think I'm numbed past caring… …I don't even flinch when he touches me… pushes me down… locks his eyes with mine in search of a suffering… … a suffering he created and thus only he can own…

This dungeon… …this windowless prison… in which I am simultaneously watched and abandoned… in which I am hidden from prying eyes… to be stalked, pursued and toyed with like a play thing… in which I am battered, abused and wounded… in which I am exploited, molested, and marred… in incalculable cycles of torture and neglect… this cell is where I will die… soon, if there is any mercy left in his heart… which I doubt

When he would first depart and lock the door behind him, I would try to pick up the pieces of myself that he had cast so violently aside in his self-gratification… but not anymore… the pieces that are left become smaller and smaller each time… what were once large, jagged scars in the beginning are now near-microscopic particles of pain that float in the air like dust motes… that take entirely too much effort to replace…

And now, I am as empty as this vacant cell… my jailer and torturer being far too adept at my dismantling…

When he's through with me… perhaps I'll finally rest in pieces.


Cougar

She stirs beside me, whining a scant whimper in the throws of her restless slumber. Her thin fingers clutch handfuls of sheets and her long, lithe body shrinks as she cocoons into a fetal position, drawing her legs up so tightly that the skin of her thighs seems to melt into the skin of her breasts. Muscles so rigid that when I wrap my fingers around her waist to pull her closer her entire body slides stone-like across the mattress.

And I know she is there again. In that subconscious world of torture that haunts her at the peek of night. She is enshrouded in that secret darkness to which she refuses me access, no matter how much I beg, plead, or cajole. I bribe her with languorous kisses and ply her with that 'look' that thus far has gotten me anything else I could want from her. But she won't let me in, won't let me see. Won't let me shoulder some of her burden to lessen her pain. Like a giant vault of frozen steel, with the combination unwittingly locked inside.

It's been two months since I saved her. One day she had simply disappeared from the halls of HOLY. I had assumed she had gone on another medical expedition; however, when they returned several days later without her I knew something was amiss. After launching my own one-man, large-scale, secret investigation into her disappearance I finally found her, right under our noses at HOLY. Few other than myself knew about the Commander's secret prison cells. Lack of any other evidence and process of elimination made that her only possible location. Under cover of night I executed her rescue, blasting though all barriers with the blazing speed that only I possess. I found her on my first try and, like the hero in those old movies, carried her away in my arms to safety. I hid her, cleaned her up, patted her on the head and sent her to the Mainland, thinking that all was finally well for her.

But she wouldn't accept this solution, my notion of safety. I hadn't looked closely enough, hadn't realized that in the six days she'd been missing something had somehow changed nearly everything about her. At first she hid it so well, even after I found her wandering the Lost Ground after I specifically remembered putting her on an airplane and watching it take off. Little subtle changes that perhaps only I would notice- the shadow of tears in her eyes when she thinks no one is looking, the extra effort preceding every smile, the nearly imperceptible flinches to noises and motion outside of her peripheral vision- tell me that something very sinister was and still haunts her.

She's opened up to me in ways that I never dreamed she would, accepting my love and most shockingly of all giving hers willingly in return. After the night that she crawled into my bed she never left me, and now I wonder if she could. She honestly and truly loves me- of this I am now certain. After hoping for little more than her acceptance, after daring to wish for an amicable friendship, she gave me so much more. In a whirlwind of speed rivaling even my Alter, she gave me her heart, surrendering it as willingly and wholeheartedly as I had intended to give her mine. Now in her presence I live in a paradise on earth, where her most treasured smiles are only for me. As corny as it sounds, even in hiding and even as we struggle to survive, together we are truly happy.

But she won't tell me.

Sometimes I can tell she wants to confide in me- to tell me everything. I can see it pressed against the window of her eyes, loaded and cocked on the tip of her tongue, dangling from her fingers like thin liquid webs. Her mouth opens and tiny muscles in her jaw and lips scarcely twitch and articulate in search of the right words.

I freeze and wait, sensing the faltering walls of her defenses, shoring myself for the inevitable flood once the dam finally breaks. She perches at the edge of a mile-high cliff, and I stand at the base, promising to catch her.

But always at the last moment, just when I think it will finally end, or begin, or change, or evolve, she retreats back within herself, unwilling to make the leap. She offers an apologetic smile that never reaches her eyes and I silently nod my understanding and offer her every ounce of my embarrassingly limited patience. And for the time, it is enough. But inevitably, in the silence of the night, eventually she always returns to that dark place. That space where I can never reach her, no matter how fast I can run. And no, such twisted irony is not lost on me.

The longer I stay with her, bask in her twilight and drink in the intoxicating liquor of her presence, the more I learn of her true depths. Depths that I had guessed at, but had never truly fathomed in their complexity. When she gets that close to confession I can see it, see how the age of her soul far exceeds that of her body. And I want to explore it, to wrap myself around it like a blanket or a second skin. I want to mend the broken pieces and present her newly-repaired soul to her like a birthday present.

But…

I don't know how to fix her; to reanimate that sparkle missing from her eyes. How can I fix someone else when after all this time I haven't even been able to fix myself? So much of me is missing, was taken, all those years ago. I know I present to the world a confident and cool persona. But inside… inside I'm as broken as a boy can be.

How can I ever hope to repair her soul when I haven't a tangible one to offer? How can a fractured foundation even begin to support a spirit as expansive as her boundless heart?

So I do the only thing I can. When she begins to disappear I reach for her the only way I know how. Pull her into my body and wrap her in the safety of my encircling arms and legs. Tuck her raven head beneath my chin and kneed away the tension in her muscles with the length of my fingers. Hope that the physical anchor of flesh and breath and my heartbeat against her naked back will be enough.

And after a while- after what sometimes feels like an eternity- I finally feel her bow or turn her head to place a kiss on my embracing arm and I exhale, reveling in the warmth of the smile pressing into my skin. In time, when she's ready, she'll tell me the source of her nightmares.