I am so sorry, I've kept you all waiting for, what, two, three months? I have an excuse, though! (grins triumphantly) It's called a) writer's block, big-time, and b having exactly eleven other stories all waiting patiently for updates (and the reviewers perhaps not so patiently...) (ducks as reviewers throw rotten fruit) A big thanks to lunartigergurl, ravenuk, darksapire, Black-Dranzer-1119, phoenix1800 and hikari0205 for reviewing the last chapter and answering my question! Another big thanks to all my other reviewers! (who I am too lazy to type out - ducks again and comes up with banana peel on head)
Okay, I've been told that Ray needs to be more in character, and more involved in the story, so I will try my best, but Ray is actually very hard to write in character! Hope you like it - sorry it's quite short!
Cue the Oliver/Max fluff! Yay!
"Max?" Max looked dazedly up at the sound of Oliver's worried voice. He had burst into his injured lover's room and thrown himself onto the bed, crying tears of frustration and anger, heedless of whether he was wanted or not.
"Oh...sorry...did I wake you up?" he asked shakily. Oliver shook his head. His soft, light-green hair shifted with the movement. Wordlessly, he opened his arms and Max fell into them, chewing his lip to fight back more tears. "I hate him...I hate him so much..." His voice caught, his chest and head aching with the effort of holding his sobs inside.
"I know, Maxie." Oliver murmured, rubbing his back soothingly. Max let out a soft whimper and buried his face in Oliver's chest. Composing himself with difficulty, he sat up, wiping his damp eyes with the back of his hand.
"I'm sorry...you'll probably want to rest..." he mumbled, preparing to leave. A gentle hand on his wrist stopped him, pulled him back down.
"Don't be ridiculous." Oliver murmured, pulling him into a tender embrace. "You can't go out in this state." Shivering, Max allowed the older magician to lie him down. He cuddled into Oliver's comforting body and closed his eyes wearily.
Ray closed his eyes and whispered a command, feeling the almost sexual thrill as magic thrummed through his body. A single lightning bolt split the room in half with its magnificence, landing, perfectly controlled, on a small circle of metal in the exact middle of the room.
"Excellent, grandson." Ray's grandfather complimented. Ray bowed in thanks, his throat and body aching from the two-hour long training session.
"My thanks, grandfather." he replied formally. "May I go and watch Kinomiya train?" Gaining permission, he left the room and walked down the corridor.
He stepped aside politely to let the person coming down the corridor through. Instead of thanking his good manners and continuing to walk on, the person adjusted his pace until they were walking side by side.
"So polite, Kon." Ray spun around to see Hiwatari facing him, his eyes alight with an inner fire.
"Maybe you should try it." Ray suggested coolly, increasing the speed of his walking.
"Maybe I should..." Ray let out a cry as he walked into what felt like a solid wall. "Then again, maybe I shouldn't." Ray'scry of outrage was cut off as Hiwatari's lips pressed against his fiercely. "I always get what I want, Kon, manners or no manners. And I want you." Despite himself, Ray responded to the brutal kiss. "That's the way, Kon." Hiwatari murmured, his lips brushing Ray's tantalisingly as he spoke. "You want me, too." Recovering himself, Ray pulled away, panting.
"I decide my preferences, Hiwatari." he said coldly. Wine-coloured eyes glinted in amusement.
"Of course you do, Kon. Of course you do." With that last, patronising comment, the older magician turned on his heel and strode away.
Ray coughed loudly as he stood in the doorway to Tyson's chamber. Colouring fiercely with embarrassment, Tyson and Hilary broke apart and scowled at him. Ray smirked and moved into the room, sitting down on the bed.
"I was under the impression that you were supposed to be training, Tyson?" he asked mildly, his eyes dancing teasingly. Tyson shuffled his feet awkwardly.
"Yeah…well…I got sidetracked." he mumbled. Hilary smiled in a long-suffering way and rolled her eyes.
"Have you seen Max lately?" Ray asked. The blond Singer had been conspicuously absent from meals for the past two days. Tyson shook his head.
"No, but if I know him, he's just holing up with Oliver until he feels better. He really doesn't like being reminded of what went on between him and Hiwatari." He sniggered. "Who would?" Ray and Hilary rolled their eyes in unison as he dissolved into an uncontrollable fit of sniggers. "When's lunch?" he asked out of the blue, in between snorts of laughter at some private joke.
"Oh, Tyson…" Hilary complained, smacking her lover playfully on the upper arm.
"What?" Tyson asked innocently.
"You had lunch six hours ago, and a mid-afternoon snack three hours ago." Ray informed the disappointed magician dryly. "Dinner, however, is in two hour's time." Tyson let out a yell of triumph. Hilary shook her head again, then stood up, self-consciously tidying herself up.
"Sorry, you two, but I've got to go. Master Hiwatari is coming back soon, and he will want me ready for him."
"Which Hiwatari?" Tyson demanded.
"Grandfather." Hilary said simply, before leaving the room.
"Oh," Tyson muttered reflectively. "That one." A slight current of air breezed through the room. "You want to watch out for him, Ray, mate. He's bad news. Very, very bad news."
"Max!" Ray raised his voice and waved to try and attract the blond's attention. Eventually, Max saw him and came over, weaving very slightly as he moved.
"Where's Ty?" he asked, his words slow and careful. Ray shrugged, wondering just how much alcohol the Singer had consumed.
"Where've you been the last few days?" he asked quietly. Max shrugged guardedly.
"Around." he mumbled. Tyson abruptly bounded over to join them, and was stuffing his face within seconds.
"Goo' t' see ya 'gain, Maxie!" he said enthusiastically, if somewhat indistinctly. He swallowed. "How's Oliver?"
"Oliver's fine, thanks." Max answered. Tyson's eyes narrowed.
"How much've you drunk this time?" Max scowled, trying to smoothe out some of the creases in his sea-blue robe that he had been wearing for nearly three days solid.
"I was upset!" he mumbled ashamedly. Tyson sighed good-naturedly and thumped Max playfully on the arm.
"Okay, Maxie, okay. How's Oliver?"
"He's better, thanks. The tournament's over for him, though." Max's blue eyes were dark with sadness as he spoke. Tyson and Ray winced in sympathy. No-one wanted out of the tournament this early on. "When's my match with Tala again?" Tyson sucked in a deep breath.
"Um...today..." he muttered.
"What?" Max yelled, springing out of his seat. "You could've told me! Bye guys, got to go and practice!" He dashed off towards his training room.
"And get changed!" Tyson shouted, laughing through his mouthful of food. Hearing an intriguing noise, Ray stood up and stared in the direction it had come from.
"See you in a minute, Tyson, I'm just going to do some exploring..." he said distractedly, already walking quickly away. Tyson's muffled "'kay!" came from behind him.
He stalked silently along the corridors, using his heightened senses to quickly detect any movement. Whether consciously or not, he found himself heading for Hiwatari's chamber. Suddenly, he heard footsteps. Close. Very close. Panicking slightly, he looked around the bare corrdiors, searching for somewhere to hide. As the footsteps came closer and closer, he became more and more panicky. At the last second, he turned around and walked at a sedate pace back down the corrior. There was nothing suspicious about somebody walking down a corridor, he reasoned. He turned to go round the corner, turning a little more than was necessary to allow himself a view of what was happening.
An old man was limping towards Hiwatari's door. He looked exhausted, his face ashen and pinched round the edges. His shoulders were hunched with weariness and his eyes were dull. None of this diminshed the overwhelming aura of strength and power that Ray felt radiating off the man in waves. Voltaire Hiwatari, he concluded. Watching, he saw Voltaire go into Hiwatari's chamber. He tip-toed closer, pressed his ear to the door.
"I am weak, boy. Help me." Silence fell. Inexplicibly, Ray started to feel nauseaous. Ten minutes later, he heard the occupants stirring again, and crept back to the corner. The door opened, and Voltaire came back out. Ray gasped in shock. What on earth? The elderly Sorcerer was walking comfortably upright, his eyes were clear and his face was relaxed. Even a few of the wrinkles had disappeared, and every inch of his body shone with health. He was completely rejuvenated. What...how? Ray's mind reeled. To make matters worse, he now felt very, very sick indeed. Breathing deeply and slowly to fight down the urge to vomit, he waited until the magician had retreated down the corridor and cautiously approached Hiwatari's chamber.
Standing in the doorway, he couldn't repress the urge any longer. Doubling over, he vomited on to the stone floor. Gasping and swallowing rapidly, he stood back up and tried to think clearly. Come on, Raymundo Kon, think... Suddenly, it hit him.
Literally; Ill magic. Bad magic. Wait, no, he was wrong again. Nieromagia.
Evil magic. Telling himself not be so ridiculous, he peered nervously round the door.
Hiwatari was lying limply on his bed, his eyes closed, his skin faintly grey-tinged. One hand was stretched out, a trickle of black blood trailing down his wrist. Ray took a step forward, then stiffened, retching and gagging helplessly. The magic was so thick in the air that it was nearly unbearable. The young Sorcerer looked dead, only the faintest rise and fall of his chest showed him to still be alive. Shaking violently, his head spinning, Ray took another, laboured step into the room, a vague idea of helping in his head. It felt like walking through treacle; every movement used all his muscles and he could see a faint green tinge build up around him as his own magic fought with the dark spell that still lingered stubbornly.
"Kon, get out of there!" a rough voice ordered him from behind. Ray spun, his eyes wide, pupils contracted with fear. A male of about his own age stood in the doorway, his expression a mixture of anger and worry. "Out!" Ray obediently stumbled outside and collapsed in a heap against the cool wall, panting heavily. "You okay, Kon?" He nodded without opening his eyes. "You feel sick?"
"It'll pass." Gradually, it did, and Ray found himself feeling slightly more human. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking to clear his vision, and recognised the magician kneeling in front of him. He was one of the four magicians who stuck to Hiwatari like glue; Ray had already got the impression that he was "second in command" to Hiwatari from comments dropped throughout his few days stay so far.
"You're Johnathon, aren't you?" The magician nodded shortly. "What happened in there?" He gestured towards where the door still hung open, Hiwatari's crumpled figure still lying motionless on the bed.
"None of your business. And it's Johnny, Johnathon sounds too stuck-up." Johnny hauled Ray upright and gave him a shove forwards. "Get going, Kon. This doesn't concern you." Biting his lip and silently resolving to come back, Ray obeyed and headed back to his own chamber. On the way, he stopped and checked the timings for Max's match against Tala. Three hours to go.
Plenty of time.
Well? I am so sorry I've kept youall waiting, but I really have had a load to do! If you still like (make that remember!) this story, please, please review!