Title: Vicious Lies

Fandom: Yami no Matsuei

Rating: PG-13 for now.

Pairing: Muraki/ Watari

Fandom: Yami no Matsuei

Summary: Mistakes, alcoholism and a certain disregard for authority, deliver Watari into the dangerous touch of the one man who might come close to breaking him.

Authors Note: This has been posted before under the name 'What's a Ribbon between Friends?' but due to unknown reasons my account was kicked off and so I've made a fair few revisions and reposted.

Shine another glass, make the hours pass. Working every day in a cheap café…

The barman shone another glass, and held it up to the light critically, before replacing it on the shelf. In front of him was the usual collection of sodden, dedicated drinkers, who were the only ones in here this late. Most of them were businessmen, come to drink deep, where no questions would be asked. Others were old men slumped in corners, watching the world go by with vacant eyes, nursing their drinks like their first born child.

There were a few exceptions and the barman liked to speculate on who these people could be, and what they were doing in his place. One was the quiet man with the feral looking eyes. Impeccable, dressed in a western suit, the drink he drank seemed to have no impact on his senses. He was odd, silver hair, and the pale skin. If he hadn't been such good business, he'd have been uneager to let him in. And the other man. The bar tender gazed thoughtfully into the polished bar before him. The other man was different. He drank as though his only lover was the bottle, and his only friend was the barman who served the drinks. Maybe he was the guy's best friend, and though he'd met enough people in that situation they were usually slightly different. He came in here every night, lost looking as though he'd nowhere else to go. He was obviously a scientist, wearing a perpetual lab coat, with a dreamy expression that told you he was a million kilometres away from here- probably on another world. He shrugged. At the end of the day it wasn't his business. They came, they went. Some of them didn't come back. What was one blond scientist, more or less?

Watari stared at the glass, and took another sip. Cheap whisky. Nothing burns the back of the throat quicker, or works faster. He became absorbed in the amber colour, swirling round in the glass. That was the colour they called his eyes. Amber. Like the resin which coats trees at springtime and traps insects. It was appropriate really. After all he was up to the eyeballs in the stuff, every night. He drank because that was all that was left really. In harsh tasting foreign whisky, he could forget for just one more night. He was down a third of a bottle now. He'd buy the rest, take it home, and try and forget.

Those damn liqueur bottles on the shelf. Why are they those bright colours? Those unnatural colours, bringing back memories, he doesn't want to think of tonight. Crème de Menthe that brilliant forest green. Go away Hisoka. Just go. Tonight I don't want you in my head. That deep blue one on the right. Shove off Tatsumi. Go budget cut somewhere else. I've got enough to pay for the drink in my hand. I'm not thinking beyond the bottle anymore. Through the blurring in his vision, the bottle looks purple, and with nerveless hands he raises the glass. Don't look at me Tsuzuki. Don't look at me with your violet eyes, and smiling face, when inside you're screaming. You're too close for your own good. Insanity breeds insanity.

The glass was empty. Time for that next third. The barman's there before he can say a word. Maybe he won't go home yet. Maybe he'll sit here with his memories a little more.

"You know, you really shouldn't drink that much," a deep voice says to his right. Watari doesn't even glance round.

"If you're drunk push off, if you're sober then can it. I don't remember asking the world for its opinion on my drinking habits."

"I'm a doctor. I've seen you before now, and every night you come, you drink enough to fell a horse. It's not healthy."

"Shut the hell up, whoever you are. It's bad manners to talk to someone who doesn't want to talk to you." There was silence, but the man who claims to be a doctor doesn't move. He's a palpable presence, and Watari tires of something so unchanging. He moves to another seat by the bar. But this is even worse. In front of him are rows and rows of beautifully shone glasses, with a mirror behind them. His fractured image stares back at him, haunted eyes large in his thin face.

He finally looks away from the sight, and the first thing he sees is the annoying stranger, still regarding him with secret amusement. His first impression is white, a pure dazzling white that seems almost angelic at first glance. A sparkling white suit that looks new in it's perfectly creased intensity. Silver hair, tumbles locks against one side of the glasses that delicately perch on the strong nose. The eyes are almost hawk like, one a piercing grey that seems to bury it's gaze into your soul, the other hidden behind the loose hair. To Watari's short sighted eyes which can't see details at this distance, the impression is almost supernatural. The man's probably slightly taller than Watari himself, and his build not quite as slender, though bulky is not a word you would use to describe him. But he's not as interesting as the glass in his hand, and turning back to it, he ignores everything in that burning sensation down his throat. So he doesn't see the man take a seat next to him.

For his part Muraki was intrigued. The first time he'd entered this discreet drinking club, the slim blond with the hopeless eyes had been the only person that had sufficiently interested him enough, that he had returned time and time again to monitor this strange personage. He always appeared promptly at ten when he did appear, drank steadily, then more or less steadily depending on the amount of furniture he had to steady himself with, he would leave the room until the next night. Muraki wasn't sure exactly why he was so interested but his instinct had never failed him before, and if his instinct told him that this man was more than the dedicated alcoholic he appeared to be, then he wasn't going to ignore it. Tonight was the first night however that he had actually decided to approach the other man. The conversation had gone more or less as expected, short, sharp, and to the point as he had observed from the man's other brusque encounters with the human race.

As he took a seat beside the scientist- for such he appeared to be, he looked over at the barman who was currently engaged in arranging the liquor bottles on the shelf, and glanced back to the figure beside him.

There was something out of the common about him that was for certain. For once his charm hadn't worked. Muraki knew full well the charm could exert when he needed to- and the effect it could be used to achieve. But this was one drunkard who obviously was either too drunk to realise Muraki was trying to pick him up, or simply someone who had a strong natural resistance to charm- maybe a cynic. A smile touched his lips. He had plenty of time after all.

The golden eyes flickered round, and for the first time a hint of suspicion entered them. "Why are you following me?"

Muraki debated on the merits of an intentionally flirtatious reply, as against an unsuspicious reply. He decided on flirtatious. "You're too beautiful to be ignored."

The man's eyes rolled. "Whatever. Now get lost. I'm going." He nodded to the barman who slid the rest of the whiskey across the counter. There was about a third left in the bottle, and he tucked it carefully into his pocket, and slid the money across the bar top. Nodding he left, rather steadily than usual. He'd already forgotten the odd white figure.

He didn't notice that the loose ribbon that had secured his hair had fallen out, but someone else did notice, and picked up the ribbon that he'd let drop. Muraki eyed the length of shiny cloth. It was light, made of some silky material in a blue colour. He ran it through his fingers, his eyes speculative and knowing. Then he put it in his pocket, and turned to leave.

Watari stumbled through the streets. It was raining, and his hair ribbon had disappeared somewhere. He was cold, and the warmth in his stomach from the whiskey had disappeared. Wet tendrils of hair stuck to his face, and his shoes were soaking. His glasses had beaded up with rain, and he found his way by instinct alone. He got his key out, and let himself in. He'd rented a room specifically for nights like these, where going back to Meifu wasn't an option. It was cheap, and that reflected itself in the furnishings. There was a small bed, and a light bulb. The room was comparatively clean to some of the digs that Watari had stayed in before, but there was nothing else to recommend it. But then he didn't live there.

He stumbled with a sigh to the bed, and lay down without bothering to take off his clothes, though he carefully took out the bottle first of all. Sleep came easily that night, but his dreams were terrible. He woke up when the first glimpse of sun hit his face. His metabolism was such that his body had absorbed most of the alcohol by now, and thus the splitting head he should have had, was absent. He wasn't feeling great though, and judging by the time, he had ten minutes to get into work. With a sigh he materialized back into his apartment in Meifu. There wasn't enough time to take a shower.

He looked round him, and felt like crying. His apartment was clean, apart from a film of dust. The bed hadn't been slept in, the curtains hadn't been drawn. The carpet was unworn, and the water in the kettle was stagnant. On the window ledge drooped a withered plant. Insects crawled all over it, and it smelt of decay. It looked like a room that hadn't been used in months, though he supposed that, that was what it technically was. Rather than attempt to rectify this state, he simply pulled open the kitchen drawer and took out the small hip flask within. He poured what remained of the bottle into it, and tucked it into a capacious pocket.

This done he left for the office.

He wasn't as late as usual- only five minutes late, and he was able to slip into his laboratory without anyone realising he was here. The first thing that caught his eye apart from the three memos scattered on his desk, was his owl. 003 was sitting dejectedly in his inbox. He hurried over to determine what was wrong, but the instant she saw him, she fluttered off out of the lab, chirping sorrowfully. Watari slumped. It was ridiculous he knew to be depressed over an owl, but he'd thought that she'd have been rather nicer, when he felt as bad as this.

He opened the memos and repressed the urge to stick his tongue out at an imaginary Tatsumi. Tatsumi's note was short and curt.

Watari,

I need to see you in my office at 11 am. Be prompt if you please.

Tatsumi.

He tossed it aside. He might go if he had nothing else to do he supposed. Ripping open the next one, he sighed. It was from Tsuzuki asking if he was free for dinner tonight. Tsuzuki was so obvious sometimes. He already knew what Tsuzuki would say to him. Why are you behaving like this? Can I help? No, he said silently. You can't help Tsuzuki. You can't make it all better. You're a cause.

He tore open the last memo which was a simple note acknowledging receipt of report on the effects of the new sedative being used, which had been developed by Watari. He threw it aside. He should work on it some more he supposed, but he couldn't be bothered anymore.

Eleven am came. Watari debated whether to turn up for the meeting. Then he decided he might as well. If he didn't it would just give Tatsumi another chance to yell, and possibly take even more privileges away. Didn't mean he had to hurry though did it?

Striding along the corridor, he finally became aware of what had been subconsciously irritating him all morning. His hair ribbon was missing. His hair had somehow tucked itself into his collar which was why he hadn't noticed it, but now it was loosening and flapping around his face. Peering at one strand, he realised it was in urgent need of a wash- and one hand feeling it, in need of a comb as well. Whatever.

He fell over a chair almost banging his head against the wall. As it was the only harm done was to his glasses- one lense was cracked. Biting back the inevitable swear words that tumbled to his lips, he looked up. From this angle Tsuzuki looked somewhat like Tatsumi, but maybe that was because he didn't have glasses on. Tsuzuki didn't offer him a hand up, so Watari was forced to struggle upright by himself. Once partially upright he started on his journey- that was until Tsuzuki grabbed hold of his sleeve, and forced Watari to turn around. Though Watari rebelled at this manhandling, he kept his eyes fixed on the floor. He wasn't going to look into Tsuzuki's eyes. He didn't want to read what he might find there- he didn't want to see disgust, pity, or any other of the delightful emotions that would be there. From the tone of Tsuzuki's voice, Watari could tell that this was going to be a 'pull-your-socks-up-and-play-the-game,' speech, rather than an 'I-know-what-you-are-going-through-is-there-anything-I-can-do-to-help-speech.' He tuned him out after the 'why didn't you return my memo' start.

The next thing he knew he was sitting on the floor again, clutching a stinging face. Tsuzuki had hit him- and not a light slap either but a closed fist blow that was definitely going to leave a bruise. But when he looked up it was his friend's face that was twisted in pain. "Don't you care Watari? Do I- do we all mean so little to you, that you don't even listen to us anymore?" He turned, and almost ran off down the corridor. Watari sighed wearily. He was twenty minutes late.

When he finally crawled into Tatsumi's office, he didn't need to be an empath to sense the danger. Right now if they'd all been weather conditions Tatsumi would have been a thunder cloud. He let his mind drift on that theme. He'd be a scattered cloud. Hisoka would be a storm cloud too probably. Tsuzuki would be light summer rain- depressing but refreshing. He then busied his mind wondering whether that was a rhyme or just assonance. Tatsumi's voice was a murmur in the background, and Watari not wanting to face another lecture, skipped onto another thought train leading on from that, concentrating on remembering half forgotten school learnt poems that flickered through his head. Twas brillig and the slivy toves did gyle and gimble in the wabe, all mimsy were the borogroves, and the momeraths outgrabe… He couldn't remember anymore unfortunately, and not much other poetry was springing to his mind, and he cast his eyes covertly around the room looking for inspiration. He could have sworn his reflection was waving at him in the highly polished window glass.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Skin white as milk, hair like…he paused, mink? mud? belgian chocolate? eyes like violets. Tsuzuki is the fairest of them all.

At that, his lips twitched and he began to giggle. Horrified he remembered where he was, and what an inappropriate thing it was to do. But it was just too funny- comparing Tsuzuki's hair to Belgian chocolate. Tatsumi's eyes were like ice, as he leaned forward. "I can see you are overwrought Watari, and I will make allowances for that. Go home. Shower. Don't come back here until you have a better attitude. I'm giving you until Hisoka arrives back. If you haven't shaped up by then, then the consequences will be far reaching. Now get out of my sight." He practically snarled the last words.

Watari obeyed Tatsumi's instructions. He went home and showered, watching in horror as the water turned grey. His hair was even worse, and even with conditioner, murder to comb out. He stuck with it, and once all the knots were out he dried it so it fell in it's normal soft mass over his shoulders, and smiled at his reflection. Despite what Tatsumi thought, a wash would change nothing. He'd go out again tonight. He blinked at his reflection. Not a very pretty sight really. But luckily he knew how to repair the worse ravages of sleeplessness- and of not eating. Light powder concealed dark shadows, Vaseline softened his lips, his lack of glasses made a change. Once he was done however the familiar lethargy returned, and he slumped onto the sofa. Cleaning could wait. Leaning over he picked a favourite book with which to while away the time. Deep in the adventures of Frodo and company, time passed in a flash, and from being twelve 'o' clock, the shadows deepened, until five came and went. Somewhat dazed, Watari replaced the book. Sometimes he could slip so deep into doing something- sometimes work, a book, a movie, that he would become unconscious to everything- time passing, the need for food, sleep, and most of all the need for alcohol. It had returned, a dull ache and with trembling hands he opened his hip flask, greedily swallowing the contents. Sinking back he let it burn through him, softening, dulling the pain- but only concealing it- no cure.

He stared at his bookshelf. Sometimes he just wanted to crawl in between the covers of a book, and leave this garbage tip of what passed for a life behind. Pity they hadn't invented a spell for that yet.

Soon it would be time to go. Another few hours.

He could barely wait.

The lyric at the beginning is by Edith Piaf a French singer

I'd appreciate reviews, but I've written chapter 2 anyhow, though CC spurs me on quite tremendously. Thanks for reading.

A.W.