Title: Self-Control
Author: Zalia Chimera
Pairing: Albel/Cliff, Cliff/Albel
Warnings: Dark, non-con themes, torture.
Summary: Three meetings between Cliff and Albel

Cliff allowed himself to relax for a second when the whip stopped and he heard the clang of the metal gate being drawn back, the sound of approaching feet. He let out a soft breath, licking the blood from his lip where he'd accidentally bitten it during the interrogation. Pain was blazing across his back where the whip had fallen.

Was it bad that he was more bored than scared by the whole thing? It wasn't exactly the first time he'd been tortured and on the scale of things, whipping was really fairly low. Still, it was nice to have a breather, let his jaw unclench from keeping it firmly shut. Heh. Not like there was much he could tell them to be honest. The absolute truth would probably get him burned as a witch or whatever these guys did for fun.

He could hear a murmured conversation at the other side of the room, but no matter how hard he strained to hear it, the words were too indistinct for him to make out. Then, everything went silent. Cliff tensed immediately, expecting the worst so he might be pleasantly surprised. The torturer had been loud and kinda' clumsy. If that was what passed for professional on this dump of a planet, then they really had nothing to worry about.

But the silence was worrying.

He heard the swish of the whip before it connected and braced himself for another searing blow across his back. It never came, the whip instead falling against the backs of his thighs, drawing a startled yelp from him. Soft laughter met his ears, close enough that he could feel warm breath against his neck and when the hell had anyone got that close?!?

"So you're the maggot from that machine. I was expecting something more impressive."

"Sorry to disappoint," Cliff said, "but let me out of these cuffs and I'll show you how impressive I can be." One day... one day he'd learn to keep his mouth shut like Mirage and Maria suggested. Until then however...

There was a derisive snort and the whip hit his thighs again, hard enough to draw stinging welts. Cliff bit his lip hard to stop himself hissing in pain, reopening the split on his lip. Something sharp traced the welts across his back, something sharp and metal. He held himself tense as they tapped lightly against his shoulders before tearing through his skin in burning lines and this did draw a sharp sound of pain from him.

"Hmph. The worm was wrong. You're not that difficult to drag a sound out of."

"I don't think that's really the kind of sound you people are wanting," Cliff replied, bracing himself for another blow.

"Perhaps not, maggot," was the reply before the whip cracked again, this time catching the inside of his thighs, drawing another startled gasp from his lips. That was a little too close for comfort.

"Hey!" he snapped, not able to keep his mouth shut even when it would be good for him. His reply was another lash, hitting the still stinging marks of the previous one and making him jerk in his bonds.

"You're not in any position to make demands, worm," were the sharp words and then the butt end of the whip was pressed against the underside of his chin, forcing his head up and exposing his neck. The sharp metal skimmed over his neck, tracing the lines around his throat slowly. He swallowed, Adam's apple bobbing nervously and he wished he could just see his captor, get a better gauge on them.

The whip was moved lower, grazing lightly over his chest, a sharp flick making sure he didn't forget it's more painful use. A flush of embarrassment and rage crossed his face when the whip was brought to rest at his crotch. "You..." he hissed, then gritted his teeth to keep silent. It was difficult to stop talking once started and he wasn't gonna' risk putting the kid in danger because of his own stupidity. He really hoped they hadn't tried anything like this with Fayt. Cliff wasn't a stranger to this kind of coercion, but Fayt...

"Do you like this, maggot?" The whip handle was rubbed against his cock, teasing and taunting and cruel. Behind the blindfold, Cliff screwed his eyes shut, trying to will himself not to react to it, not give the damn sadist the satisfaction. Fingers touched him, coaxing him to full arousal, his body ignoring his will and reacting to far more primitive stimuli. Bitterness welled in his chest.

As suddenly as it had started, it stopped, the person moving away leaving Cliff to the chill of the dungeon. "Pathetic. I've no interest in weaklings who can't even control their bodies."

If he'd been free, Cliff would probably have thrown himself at the other man, beaten him until his knuckles were raw; as it was, he just jerked against the chains, a raw sound of anger escaping his lips. There was that condescending laugh again and the sound of retreating feet. A few moments later, he was released from the chains holding him up, his arms bound securely behind his back.

Fayt was asleep, thank god, giving him enough time to steady his breathing and fight down his rage and shame. He had a job to do and he couldn't let the full weight of the universe fall on the kid's shoulders. Not just yet, anyway.


There was a moment, seeing Albel on the ground, bloody and defeated, but still snarling like a wild thing, when the temptation was so strong to reach down and wrap his hands around the other man's throat; choke him or snap his neck and feel his life failing beneath his hands. It was an intoxicating feeling, even as it disgusted him.

Instead, he turned casually to Fayt, deliberately turning away from the fallen man, making it clear how little of a threat Cliff considered him. From the way Albel glared at them viciously, it had been the right choice in order to rile the other man, rub his defeat in his face. A grim satisfaction coiled inside him as he looked down disdainfully at the fallen captain and it was easy to let biting, mocking words escape his lips.

"What's the point in killing such a weakling?" he said, cruelty giving his voice an edge that wasn't present in Fayt's or Nel's. He wasn't cruel by nature, but anger drove him on. He wanted to see Albel hurt, humiliated in the same way that he had humiliated Cliff. If petty taunts and cruel words were the only way to let him do it, then he'd just have to be satisfied with that.

Still, he pulled away without complaint when Fayt did, unwilling to make it seem as though he were too involved in the taunting. The last thing he wanted was for the kid to start asking awkward questions that Cliff really didn't want to answer.

He didn't look back as they walked away, trying to get the image of Albel, broken in defeat, out of his head. Easier said than done. He preferred a straight killing in battle to what he'd done, no matter his bravado the rest of the time.

Still, the sound of Albel's scream of frustration brought a tiny smirk to his lips.


He took his time approaching the bound man, letting every step echo across the stone floor ominously. He stopped a foot or so away, close enough for Albel to feel his presence. A slow smile crossed his lips when Albel twitched at the proximity, unable to see who was invading his space or to do anything about it.

Cliff leaned in a little closer so his breath feathered against the back of Albel's neck, stirring the man's long hair. Slowly, he ran his fingers down Albel's sides, tracing his slim frame. Cliff's voice when he spoke next was cool and amused and heartless.

"How much control do you have now, maggot?"