A/N: Inspired by a line in an e-mail. Am I completely satisfied? Of course not, this is a silly silly question, but I don't hate it. It's a completely different plunny than it was when I first started writing it, but I hope it turned out alright.
This is set after Shigure finds out about Akito and Kureno, but before he uses Ren for evil paybacks.
Many thanks to Windswift, who looked things up for me and was incredibly helpful in turning this into the final product.
Disclaimer: If I could afford a lawyer to fight copyright laws…this still wouldn't be mine.
Dedication: To Adi88, because it was her e-mail that inspired the whole thing.
Now, if you review me, I will worship and love you. And, if, as is highly possible, this fic truly sucks, verbally abuse me gently.
The clock ticks quietly in the corner, keeping track of the silence of the night. Its only companion is the scratching of his pen on paper, the sound as steady as the clock, though it causes more anticipation than the passing minutes.
She stands in the doorway, framed by the dim glow from the hall. Her breathing is so quiet that it doesn't add to the small concert of noises already inhabiting the room, and so he doesn't acknowledge her.
Though of course he knows she's there.
Time would stand still, if it weren't for the persistent clock, and she stands frozen. His hand is the only thing that moves, and he seems so focused, so distant and away. She doesn't like it, so she steps into the room, the heavy darkness swallowing her as the creak of her footsteps on the floor not so subtly announces her presence.
A thin cord of tension wraps itself around her as she enters; making the silence lay like a wet clammy fog across her shoulders, coating the back of her throat.
"What are you writing?" Her voice comes out a little hoarse and she swallows to clear her throat.
He doesn't look up, doesn't stop what he's doing, letting her know in no uncertain terms that he's aware of her presence and, in fact, is for the most part, ignoring her. "Just a story."
The answer frustrates her and she moves restlessly into the room, pacing forward to stand next to the desk, as close as she can get without touching him. He still hasn't looked up, intent on his pen, and that makes her angry and a little frightened. She can't quite bring herself to reach and tap his shoulder, even for his attention.
"Why? It's late. We haven't seen you all evening." He shrugs, and she clenches her fists, her body tightening with anger.
"It's important that I finish it, while I have the ideas, that's all. Is there something you need?" His tone is mild, but infuriatingly dismissive. She shakes her head, impatient, though he couldn't see her in the dimness, and isn't looking anyway.
She leans down to read over his shoulder, wondering how he can even make out what he's writing in the gloom of the mostly dark room. The story is short, not involved. The heroine is meeting a lover on a street corner, and there are lots of pretty words, lots of talk of gentle murmurs and passionate fires, and descriptions of things she is only just starting to understand.
"It doesn't seem that interesting," she says somewhat petulantly, lightly touching the paper before picking up his pen, turning it between her fingers. "Why can't it just wait?" He does look up at her then, that carefully amused smirk playing around his mouth as he watches the pen spinning in her fingertips
"Why should it? It would be so unkind of me to leave my poor characters to wonder what will happen to them, wouldn't it?" She scowls, though relief loosens in her stomach when he finally is talking straight to her. When he's so focused, she can't touch him, she can't reach. She wants him here and now, not on that street corner with the flowery lovers.
"I suppose, but does it matter? They've been doing the same thing, and it isn't that wonderful. Why would a story like this keep you locked in here all night?" He laughs then, looping one arm around her waist as she stands beside him.
"Isn't it…? You're being rather foolish, are you jealous of a story?" His tone is mocking, with something that could be scorn…but it's impossible to really tell. She is jealous, but refuses to admit it, pushing half heartedly at his arm in irritation.
"Of course not," she snaps. "I just don't understand why you waste so much time on them." He studies her face, and then gives her a slow smile that spreads like honey over his lips.
It's very hard not to let herself shiver.
"Let me show you," he says, taking his pen back from her and turning back to his paper. She frowns, thinking she's lost him again.
"Shigure, what are you…" he holds up one hand sharply to silence her. She's furious at the commanding gesture, but closes her lips over her words, letting the room drop into silence again.
Tick tick tick, scratch scratch. Wait for him, wait for the pen.
He goes on for a long time, and more than once she wants to interrupt him, angry that he's making her wait so long. But every time she opens her mouth, something stops her and she closes it again, a little pit of cold circling in her stomach every time he purses his lips in thought or gives a small pleased nod.
It seems like an eternity, but finally he picks up the paper and hands it to her. She looks at it, her lips pressed together in a frown.
"I said I would show you, but it won't read itself. Go on." She glowers at him, but peers closer at the page, reading his crowded handwriting.
'He took her hand, pressing their bleeding palms together, hissing in pain and pleasure as his blood mingled with hers.
"We will be together forever," he kissed her lips deeply, burning with lust as their blood sealed the pact of eternal devotion.
"I will love you until the end of time," she breathed, her body singing as his blood ran through her veins. They fell together, she clinging to him desperately as his arms circled around her, drawing her to his chest. She was pressed so close that she did not see the knife in his hand, the first she knew of it was when it entered her back, clutched in his steady hand. The strike was precise, and she had only enough time for a soft gasp of pain and surprise before her eyes went blank and she went limp, dying from his dagger even as he held her.'
She looks up at him in the dim light, her eyes wide with horror. "Why…why did you do that?" she stumbles over the words, her fingers tightening convulsively around the paper. "It was a love story…they loved each other…why did you make him kill her?"
"Because I can."
He doesn't lose his smile as he watches her, satisfaction obvious on his face. "That's why I had to finish. I had to show what happened. They weren't going to get the happy ending they thought. It would have been cruel to lie to them, wouldn't it?"
She's absolutely furious, and her hands shake violently. She's nearly forgotten that it's just a story. "They were in love. You made it sound like they were going to be together forever…you can't trick us like that. You can't do that."
He slowly slips the paper out of her hands and lays it on the desk, wrapping her fingers in his. "And that's why," he murmurs, smiling slow and sweet, "I have to write. They think they know what's going to happen, but I know what they think, and I get to change it. It's all up to me. I can be god. I can decide who gets to live or die; who gets true love, and who gets stabbed in the back." He squeezes just a little too hard, and she wants to pull away. Something's wrong.
His smile grows, but it's not sweet anymore, it's too thin and too sharp. She's scared, because she can now tell that he's crossed over some sort of line. His expression is completely open, and it sends thrills of fear down her spine as he looks at her face, so very honestly. She actually tries to step away, because she can suddenly see something there she didn't notice before. Its real anger, real pain. He won't let her back up. His fingers seem to crush hers for an eternal second, and she chokes on a gasp. His voice is soft and poisonous, slipping painfully between her ribs. "Addicting, isn't it?"
His voice is barely above a whisper, sickeningly gentle and deadly.
"It must be so hard to be the reader…watching it all go wrong…you can't change it, can't stop it."
Everything hangs suspended for a moment, them, his words, even the clock. Her fingers ache and so do her lungs; she's not breathing, like he's squeezing her throat instead of her hands. She can't take another second of this, or she's going to scream.
And then suddenly it's gone. His face is calm again, placid as the smooth surface of a lake. She shivers, knocked off her guard by her brief glimpse below that shimmering surface.
He loosens his grip, gently rubbing her fingers where he had squeezed so hard, and then releases her hands.
"It's late," he murmurs, lovingly smoothing the page she had crumpled. "You should be getting to bed." The smile he gives her is gentle and sweet again, but she feels bile rising in her throat. He stands from the desk and puts a hand on her shoulder. She barely manages not to flinch as he walks her to the door, opening it and kissing her forehead with a light affection before gently pushing her into the hall.
"Have a wonderful night Akito-san…I hope you…sleep well."
Its then, standing shaken and bemused in the hall, that it has time to sink in, and the realization runs cold in her blood as she stares at the door after it's closed.