Gee... only 3 years since i last updated? seems like less... or at least it does on the author side of things. i'll vaguely assure my poor long suffering readers (those that are still hanging in there anyways) that i will get this done. there is only a couple chapters left anyways. i have the next one mostly written, hopefully get it posted in the next month or so.

usual warnings apply as usual.

Something was hitting the door. Timcanpy stirred, lifting one slender golden wing from his place at the table on top of the General's hat where he was napping. The loud repetitive thud was enough to give the great General Cross Marian a migraine. If he ended up with a migraine, he was going to horribly mutilate the guilty party.

He rolled off the bed, yanked on his pants and a clean shirt and fixed his half mask in place. Make myself presentable... maybe its that cute dancer. No. Probably just the Idiot... I might just kill him today. With a deep frown he crossed the room and pulled the door open.

Allen fell just inside the door frame. "I hate you, you know that?" he stared up him glumly from his place on the floor. "That was not funny... and I can't move very well."

"Ah..." Cross chuckled as he took in the boneless youth before him. "So you took it eh?" He stepped back a bit, giving him room to drag himself in fully. Tim had zipped to him, darting excitedly above the boy's face. "Get in here... if you think I'm going to help you boy, you're sorely mistaken."

With a great effort the Idiot rolled himself over and began slowly inching his way into the room. "What did you give me?" he gritted out as the golum alighted on his forehead. "Yes, hi Tim. I missed you too... I feel like lead... Narein had to carry me back here."

"That was the idea, basically." Cross shut the door behind him. "I almost expected that boy to chicken out, but he really gave it to you huh? How was your evening?" he tried not to laugh at the death glare his apprentice was sending him from under Tim's wings. "Did you two have fun?"

"I want a shower." Allen flushed hotly. "You knew what that stuff was going to do to me didn't you?"

"That I did."

"Narein said you were evil..." he rolled his eyes and tried to shake Tim away. The little creature was trotting worried circles across his forehead. It clearly adored him; the display was enough to make Cross lose his smug grin for a moment. "But then I already knew that..."

"Sooo... did... you... two... have... a... good... time?" pronouncing each word carefully, Cross pressed him for information purely to satisfy his own curiosity and further annoy the boy. He clearly had a hickey on his neck. Something interesting must have happened. Ah to be young and horny...

"I told him to never come near me again." a touch of something like sadness crept into his dull voice. "That... you...You!" his eyes flashed, suddenly furious with some inner realization. "You told me to stop him! If I didn't like something... you told me to stop him. To, what was it? Be a man and take control?" with a great effort he hauled himself to his knees, clinging weakly to the table above him for support. Timcanpy fled back to the safety of the hat on the table and crawled under it.

"But how could I stop him when you gave me that stuff!" His strength gave and he crumpled back to a boneless pile on the floor. Weak. Pathetic. "How could I possibly stop him like this?!"

The boy's voice cracked pathetically. "I can't stop anything..."

"Shit." Cross ran a hand though his long hair in irritation. This wasn't fun anymore. A couple of loose strands came out tangled in his fingers. The kid was making his hair fall out. I don't need this shit... He was going to go bald at this rate. That was unacceptable. He knelt by the boy and grabbed his chin, forcing him to look at him. Pale eyes began watering, half from frustration and half from Cross' painful grip. He was trying hard not to meet his gaze. "What did he do?"

Cross prided himself on being a fairly good judge of character. He didn't think the lovely brown skinned boy would actually do something if Allen didn't want to. He didn't believe for a second that he would actually hurt him. By now the boy had surely known to say no, or fight. He could fight now, Cross was sure of that. The brat was much stronger now, much more than the broken bloody husk he had seen in the graveyard.

"Look at me." he commanded a bit more harshly than intended. Allen's tears were running over his fingers, his face stricken. "Are you... no, you look at me boy! Did he..." Cross swallowed awkwardly around a word he suddenly didn't want to say. "Did you say no to him?"

Allen made a choked sound. Either unable or unwilling to answer him. Something had certainly happened. He was going to find out what it was... or else.

Cross grunted and decided that his apprentice's unwillingness was cause enough. He let the boy's head return to the floor with a thump and set about unfastening the buttons of his shirt. "Shut up..." he growled over Allen's abrupt screams of protest. "You don't want to answer me after practically shouting it, so I'm looking." The thin chest hiccuping before him was covered in little hickeys and love bites, but no signs of worse violence. He unfastened his leather belt and the button under it. "Last chance to talk..." his hands settled on the waist band of his pants, ready to pull them down.

"I hate you." Something dark peered out at Cross from behind pale eyes. The little body tensing as he tried to fight the after effects of the drug. "I hate you!"

"Good." Without ceremony he yanked the rough work pants down. The boy became very quiet; his pale eyes burning furiously. His skinny legs were mostly bruise free, nothing that couldn't be explained away by his work or training. Any real sign of damage would still be covered by his boxers. He wouldn't remove them, but Cross was more than ready to reach under the fabric, ready to check for blood or other base fluids between his thighs. As much as he hated it, he was also ready to hunt down and savagely beat the brown skinned boy.

A weaker man would be worried; Cross Marian was not... Damn it, he knew what kind of man he had become.

"Answer me or I look." he ordered, fingering the edge of the loose cotton. "I'm guessing by the way you're carrying on that you told him no... did he continue? Did he... force himself on you?" The words sounded almost awkward as he spit them out. He still couldn't call it was it clearly was. Do I need to go kill him? Messing with my stupid apprentice... that's almost as bad as messing with me...

"Narein touched my Innocence." Allen said softly, the dark thing lingering in his gaze drifted away as if it had never been there. He sagged and abandoned the fight. "I told him not to... to stop, but he didn't. I didn't want it. My Innocence... I..." his whole body seemed to flush. "You know what its like..."

An unexpected sense of relief washed over the General. Quickly he stood and grabbed a cigarette from the table, busying himself with the act of lighting it and taking a deep pull. Anything to hide the relieved look that he was sure was on his face. He frowned, finding that he was still angry at the other boy. There was no way he could have known what he was touching or how terribly intimate Innocence was to its host.

"Did it hurt?" Cross purposefully ignored the half dressed body on his floor. "You didn't let it invoke, did you?"

"Of course I didn't... can I get dressed now?" Cross grinned inwardly at the embarrassed tone of his his apprentice's voice. It was much better to feel the glee of making others miserable than then disgustingly soft emotions like concern. He refused to admit that the Idiot's well being had worried him.

"Dress yourself. I'm not your mother."

"Force himself on me... God..." he groaned, trying to move again. "Who talks like that..."

From the corner of his eye, Cross watched his apprentice feebly reach down and try to fix his pants. "Would you rather I say raped?" The word came easily now that he knew it wasn't the case. "Fucked, perhaps? Or maybe 'Good morning my useless apprentice, how was your evening of unwilling sodomy?' How crass..."

Goosebumps broke out across his body as he felt a rush of power behind him. His own Innocence thrumming a warning as he sensed boy's activation. In an instant his legs were knocked out from under him by the twitch of a sharp elongated finger. His chin slammed on the edge of the table as he fell.

"What the hell?!" he tasted copper and spit the partial remains of his cigarette out. Loose tobacco clung to his tongue.

"Don't talk like that..." Allen stared at him from the floor, eyes slightly surprised by his own actions. "You're not funny. Don't talk about me like that... you don't get to talk to me like that..."

Cross pushed down his rapidly growing fury. How dare that little shit trip me... Even under the drug, Allen's Innocence was able to activate. It could do little more than twitch from its place on the floor, but there it was. That was still impressive. He glanced at the transformed finger that brought him down.

"What was that?" he said coolly. "I thought you couldn't move... you better have a very good explanation... or I may have to put your worthless hide through the wall."

Allen looked miserable for a moment before his expression hardened. "You don't say those things! Not after you sent me over there... you knew exactly what was going to happen and you sent me anyway!"

"Wait what?" Cross shifted where he sat on the floor. He had the odd thought that the boy might just knock him over again if he tried to get up. Of course he would have to kill the kid if he did.

"Alright. I knew how that medicine would make you feel. This is true. And knowing that, I still sent you to that boy's..." He let his lips form a evil leer. "Would you have rather stayed here? In that drugged state? Feeling like that? With me... with Maria?"

Allen's eyes widened as he imagined it. "No." he frowned, but much of the strength had left his voice. He knew tripping Cross was a huge mistake regardless of the reasons behind it. "Still... don't talk like that..."

"Sorry kid." Cross stood and made a show of brushing off his clothes. "You don't get to tell me what I can and cannot say." He stepped over the boy's still transformed arm. "I'm still your master." Pulling back his leg he planted a sharp kick to the Idiot's unprotected side to remind him.

He groaned from the impact and his arm reformed. Both transformations were smooth; worlds better than before. I'm still his master... Cross reflected. Not for too much longer it seems... Allen's control seemed better, but he still needed to be tested in actual battle.

"Let's get this over with... On Gata..." Cross closed his eyes began reciting the Words to summon the Grave of Maria into the real world. Magic rippled through the air of the room, moving out of the way for the materializing object. The black obelisk rose from nothing. For a moment Cross felt dizzy, a weight he had forgotten he was carrying was lifted. Damn magic...

"Oh..." the boy on the floor groaned. "Oh no... not that thing. Please, master I... I'm sorry ok? I'm sorry I tripped you so don't... not that thing..."

"She has a name." Cross grumbled in between the Words to release the bindings and free the corpse Maria. "You need to be respectful to her."

"Ohh noo..." Allen was panicking, trying hard to keep his voice even. "Please... I don't like this. Don't let that thing...NO her. Her. Don't let her touch me. Please... she'll get in my head and it hurts...she'll rip me apart..."

Cross growled and pinched the bridge of his nose. His apprentice was terrified of Maria. He was already planning to put limits on her, but somehow the Idiot's whimpering confirmed its necessity. "Maria."

"My love." liquid music crept over his skin. She was free and curling around him, unfettered from gravity itself. Icy cold hands pulling at his clothes, his mask, running through his hair. They kissed, icy lips pressing hard and possessively against his. It was enough to make his own skin feel feverish by comparison. As badly as he wanted to, Cross didn't let himself shiver. That would only encourage her. "What kind of song shall I sing for you?"

"Make the boy stand." he ordered, forcing her body away from his and hating how badly the corpse affected him.

"Is that all dear? Really, you know we could..." an icy hand was trying to slip past his belt and into his trousers.

"No." he cut her off. "Just make him stand. Nothing else."

He could hear the Idiot whimpering over Maria's song. Cross scowled at them both as the boy climbed to his feet.

"Good... alright Maria, lend him the strength to move as he wants." The corpse was frowning now, deeply displeased to not have full control. "Useless... move."

Allen took a nervous step forward before smiling slightly and walking to the table to fish Timcanpy out from his hiding place.

"Well, how is it boy?" Cross watched him play with the little gold golum's wings. His movements were slow but confident. "You have control? Is she directing your movements or is it all you?"

"Its me. I still don't like this. I'm fighting to keep my hands..." he gritted out, sweat was beginning to bead on his forehead. It was obviously a strain.

"What's she trying to make you do?"

The boy shot him a glare. "Guess."

Cross cracked a smile before he could stop himself. "You still want to take that shower?"

The boy answered with a single carefully raised finger.