This story is complete! It's a take on what might have happened to Sakujun. :)
I'm all for positive criticism so please feel free to comment or review.
Hope you enjoy!
Her dreams were no longer her own.
Each night, as she fell into an uneasy and fitful sleep, he called to her. His melodic and deep baritone engulfed her senses—washing over her in an endless litany.
I love you.
I want you to see only me, and I will live only for you.
His voice, the memory of his touch… the warmth of his mouth moving purposely and seductively over her lips and skin… Memories that she pushed back to the deepest corners of her mind haunted her in her sleep, when she lay open and vulnerable to their stealthy invasion.
Will you play the ehru for me, my sweet?
Aaah… this tea is lovely but I would rather have your Kanro tea. Will you not brew some for me?
Shuurei bolted upright, droplets of moisture beading her furrowed brow. She lifted a trembling hand to her lips. It was strange but she could almost feel them burning.
That dream again. Every night, it was the same. A whisper of a touch, the image of that sardonic and all-knowing smile…
She groaned in abject misery. Why? Why couldn't she get him out of her head? Months had already passed since… since that ill-fated moonless night. She buried her face in her hands, choking back the sob that was permanently lodged in her throat. She refused to shed another tear for that… that man. Logic and reason told her that he didn't deserve her tears; that all the twisted and sadistic crimes he committed should have killed whatever it was she felt for him.
And yet, his beautiful face was seared into her mind like a fiery brand. The feel of his silken locks were imprinted upon every nerve in her fingertips. It was disturbing to think that someone with the face of an angel had been the devil incarnate.
She wanted to hate him. She so desperately wanted to find a reason to banish him from her heart. But how could she? He had never shown her anything but that playfully devilish charm, and a certain gentleness that was so at odds with his perverse nature.
Sure, he had taunted and teased her to the point of distraction but he had never been cruel. That was the confusing and painful truth—he had never been cruel.
Did I not tell you that when I found that special someone, I would not be able to hesitate any longer?
Humans are fragile and they break easily. But you are different; you are so strong my sweet. I know that I can safely play with you because you will never break…
In the end, it was he who gave up and allowed himself to be broken. Overly dramatic and selfish until the very end, Shuurei thought bitterly.
And now, she had to go through this. How many more sleepless nights would she have to endure?
"I could almost hate you." She whispered into the night. "Why? Why can't you let me go?" She cried brokenly, a solitary tear falling silently from haunted eyes.
He stopped moving at the sound, his hand frozen in mid-air. His emerald eyes glittered fiercely in the moonlight.
Slowly he lowered his arm, fists tightly clenched at his sides. He stood outside her door, hesitant and unsure of what to do.
Seiran gritted his teeth in frustration. Night after night, he woke to the sound of her gentle weeping; and time and time again he found himself standing here. Helpless and powerless to do anything more than wait patiently until she quieted; and finally fell into an exhausted slumber.
A heavy sigh escaped his lips; this couldn't be allowed to go on. At the rate she was going, her body would soon be pushed to the limit. It rankled him to know that he was partly to blame for everything his Ojou-sama was going through. He had failed to protect that which was most precious to him, and as a result that demon had found a way to worm his way into her heart.
Alive, he had been a thorn in Seiran's side, a reminder of a past he wanted to forget. Now that he was gone, he continued to be the vile and loathsome bastard that he was.
I would kill you again if I could he thought savagely. Damn you Sa Sakujun, damn you to the deepest and darkest pits of hell!
A ghost of a smile played upon his crimson lips. As always, she had been oh so very delectable…
"What devilry are you up to now?" A voice growled behind him.
He gave a languid sigh and turned lazily to face his accuser. "Why Shou Taishi, how lovely to see you too." He replied mockingly. "You of course are one to talk, you raccoon spirit."
"Insolent pup!" Shou Taishi barked angrily. "If I had any say in the matter, you would be rotting away in the blackest regions of Hades!"
Sakujun shrugged, his pale tresses waving gracefully at the elegant motion. "Your petty disagreements are none of my concern." He said in a bored voice.
"Is that so?" Shou Taishi murmured silkily.
Sakujun hesitated at his tone. The old man was definitely up to something. "I presume you are trying to imply something with that wretched tone of yours?" He questioned warily.
"Unfortunately for me, he decided to give you a second chance, choosing to believe that there is some good in you after all."
Sakujun refused to be baited; instead he raised a perfectly sculpted brow and dryly asked. "Your point being?"
"As you so candidly pointed out, you are none of my concern. However," he said in a cold voice, "Shuurei IS very much MY business and I will not tolerate this… this interference of yours!" He ended angrily.
His lips twisted in a grim parody of a smile. "But what have I done, Shou Taishi?" He queried, sarcasm oozing from his words. "There is no rule that says that I cannot…" He chose his words carefully and continued, "Visit every once in awhile."
Pouting ever so slightly, he went on. "Besides, what harm is there, when I can only be with her in her dreams." He said in a honeyed voice, his eyes daring him to contradict that assertion.
He thought back to that last evening he had spent with Shuurei. Her voice kept him warm as life slowly seeped out of his veins. He smiled. She had slapped him then, and it had filled him with a joy he had never experienced before. The crack of her palm against his cheek told him the one thing she had never voiced out. She cared enough to want him to live…
He sighed. "What a troublesome girl." He murmured to himself softly. It was ironic that when he had finally found a reason to keep living, in a pathetic attempt to force Shuurei to show her affection, he had recklessly thrown his life away.
Shou Taishi watched the young man with a measuring and calculating gleam in his eye. Perhaps that was it. Sakujun's saving grace was his love for Shuurei, he admitted grudgingly. But even so, he could not allow his unearthly visits to the most promising court official Saiunkoku had seen in decades to go on unchecked. It simply would not do. The dark circles under Shuurei's eyes and the pallor of her skin were alarming even to someone as seasoned as he was.
"Be that as it may, I forbid you to have any contact with Kou Shuurei starting today." He declared gruffly. "And if you have a problem with that, I suggest you take it up with him," he paused for effect. "After all, he already gave his approval for this sanction." He laughed heartily, shooting Sakujun an evil grin. Ha! Let's see what you have to say to that, you miserable wretch, he thought.
Sakujun merely stared at him, an amused expression on his face. "I have never taken orders in my life Shou Taishi." He drawled unconcernedly, his hand absently toying with a lock of his hair. "You've said your piece old man, now leave me be." He stated pointedly. Giving him an enigmatic smile, he murmured, "I will… think this over." He then turned his back to the older man, a sign of obvious dismissal.
Shou Taishi bristled at the younger man's rudeness. Much as he wanted to thrash the little whelp soundly, he had other matters to attend to. He would continue to monitor Sakujun's movements but for now, he would leave him to his musings.
Sakujun's thoughts went back to the object of his affection. If he closed his eyes, he could picture her enchanting face clearly. And if he quieted his heart, he could almost hear that bossy voice of hers. At turns sternly scolding him for his penchant for excessive lavishness, or an exuberant inquisitiveness as she asked him about his travels abroad. He smiled ruefully at his way-ward thoughts. That girl was making him soft in the head, he thought wryly.
"Such a troublesome girl." He whispered softly. "And yet, I can't seem to get enough of her." He shook his head. To think he had even willingly chosen this fate, this state of being neither dead nor alive. A half-life if you wanted to get technical about it he mused idly.
But he was far from bored.
"Aaah, my sweet beautiful Shuurei. I told you once, that I would never tire of you. It seems I was right all along." He murmured quietly to himself.
In the blink of an eye, his smile turned positively wicked as he thought of the next delicious dream he would give her. Plotting the next course of his midnight seductions were as always… vastly entertaining.