Warnings: Shounen-ai, yaoi, swearing, and gore
Disclaimer: I don't own "Spriggan." "Spriggan" belongs to its creators, licensors, and everybody else who actually contributed something constructive to it.
Summery: Jean/Ominae: Arcam sends Jean and Yuu to protect an Artifact at a shrine. They're trapped by it and forced to admit their feelings for one another. Originally written for YaoiChallenge. Sequel to "I Do Not Bluff" and "Say What?"
Yuu peered around the corner and down another corridor, leading with his Ruger P-90. The flashlight attached under the muzzle showed the corridor to be empty. He rounded the corner and sprinted down the corridor. Upon reaching the next intersection, he flattened himself against the corridor wall. He took a moment to wipe the sweat from his face and consider his options.
This intersection was different from the previous one. Instead of a choice between straight, left, or right; this intersection offered straight, up, or down. This was the second time that Yuu had found one of these intersections. He was running through a maze that filled the entire interior of the Artifact. The maze was pitch black. If Yuu didn't have a flashlight attached to his gun he wouldn't have been able to see anything, even with the night vision goggles he was wearing. Added to that the temperature inside the Artifact seemed to be rising, making it difficult to move or even think.
They had gone inside the maze after a member of the U.S. Machine Corps code named "Mole." Mole was so named because he had infiltrated the ARCAM organization as a member of Dr. Meisel's research team. When the camp had been attacked earlier and Jean and Yuu protecting the Artifact site Mole had taken advantage of their distraction and gone inside the Artifact. After defeating the outside attackers Jean and Yuu had been alerted by Dr. Meisel and gone in after Mole. They had been separated by the maze almost immediately. Since then Yuu had not found a trace of either Mole of Jean for nearly three hours.
What he had found were traps. Very unusual traps. The maze mainly consisted of corridors, but occasionally a corridor would lead into a large room with only one exit, placed directly on the other side of the room. To reach the exit he had to move through the room. It was inside the rooms that the traps were placed. The traps were not a danger to him physically, but they threw him into violent hallucinations of pain and terror. All of which were distorted versions of his own memories. It took getting out of the room to make the hallucinations stop. The last two times that he had come across a room he had turned around and gone back to the previous intersection and chosen a different direction.
As he caught his breath Yuu made the decision to continue straight rather than go up or down. Just as he began moving down the corridor, Yuu heard a hoarse shout. Yuu stopped and listened closely. The shout came again from the corridor above him. Not only that but it sounded like Jean. Yuu immediately went back to the intersection and jumped up the next level, into another intersection. After making two sweeps with his flashlight to ensure there wasn't an ambush; he waited and then heard the shout once more coming from further down the corridor on his left. Yuu turned and sprinted in the direction of Jean's voice.
The corridor opened into one of the trap rooms and the sight that greeted Yuu upon reaching the doorway was one of Jean on his knees with his hands presses to the sides of his head. Jean was in the middle of the room, and Yuu hesitated only for a moment before entering the room. Yuu tensed as he crossed the threshold expecting to be hit with a hallucination, but it didn't happen. Yuu realized that once the trap was triggered it focused on the one whom had tripped it.
Yuu stopped a few feet from Jean and studied him carefully. He desperately wanted to shake Jean out of the hallucination, but common sense told him that it might do more harm than good. While Yuu tried to think of a solution besides just waiting for the hallucination to stop, Jean cried out again. Yuu could see that Jean was the verge of going berserk. Yuu knew that he had to prevent that from happening at all costs. He had to get Jean out of the room and the only way to achieve that would be to find a way to distract him from whatever visions were tormenting him.
Yuu's mind quickly ran through numerous possibilities on how to distract Jean, but he discarded all of them as likely to make Jean feel as if he was being attacked. Then Yuu hit upon an idea that made him blink and gulp simultaneously. Yuu walked over to Jean laid his gun on the floor so that the flashlight pointed at Jean and removed his night vision goggles, they would only get in the way. Then without allowing himself to think about what he was doing knelt down, tilted his head to one side, and kissed him.
Yuu began the kiss with gentle pressure and when Jean gasped in surprise, entered Jean's mouth just as gently and deepened the kiss. He brought his hands up to frame Jean's face, and then slid them higher to remove Jean's night vision goggles, and then brought them back to grip Jean's hands and lower them to chest level. He hoped that should Jean object to the kiss his hold on
Jean's hands would keep him from getting hit. When Jean began to kiss him back, he broke away from the kiss to look at Jean.
Jean looked thunderstruck, "Yuu? What's…?" he started to whisper then flinched and looked off to the side.
Yuu took that as a sign that visions were still happening. He let go of Jean's hands, slung his gun over his shoulder with his left hand, while his right hand gripped Jean's chin to keep Jean looking at him.
"Look only at my eyes," Yuu said, infusing his voice with command. "Pick up your goggles and let's get the hell out of this room."
When Jean gave a slight nod of assent, Yuu picked up his goggles, and stood up his eyes never leaving Jean's. It took Jean slightly longer to get to his feet. Then careful to maintain eye contact, they slowly side stepped their way to the exit. Once in the corridor they immediately broke eye contact. Yuu began an intensive study of his bootlaces, while Jean stared down at the goggles in his hands.
Several minutes had passed in this fashion when Jean broke the silence causing Yuu to twitch slightly in surprise.
"No problem. What are friends for?" Yuu's attempt at casualness was overturned when Jean suddenly moved in front of him and looked him in the eyes.
"Is that what we are? Friends?" Jean spoke in quiet, almost meditative, tone.
Yuu swallowed nervously, "I hope that we are Jean." He was beginning to wonder if he was going to get hit after all.
Jean stared at Yuu for a few moments, and then replied slowly, "Friends, yes, but is that all we are?"
Before Yuu knew what was happening Jean had him pinned to the wall and was kissing him as if it were their last minute on Earth. He moaned softly as Jean deepened the kiss further, fire seeming to spread from his lips through the rest of his body. He dropped his goggles and wrapped his arms around Jean's waist, fingers tangling in the long, silky hair of Jean's ponytail.
Jean pressed his body more firmly to Yuu's and felt a hardness that matched his own press against the tops of his thighs. He bent his knees slightly to bring their arousals into alignment and began an undulating motion with his hips. He tilted Yuu's jaw up with his hands as he began kissing his way down Yuu's neck. When he reached the pulse that beat rapidly at the base of Yuu's throat, he bit lightly causing Yuu to cry out softly.
The cry brought them both back to their senses. Jean stopped and moved away from Yuu, looked him in the eyes and repeated his previous query, "Is that all we are?"
Yuu closed his eyes and turned his head to the side, "It's all that we can be. You know that." He opened his eyes and looked steadily at Jean, "And you also know why."
A bitter expression crossed Jean's face and laced his voice as he replied, "Duty."
"You said it yourself, Jean. The lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet depend on us. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by emotion, or value anything above ARCAM's mission."
"I can't pretend not to care anymore, Yuu. I can't pretend that I'm not in l-"
"Don't say! Please don't say it, Jean."
"I'm in love with you, Yuu. I have been for years."
Yuu sagged back against the wall and watched Jean pace as he continued.
"I'm not going to pretend anymore. I'm not going to ignore it anymore. These past three years have been hell. Only seeing you at that damn yearly meeting. Knowing that you've been sent out on missions, but not knowing if you were hurt, and only finding out that you survived your missions because you hadn't been replaced for the next one. Not hearing you laugh, not hearing you curse, not having you close enough to touch. I would go to Hell itself to be with you."
Jean stopped pacing and faced Yuu. "That hallucination back there that brought me to my fucking knees? It was of the time I found you in the Arc, only this time you weren't unconscious. You were dead," his voice dropped to a whisper as he bent his head, "And it destroyed me."
"I know," came Yuu's quiet reply. He continued, as Jean lifted his head and looked at him, "I know, because I felt the same way when I thought you had fallen off Mount Ararat. When I saw that you were still alive, it was like my heart started beating again."
He continued in a voice shadowed by defeat, "I know because I love you too. I've spent the past three years in the same hell you have, and I'm the one to blame. I was a coward to leave the way I did. I was a coward when I made the request that we not be sent on the same assignments anymore.1 If Hans2 hadn't died you wouldn't be here with me now. I did it to try to kill what we have between us and instead I made it stronger.3"
Yuu rubbed his hand over his forehead, "And we still have the same problem as before. We cannot let what we feel for each other get in the way of our missions."
Jean moved forward, reached out, grasped Yuu's hand and brought it to his lips, "We won't."
Yuu flushed but left his hand in Jean's, "But we already are. We should be tracking down Mole, figuring out how to turn this thing off, or at the very least trying to find a way out. Instead we're talking about this."
Jean let go of Yuu's hand, and instead cupped Yuu's jaw, "We'll get to that in one more minute. Just as soon as you promise that after this mission, you will sit down with me and we will find a way to be together when we're not on missions."
Yuu closed his eyes and leaned into Jean's touch, "I promise," he murmured.
When Jean dropped his hands, Yuu had to resist the impulse to bring them back. Touching and being touched by Jean was addicting. Instead, he shifted so his that left side was just barely touching Jean's right. He looked over at Jean, and asked,
"So what are we going to do about Mole?"
One corner of Jean's mouth twitched up as he replied, "I think that it would be best to find the control room. It's is probably the most likely place that Mole is headed and we might be able to shut off this Artifact or find the exit from there. I also think we shouldn't separate again, as you seem to have a great talent for distracting me from the horrors this place throws at us."
At that last statement Yuu smiled slightly, "I'm all to happy to help, but I wish that Dr. Meisel had had more time to finish the translations so that we could have found out what this Artifact does. Do you think that the trap rooms are part of a security system? Or, are they part of the way the Artifact works? I do know one thing. The trap rooms seem to work on only one person at a time. So if we come to a trap room, one of us can go in first, and the other can come in and bring him out the other side.
Jean smirked suggestively, "Should we employ proven methods, to get out? He paused to enjoy the dark blush that crept up Yuu's cheeks. "I agree that it sounds like it will work. I only add that as this place seems to be a maze we should try to find the center as that is where the control room is more likely to be."
Yuu gave a quick nod, "Agreed."
With that decided, they both put their night vision goggles back on, and unslung their guns. Yuu took point, while Jean followed close behind. It didn't take them very long to fall into an easy routine of switching the point man at every intersection and communicating with only hand signals. They also made the unspoken decision that when they reached a trap room that they would take turns to be the one who went in first.
It most also be noted, that while it only took about a minute to enter a trap room and exit again with this routine, that they lingered much longer than was strictly necessary in the corridors after the trap rooms.
They spent nearly two hours moving around the inside of the Artifact in this manner, until they reached a trap room that did not have an exit on the opposite side. Instead it had one leading straight down. At this point they still hadn't encountered Mole. With a quick flurry of hand signs, it was decided that Yuu would drop down first and Jean would follow.
Yuu got quite a surprise when he jumped into the room. It was indeed the control room, but it seemed he had landed in what appeared to be the remains of Mole. Appeared to be, because, what he landed in was so splattered that he had trouble making out any distinguishable remains. Yuu looked up and then quickly moved aside as Jean jumped down to join him.
Jean and Yuu quickly started a search grid to find the key plate that Mole had stolen. Jean found it on the other side of the room, still being held in a tight grip by what was left of Mole's right hand. Jean walked back over to Yuu and they looked at each for long moments before Jean placed the plate on the console.
The reaction was immediate. They both fell to their knees in agony as a bright beam of light speared them. Beneath and behind the pain was an inexplicable sense of searching. As the pain grew worse Jean reached out a hand and Yuu gripped it tightly. Then they blacked out from the pain.
The next thing either of them knew they were flat on their backs outside in the rain. They helped each other sit up and then stand. They then turned their heads to look at Dr. Meisel who had just run up to them.
"Jean! Yuu! Oh, thank goodness! I was so very worried. Are you all right.?"
Yuu responded first. "Yeah, Doc. I think we are."
This time Jean answered, "The Artifact killed him. He must have done something wrong."
To their surprise, Dr. Meisel chuckled,
"Oh he must have done all sorts of things wrong. While you were in there, I finished my translation. The Artifact is nothing more than a judgment machine. When its makers wanted to know if someone was innocent or guilty they would put them inside the Artifact. If they made out alive, then they were innocent.4 If I had known sooner, I wouldn't have let you go after him. You could have just waited out here to see if he came out again."
He chuckled again when he saw the look that Jean and Yuu traded, "Why don't you two boys go get some rest. I think you deserve it."
"Just don't forget to write me a report about what the inside of the Artifact was like," he called at their retreating backs as they each headed off in different directions.
A few hours later, freshly washed and recently fed, Yuu headed towards the main security post. Jean had an office and private bunk in the back, just like he did at the research labs. As he walked into the Quonset hut, he greeted the soldiers who were on sensor detail. All the others were either asleep or on sentry duty.
He reached the door to Jean's office and knocked twice, then entered. Jean was at his desk writing up his report for ARCAM headquarters. He smiled as Yuu sat down in the chair in front of his desk, and set the paperwork aside. He leaned back in his chair and said,
"Isn't it ironic that we never needed to go inside that monstrosity in the first place. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel a little grateful that we did indeed go inside."
"Why?" came Yuu's somewhat startled reply.
"Because, if not for that hallucination. I don't think that we'd ever have cleared things up between us. I'm grateful for the chance to be with you, even though we still need to figure things out. Before we were barely speaking to each other, now we at least have a chance."
Special report: The translation of the plates relating to the Artifact.
I separate Truth from lies.
I am the holder of Knowledge.
am a Trial by Fire.
I Judge all those who come into my domain.
Only those with the greatest Light inside shall be found Innocent.
All others will be consumed by their own sins.
A/N Timeline note: This takes place roughly three years after NOAH so that Yuu is no longer jailbait by Japanese standards. Also I switched out the M-16s from the anime to Ruger P-90 simply because I think that they're better for hunting indoors.
1: This was originally going to be much longer, but was shortened due to time constraints, which were pretty much all caused by my insane family. So a great deal of backstory is now gone. Basically Yuu took a runner right after NOAH and asked his boss Tanaka-san to never put him on the same assignment again. The foolish boy was trying to be noble.
2. Random Spriggan who was originally going to be sent to the site with Yuu. Jean was his replacment after I killed him off so that I could get the two of them together.
3. A reference to both "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." and "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
4. Yes. I am sappy enough to have the Power of Love save their lives.