Chronicles of a Colourblind Rainbow

I have finally completed the second one-shot in this series. My deepest and heartfelt apology and regret for not having finished it sooner.

I realise some might find this similar in tone to the first one, but I'm afraid my Nero muse tends to darken everything he touches, so all shots with him tend to be depressing. Next chapter will feature different characters most likely.

As a warning, there is dark imagery here, but nothing too graphic I shouldn't think. Once again, thank you to Reading Chick for the prompt.

Afraid of the Dark

If there was one thing Rosso the Crimson prided herself on, it was that no-one could best her. Or rather, that was what she thought.

In her fragile, unstable mind she was the pinnacle of female might, untameable by any man...or woman, for that matter. So she told herself as she strode from what had once been Restrictor's chamber, head held aloft with that same pride. She was a goddess, bathed in the blood of a thousand men. And she liked it that way.

Smiling with a confidence that outshone the Transparent's sabres, the blood-maned temptress marvelled that their Immaculate Emperor had lasted so long. Weiss had once appeared, to her at least, unmovable. For a brief moment of the past her violently addled brain had surmised the wiles he sought were not those of a feminine physique. Of course, that was a very brief moment, and Rosso had quickly assured herself that Weiss had merely had too few encounters with her to fully appreciate what she could 'offer' him, even if the notion of someone not lusting after her at first sight was enough to make her snort in disbelief. What folly.

So she had upped her game, and won big of course. And hence she strode out of that chamber as though she were the queen of Deepground (which of course she might have been, given her recent success). Long legs carried her towards the exit of the literally green room, hips swaying alluringly as she walked. Just because she had Weiss where she wanted him, didn't mean she had to stop being perfect. It didn't really occur to her that Weiss might have been toying with her, or that perhaps he simply allowed her 'victory' because it amused him. Nor did it strike her that she might soon find herself in no small amount of trouble. That is, not until that telltale accent slid into her ears like the caress of silk on flesh. Almost a whisper, but not quite.

"I see we have been busy." A simple sentence on its own, but in that moment and with that emphasis, it carried a world of weight.

A chill crept up the Crimson's spine, not entirely due to the ever-present frigid air that seemed to drift around the darker Tsviet like an insistent lover. Rosso held her ground. She was not afraid of Weiss, and she was certainly not afraid of his pet brother.

"What of it, Sable?" She spat, throwing the title as one would an insult. After all, it was common knowledge among the Tsviets, the circumstances of Nero's birth and subsequent title. Less common was the knowledge that Nero despised the moniker. "Can't Weiss act on his own without need for you approval?"

"Of course he can." Replied the dark haired youth with forced nonchalance and a hint of dry mirth, if one could call so black a soul youthful. Perhaps young in years was a more apt term. "My brother's will is his own, and he will find his...entertainment, where he deems fit." Yet even as he said it there was the lingering feeling of irritation at the Emperor's actions. Not jealousy, just...irritation. In Nero's opinion Weiss simply had no time for these petty power games, yet he would never oppose his older brother on such a matter.

To Rosso, neither the pause nor the amusement in his tone escaped her, and she suddenly had the distinct impression she'd missed a joke somewhere along the line. She disliked the implications, and remained firm in the view that any who struck her would be struck back. So saying, her expression morphed into a disarmingly calm smirk.

"Then why the intrusion Nero?" She purred, noting with satisfaction how his posture stiffened when his name rolled forth from her lips. She did not often address him by name, and even less often was such address an indication of pleasant conversation. Pressing her advantage she moved towards him, bearing down on the shorter Tsviet with what small advantages she had. Her height for the most part. It was perhaps foolish to step so close to the Sable when he was obviously so wary, but Rosso was not one to be daunted. Still, she had to commend his steadfast determination not to take an automatic step back when she pressed almost flush against him, dragging a long fingernail down the side of his face as his own vermillion eyes flashed a warning. The only one she would receive.

Leaning slightly to the level of his ear she whispered. "Are you concerned that should I be in our Emperor's lap there would be no more room for you?"

By the time she saw the wrathful flare in his eyes it was too late to be considered a second indication of danger. She knew a boundary had been crossed, and not only crossed but scuffed out and desecrated in the process. She knew that even as Oblivion crashed down upon her like a vengeful tidal wave, swallowing her whole, and her senses were snuffed out like a candle. The last flicker of her defiance in the wake of the pitch black torment to come.

When again she could sense, she found herself inside a waking nightmare. A roiling, suffocating and all-encompassing prison decorated with the strange and macabre faces of past victims, twisted beyond all possible recognition. Rosso had never experienced Oblivion before, and what tales were told she simply brushed off as the men who bore witness being simply too weak, as all men were. So painfully and desperately weak. Now she was here amidst the deafening wailing of oceanic black and purple, she felt perhaps she had not credited them as she should have.

The chill returned, crushing her within its icy embrace. It beckoned her to it, demanded of her the thing she held to with her entire being. Her strength. Her defiance. Her will. Slowly, torturously it seized her and forced her to her knees. Worse still, she didn't even know exactly what 'it' was. Only that it was darkness and death and fear. It attached itself to her like a desperate limpet, and all the while Hell's dark angels sang a hymn of discord in her ears. Unearthly and unnatural.

She looked into Oblivion then, albeit unwillingly. Peered into the depths with her own eyes, and came face to face with herself. Not Crimson. Not even red. Just... Rosso, bereft of defences. So long past was this vision. A mere child, but even then she was strong...wasn't she? Oblivion mocked her silent query, screaming her weakness in a way she could not ignore. Through herself.

She was forced to watch with growing terror as her own impossibly broken mind was laid bare before her. Ambition, hope, dream, desire, victory, strength and so much more. Garbled messages and half-written memories. Prompts and snapshots in the photo-album of her life. Oblivion showed her everything she hid from the world. Her secret hopes, her weaknesses, her loves. It was trespassing and it burned. Freezing until she felt her skin and nerves would break from her body rather than endure that cold heat.

She screamed, and Hell's chorus joined her in voicing her agony, fragments of other souls clinging to her. Clawing at the one who was still even close to being whole.

Sinking into herself she almost wept, and would have done had she not been stronger. Mind drawing into itself even as shadow hands pulled it back into the open, bringing free the insecure child beneath the seductive, untouchable goddess. And there it ripped her apart.

Nero counted the seconds in his head as he waited. How long was it now? Ten seconds? More than enough then, he mused, exerting his control in order to bring Oblivion to heel. He didn't want to break his brother's toy too badly beyond repair after all. Slowly, as though lamenting the release of its prey, the writhing smog flooded back to him pooling at his feet obediently save for the rebellious wisps that refused to heed him. Let them be, he didn't care, so long as the majority remained subservient.

When the last vestiges of blackness had retreated, Nero observed his work, huddled and trembling. Wide red eyes fixed unblinking upon the eerily green-tinted floor. Normally pouting lips moved in incomprehensible muttering, and had Nero not spent most of his life being tortured in far worse ways he may have been moved to pity. But he had, and so he wasn't. In his mind and ears Oblivion sang its own praise, crowing at the fallen Valkyrie.

When Rosso finally realised she was free of that horror, she found that she was still unable to move, and that she at last understood in part. She made no effort to stop the welling curtain of saltwater from draining to her cheeks and down, though in reflection she would abhor this brief moment of vulnerability.

"My dear Rosso, are you alright?" Asked the dark Tsviet in poorly-feigned concern. But then, Nero rarely put much effort into feigning anything, least of all concern. When her only reply was a characteristic but oh-so-feeble glare, he smiled triumphantly, thankful for once that the confounded muzzle kept his expression unnervingly passive. He stepped towards her, knelt, and with arms now free from restraint he reached to tip her chin with long and deceptively gentle fingertips. And though his words were softly whispered, tone and stare were dual glaciers. Retribution for the earlier slur paid back a thousand fold.

"Whats wrong, dear Crimson? Afraid of the dark?"