Peripeteia

"That's an order."

What, my Lord? No thought or word spared for one as wounded as I?

"Stay behind, keep Minako safe."

Guard your precious treasure. I have no desire to do so however by your command I will obey.

Kagetora hesitated, "take-"

Like a kicked animal, he waited with abated breath for the palliative to come.

"-care of her." In the sliver of Kagetora's eyes that he glimpsed before his Lord turned completely away, the harshness had melted.

The bitterness was kept well-hidden beneath the implacable mask.

"As you command." The words were hollow. Without sincerity behind them. But, his master trusted him because it was an 'order.' A loyal dog could not disobey its master's call. Not one so well-trained as he. No harm would befall his Lord's 'refuge' from the darkness and death of the yami-sengoku.

..sending me away from your side.

Pity from Haruie who knew well enough the significance of this one task.

..haven't I always been the most faithful?

Irobe touched him lightly on the shoulder in passing. "Don't overdo it. Remember, you haven't fully recovered yet." The words themselves were meaningless. He could've been beaten beyond mortal limit and still he would've dragged himself out of hell itself to be at Kagetora's side.

Why...

The question echoed long in his mind, his gaze locked on the last place he had seen Kagetora standing.

..can't I be your refuge?

~-~MOB~-~~-~MOB~-~~-~MOB~-~

The small cabin was smothered in darkness. The aberrant flames crackling in the tinder within the hearth were not of this world. The fitful flashes illuminated the cast members. Survivors spared the destruction. The man's cotton shirt open to expose his long, lean torso, sweat stood out on his upper lip and his hair hung unkempt around his ears. The young woman in a long skirt and long-sleeved blouse recoiled from the look in his eyes.

"Please...you're not the kind of man that would do something like this!" her voice held a note of pleading. He relished the sense of superiority her fear gave him. Why couldn't his Lord see that the woman was human, fragile, not meant to be a part of their world?

"This is who I am.." the words came out slowly, reassuringly as if to remind himself that there was no going back. No changing the order he had abided by. In the end...the comfortably furnished living room faded, all that remained was him and the woman whom had stolen everything from him.

Yes...that's right. The body lying stretched full-length before the mantel wasn't the one he loved most dearly in the world. "Cry for him all you want..he'll never come."

Her gasp broke the still, close air.

Outside the raging storm could've been a thousand miles in the distance.

They were in their own little world.

A world made of glass. His eyes used to staring into the darkness, narrowed on her trembling female form and parted lips. Flowing brunette tresses became midnight black trailing to dust kimono clad shoulders. The mouth at once frightened transformed into a soft sneer under his intense gaze. The man's heart leapt. Kagetora!

"No please-!" The cry had lost its female cadence.

My Kagetora.. he closed the distance between them, his arms forming a cage, palms pressed against the cold wall. There's no escape for you. That woman that captured your heart... she will interfere no longer. Once I show you...the depth of my love then you'll realize you're mine..

"I love you." Nobutsuna Naoe whispered fervently before crushing his lips against Minako's.

For all eternity.

-Finis-

Note: I took some liberties with the events of what happened thirty years past in the MoB world. Some of it is from the TV series ep.11 and some is merely conjecture.

Kudos to Lady Nara whose reply gave me the idea to write this piece, also to Haruna whose enthusiasm and thing about Naoe staying behind to guard Minako contributed to the making. ^^ dedicated to the members of The Mirage of Blaze community. All rights belong to the wonderful Kuwabara-sensei for giving us a peek into the MoB world!

Thanks for taking a look! ^^