Some of the many Aus I brainstormed for god knows how long—most of them which are out of this world, some downright weird, and all just for fun. Half of them managed to get completed into full stories. Guess which ones.
Since these are AUs, I've taken more liberty of turning them into OoC…like, whoa, major. They might be plastered original for all I know, but all in good fun, yes?
Oh, yes, and the bible. I used it for my own purposes. A casual warning.
Ryoma deadpanned him with a look. Keigo gave a curt smirk and raised an eyebrow.
"Detention, sensei?" he drawled out, his fingers deftly plucking a cigarette out of the sleek box. "Or would you like one as well?"
Ryoma snorted, his suit blazer whipping in the wind as he clacked his leather boots over to the senior. "A fine weather for a smoke," he said, giving Keigo a pointed look; Keigo raised an eyebrow and his lips curved wider, "Shouldn't you be in class?"
Keigo shrugged. "School president duties," he said carelessly, digging his pockets for a lighter. He gave Ryoma a leering stare. "Going to report me?"
Ryoma rolled his eyes. "Of course I am, Atobe," he said, stopping in front of Keigo; he made sure that his stare was as distasteful as he didn't quite feel, "Office. Now."
Keigo's eyes narrowed, but his face still didn't lose the playful, cruel demeanor. "Really, now," he said lazily, "Sure you don't want to negotiate the terms…..here?" He gave a brief wave of his hand, the one free of smoke and ashes.
Ryoma bit down a small curse. He crouched down and made himself eye-level with the boy.
Keigo looked startled, his eyes flickering over to Ryoma's hazel ones.
Ryoma curved a dry smile. "You could have detention with the principal," he said conversationally, his face inching closer to Keigo's own; Keigo's cigarette was slightly wavering. "And for the record—"
His lips were near Keigo's –just like what happened a few weeks ago, when he was ambushed while thoroughly drunk, hot, searing puffs that tingled pleasantly near his ear, hands that slithered on his waist, Keigo's voice surprisingly desperate as he cornered him against the wall—Keigo sucked in a breath, his eyes alight with excitement.
"—No smoking on school grounds." Ryoma twisted back, Keigo's half-smoked cigarette in his own hand, twirling the soft stick between his index and middle finger.
Keigo let out the breath he was holding. Ryoma stood up, letting Keigo see the flat look on his face.
"Principal's office. Four o' clock. Make sure you're there," he said, and then turned away.
"I can't believe they hired you," Keigo said distastefully, his eyes flickering over his bodyguard's resume and scowling. "What of these past records? There's nothing here! Do you realize—" he gave this Ryoma Echizen one of his infamous deadpanned stares, "—that I'm in the top of every black list known to both organized and secret crime? What can you possibly do that could save my life with your marvelous experience?"
"Shoot a gun," the obnoxious fool drawled out, his eyes unfazed by Keigo's glare. He propped a leg on the coffee table, his boots shining in the bright florescent light. "Or if you want creative ways to kill this guy, I could always catch him alive."
"Guys," Keigo seethed, "Many guys, as you so eloquently put it. As much as your talking amazes me, I strongly doubt you have the necessary skills to back it up."
"You think the agency ripped you off?" Echizen sneered; his eyes were glinting with scorn and cold amusement. He had the right killer eyes, Keigo approved, but eyes along wouldn't catch the target on force. "Just because I choose to leave my resume blank, you go all schoolboy at me. Please. It's better that I leave my shit out."
Keigo's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Now see here—" he began, but was interrupted by a gunshot.
Ryoma smirked, cocking his pistol at the doorway, where one of the servants had been carrying a tray of afternoon tea, complete with apple scones and buttered biscuits. The delicacies all clattered to the floor as the man himself staggered, blood dribbling on this forehead. His eyes rolled up, and he thumped hard on the floor.
Keigo gaped. He whirled around. "What are you doing?" he demanded, furious. "That was my butler you shot!"
Ryoma shrugged and walked over to the man. He lifted the man's face up (Keigo grimaced) and peeled of what seemed to be like fake plaster. A face that was definitely not his butler's was revealed.
Keigo stared and gaped some more.
"Am I hired?" Ryoma asked lightly; his smile turned sharper.
Keigo struggled to compose himself, his throat going dry. He gulped. "Yes, yes," he muttered, raking his hands into his hair, "You're hired."
"You would think royal marriages would have more flair than this," Ryoma sniffed, his tailored suit snapped sharply to his waist, his hazel eyes glancing disdainfully at the gleaming silverwares, shimmering tablecloths, the glittering lights. He crossed his arms, tapping his fingers impatiently.
"I would think that you had too much taste, dear brother," Keigo drawled out, flicking his fine brown hair, "But I know that you like the taverns and brothels, both which lack the fine taste you are so adamantly suggesting now."
Ryoma gave him a dirty look, his lips turning into a sneer. "Brothels," he spat quietly, "Fine time you're bringing them up, now of all times."
Keigo looked amused, but his look quickly subsided when Ryoma's glare was intensified. "Now, now," Keigo said soothingly (his smirk gave away his false sense of comfort), "No need to get flared up. What would father think?"
Ryoma turned, his hands rubbing over his eyes. His look fell flat. "Father," he repeated dryly, and leaned against the white marbled pillar, "What would he think indeed." The pristine color of the marble gleamed behind his back, contrasting with his black hair that made Keigo think of night skies that bore no stars.
Keigo titled his head and gestured. "Come," he said simply, and didn't wait for Ryoma's answer as he swished his garments and sauntered towards a narrow hallway. Ryoma narrowed his eyes but followed.
They didn't speak until they reached the end of what was a twisted corridor, the light dim and far from the lavished atmosphere that they had left behind. The burned mahogany wood walls gleamed roughly under the low light, but Keigo seemed to know his way, leading Ryoma to two doors and another before he stopped.
Ryoma scowled, his eyes suddenly dawning on a new (bitter) understanding. "Horrid timing you have," he said sharply, but didn't move when Keigo lifted a hand to brush out some black locks out of his face.
Keigo quirked a smile. His eyes looked unreadable in the dark room. The shadows merged with his black finery, his silver watch dangling mockingly. Ryoma pressed his lips.
"Don't be difficult," Keigo murmured, and soon he was brushing his lips against Ryoma's cheek, his ear, his mouth…
Ryoma swore and shoved him away. He staggered against the wall, his breath heaving.
Keigo stood there calmly, his posture still intact, his eyes still blank. Ryoma wished that he could read them.
"You have some nerve," he spat out instead, his hand scrubbing furiously at his mouth, "You just think you can do whatever you want—"
"I do, and I can," Keigo said, still composed and still wearing that small smirk; he walked over to Ryoma, his steps slow and measured. Ryoma felt like a cornered animal. "After all," he continued, and Ryoma could see a small glint in his blue eyes now, "I'll be King come tomorrow."
Ryoma sucked in a breath. He choked back a small laugh that was bubbling in his throat. "Of course you are," he gritted out, but Keigo didn't let him continue.
"And I do want you," Keigo said, and his arms trapped him at the sides, the face leaning closer to him; Ryoma could smell a faint trace of lavender, jasmine, and whatnots, "Brother or not."
The kiss was searing; it was almost like a contract. Ryoma raised his hands to maybe fist him, kick him off, but they wounded up clutching Keigo's ruffled shirt instead, gasping and pressing them closer. Small kisses scattered on his neck, each one like the skin of a butterfly, soft and fleeting and fanciful.
"Don't you dare," Ryoma whispered harshly when Keigo opened his mouth to say something; his mouth was bruised, it hurt to speak, "Don't you dare say it."
Keigo smiled and leaned over his ear. Ryoma panicked.
"Don't you dare-!" he snapped.
"Ryoma," Keigo murmured, layered with sick pleasure of breathing it down his neck.
Tezuka was playing on the courts.
"Tezuka's playing on the courts," Atobe drawled out, his sneakers scuffling on cement grounds. Ryoma didn't spare him a glance. He was sitting down on the high bleachers, Ponta in one hand, tennis racket on the other.
"Tezuka-buchou," he automatically corrected, and he could hear Atobe sneer.
"Tezuka-buchou, yes," he said carelessly, not giving the title the respect it deserved. Ryoma shrugged and took another gulp of Ponta. The sizzly drink burned his throat.
"He's not supposed to be the captain," Atobe went on, his nose turned, "He's too stoic. Too much of a prude."
"And you have the balls?" Ryoma countered mildly. Atobe sat down next to him and waved a hand.
"I would be better, true," he said lazily. He turned his head and raised his eyebrow at Ryoma. "But clearly, you don't think so."
"Mmmm. No," Ryoma said, fixing his eyes on the match. Tezuka's play was something that he could never take his eyes off; it was powerful, concise, perfect. Perhaps too flawless.
"Besides, first years don't get the captaincy. Best wait till next year."
Atobe huffed a little and settled his eyes on the game sullenly. "I could beat him," he declared arrogantly.
Ryoma rolled his eyes. "And I could beat you. Your point?"
"You never went against Tezuka. You might win," Atobe said loftily, "If anything, I could make you vice-captain. Although I wouldn't need one, I'm sure you'll have your uses."
That wasn't true. Ryoma had played against Tezuka once: the deep summer approaching, the sweat, the balls, the bitter loss that came after. He had sat there, panting, defeated, glaring at the man—captain—who had just taken his game, something that he had thought for seventeen years that he was good at. Someone was clearly better.
"Why," he had asked Tezuka then, "Why are you still in high school? Someone like you, they could go pro, you know."
Tezuka had regarded him with serious brown eyes, his racket held loosely in his hands.
"This is the pillar I must support," he had responded; his voice was monotone and soft, but it somehow held the posture that Ryoma had never quite managed to achieve, "Someday, you might be able to carry it."
Ryoma let his hands rest behind his head, his Ponta gone and the racket clattered down his feet. "You won't," he remarked, "Beat him, that is."
At that moment, Tezuka paused to grab a towel from the match. His eyes looked up; they met his own. He smirked.
Atobe narrowed his eyes, but Ryoma didn't see that.
Summer was the season they met, fueled with arrogance and disregard.
"Ryoko, let's go," Ann whispered plaintively, "It's okay. He's always like that, I mean, he's from Hyotei, of course he's an ass—"
Ann may be smart, but she really didn't know Ryoko's tennis skills. She could dismiss that as easily as she would dismiss this boy. She smirked and unzipped her duffel bag, aware of all the stares from the blue jersey team, most of all the Monkey Ass himself.
"You're not serious?" the stupid—arrogant, foolish, idiotic—bastard asked. He raised an eyebrow and flicked his hair. Oh, how he reminded her of Ryoga…
"He doesn't go easy on girls," the glasses guy next to him drawled, (fake) lenses glinting in the sunlight, "You best be careful who you challenge. He's one of the top players in this country."
Ann seethed and whirled around, but Ryoko wasn't fazed. She drawled, "Well, good for him. So if he gets wiped out, there's no pathetic excuse, is there?"
The bastard laughed then; his blue eyes glinted like the ocean on a clear day, his face definitely not from a pure Japanese heritage. "Well, well," he said lazily, "You have some guts, don't you? Tell you what—I'll even grace you with a date after this if you lose."
Ryoko sneered. She twirled her racket around her fingers. "I challenge one of the richest boys from Hyotei and I get a date? Your standards are crap."
Those lips curled, but those blue eyes hardened. "Words will only get you so far," he said, gesturing towards the courts with a flourish, "After you."
"Such a gentlemen," Ryoko muttered, and took her position.
Ann looked panicked.
The bastard threw the ball at Ryoko. "You can serve first," he said dismissively, "You'll need all the handicaps you can get." He already looked bored.
She had a flash of memory—of her father, her brother, the same disdain that she had worked so hard to erase; no boy her age would dare see her like that, she was better than him, better than all of them put together—and snapped. He was going down hard.
She scowled and threw the ball up high. She smacked it with all the force she had.
The bastard's sneer disappeared when the ball didn't bounce as he expected, but instead did a smooth roll right up to the baseline.
"You—" he began, but Ryoko was already tossing the ball again.
was over before anyone knew it, and nobody was smiling now.
Those eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "So you do play a bit of tennis after all," he said flatly, "A Zero-Shiki Serve. I'm impressed."
Ann gaped from the sidelines. The boy next to her—Kamio, was it?—fisted his hand up in the air and cheered.
The Monkey Ass served next. He threw the ball and hit it flat—the ball skittered on the court floor right after it bounced off the net—and Ryoko hit it back flawlessly. She couldn't help it—her lips curved. "You should have gotten the handicaps," she drawled, her eyes flickering over to the ball hit across her court, "This is national's standards?"
It was the bastard's turn to scowl, and Ryoko's smirk grew wider. "Too bad," she couldn't help digging, "You really could use the girl excuse now, right?"
The game ended after 30 minutes, 6-3.
Monkey Ass stared at her back, long after she left the courts and shoved her tennis gear into her bag. The blue jersey bastards looked baffled as Ann and Kamio looked.
"You should have told us you played," Ann gawked, "And god! That was some playing! You really showed him!"
Kamio grinned, sneaking a look at the dumbfounded members of the team he hated so adamantly. "You really did show them all!" he cheered, "That felt good!"
Ryoko shrugged, her face back to the impassive expression she was used to. She was about to sling her bag and walk away, when the voice called her again. "Wait."
She turned around. The bastard stood there in all his sweating glory, his eyes now hard and his mouth flat.
She titled her head. "Another match?" she asked loftily, "Want to say that's a fluke?"
He gave her a strained smile. "I know a defeat when I see one," he said steadily; his voice didn't hold the dismissive tone she had heard earlier, "But, yes. Another match might be nice. Perhaps later?" He said it in such a confident tone—who wouldn't have another match with me, another chance to be with me?—that Ryoko felt the need to crush it. Into tiny, squishy pieces.
She rolled her eyes. "That is the worst pick-up line I've heard any guy used," she said, and turned away. She felt blue eyes resting on her back.
"The heavens are pouring today," Ryoma commented, gliding down the silver stairway, his robe shimmering in the pale moonlight, "What ails you?"
Keigo rolled back his shoulders, his own navy robe dripping like the night sky between his knees. He was perched on a white cloud, silently complementing.
"Thinking," he murmured; his voice had the rich texture of waves; water clashing before a rocky cliff, then swerving back to its origins of the deep sea, "Funny, that my credit should go to some deity that humans have created a thousand years back."
Ryoma gave him an indulgent look. "You read the Great Flood?"
"Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible, Moses, yes," Keigo drawled, cringing in distaste, "Honestly, I created the rain, started the flood. And for good reason too, may I add. It was the time of the cycle. Humans. Self-centered to think that they've received punishment because they have sinned with greed."
"Not a sin to want everything," Ryoma agreed causally, draping an arm around Keigo's shoulders; Keigo smirked and grasped it, "It might be even considered a virtue. But again, they are not you."
Keigo sniffed. "I should hope so," he said, "Then their pathetic states would be degraded even lower."
Ryoma laughed; a soft velvety laugh that rippled. The stars whispered and dangled as Ryoma plucked one out and sent it off to another skyline.
"Now you're being harsh," he said. He leaned over and whispered lowly in Keigo's ear, "Not all of them control the seas."
Keigo raised an eyebrow. He lifted his hand; his robe rippled, blending into the dark sky and making the boundaries almost unrecognizable, "Coming from you, that sounds quite trite," he murmured.
Ryoma gave a curt smirk, his lips now lowering down to Keigo's neck. He brushed gently, then let go, letting the chill of winter tingle pleasantly on Keigo's skin.
"I never said that I had the same standards as the rest of them," he said, just as softly.
"And a disappointment that would have been," Keigo deadpanned, but with all good merit; his eyes were bright now, his head twisted to meet those lips halfway.
Below, the waves merged with the starry night sky, forming an ambiguous boundary that went beyond the horizon.
"Toast?" Keigo echoed disbelievingly, "Toast." He looked at Ryoma flatly. "I will not have toast."
Sanada glowered at him from across the table, but Keigo didn't give a hoot; Ryoma turned around and raised an eyebrow. "What then, your majesty?" he asked, bored.
Keigo scowled, his hands barely resting on the table. "I want rice." He flashed his eyes at Sanada when the black-haired man opened his mouth to protest.
"One rice bowl coming up," Ryoma deadpanned, taking out a new rice bowl. Keigo smirked.
Sanada sighed as he sipped his cup of black coffee. "You're spoiling the kid," he said disapprovingly, "He's barely ten and you're waiting on him hand and foot."
"No I don't," Ryoma said automatically, at the same time Keigo retorted, "No he doesn't."
Ryoma turned around and gave him the eyebrow again.
"Well, you don't," Keigo said haughtily, "I asked for those new boots that I saw last week at the store—"
"Which cost $4000, may I add," Ryoma interrupted.
"And I ask for buttered toast for my snack—everyone gets them nowadays, and all I get is—"
"Right, right, I don't spoil you," Ryoma sighed, again focusing his attention to scooping out the rice. Sanada tsked and shook his head.
"I'm going now," he said, standing up and walking over to Ryoma. "Really, it's a good piece of advice. You're spoiling him a bit too much."
Ryoma rolled his eyes. "Right, whatever," he grouched, waving a hand at him, "Go. Give more advice to people who'd ignore you."
Sanada gave a brief smile and patted Ryoma's head. He nodded briefly to Keigo and went out, his feet padding softly on the wooden floor and closing the front door behind him.
"I don't like him," Keigo said immediately after Sanada left.
"And he doesn't like you," Ryoma drawled out, pushing the hot-steaming rice bowl in front of the boy, "Isn't that nice? You two are built on mutual disregard for one another."
Keigo scowled. He picked up his chopsticks and poked at the fish.
"He's not even your boyfriend," Keigo said, as if the word was vulgar, "What's he doing here?"
"Apparently, trying to keep you in check," Ryoma said, "But more for the coffee."
Keigo sniffed. "I'm not spoiled," he muttered,
Ryoma flicked Keigo's forehead. "Yes you are," he said cheerfully, "Say that again, and you could take the school bus from now on."
Keigo ate his meal silently and sullenly.
"The contract," Ryoma said quietly, his hands feeling the curse (a sin?) now engraved on his hand, "What is it sealed with?"
The devil smiled, a brief twitch of those red lips. His blue eyes glittered strangely in the dark room where the only light came from the fireplace: as the fire crackled its last flames, the devil gave a snap of his fingers, and the fire roared back to life again. Those eyes changed—fleetingly, to a shade of ash, light grey speckled with death.
"Your soul," the devil now purred; it had a deep voice, soft and silky. It was almost an irony, Ryoma could see; the devil gave false hopes of dreams and ideals and plunged those desires back to the hellfire it came from.
"A hell's fire of eternity with me," the devil continued, his voice growing amused by the minute. He extended out a fine manicured hand, pale white and glowing, perhaps because of the fire. He crouched next to him; Ryoma shivered inwardly. "But petty a price, no? For something you desire."
"Desire?" Ryoma repeated, his eyes blinking up to look at him. The mouth smirked at him.
"Whatever you wish," the voice whispered lowly; the hand came up to cup his chin. Cold fingertips skimmed his skin; Ryoma gave a small flinch and blood-red lips curved wider, "Except for raising the dead. That not even God himself can do."
Ryoma let out a small laugh despite himself. "So there is a God," he muttered, his eyes crazed now, his fingers aching and bleeding, his body worn and torn. He twisted around and wheezed out another snicker. "A God."
"A mellow fellow, I must admit," the devil continued, not releasing Ryoma's face; the fingers were now exploring his eyes, carefully tracing his eyelids. Ryoma had the feeling the devil would rip his eyeballs out. For fun, of course.
"But, yes, there is a God. Your people did not get that fact wrong," the devil continued, his voice pleasant, deep, intoxicating. He gave Ryoma a lazy smile now. "So, what will it be?"
Ryoma's mouth lifted up. It was strained, possibly because he hadn't smiled for many months. "What is your name?" he asked, "Tell me your name, and the contract will be sealed."
The devil raised an eyebrow. "I have no use for names," he murmured, "Those labels are only attached to humans who want a false sense of identity. Devils have no such delusions."
The fire was going out again. Any moment now, they would be here, up in this cold room, and they would kill him and slice him into pieces, hang his liver to be salted and ripped apart by hounds.
But he could wait.
He smirked, clutching the fabric of the devil's cuffs to straighten himself up; the devil cringed but didn't voice out his complaints as he surveyed Ryoma with an false pretense of a disinterested eye.
"You make this sound like a bargain," Ryoma whispered, his voice scratchy and sore from not speaking for so long, "But I sell my soul for eternity. I become yours until the end of time. For one of my desires? You already know what my wish is, devil." Ryoma's smirk grew wider when the devil narrowed his eyes, clearly thrown off-guard. Those eyes took on a semi-impressed look.
"A bargain," he said; footsteps were coming closer now, "Tell me your name, and I'll sign your contract."
The devil smirked, running his hand through his locks of brown hair, ashen with grey. "Well, well," The devil drawled out, his eyes amused. Those hands finally left his face, and the devil now tapped a finger thoughtfully to his mouth. "Interesting."
The door to his prison opened abruptly, just as the devil whispered his namesake, his voice sweet and dead, like a presence of a pile of rotten corpses left to decay.
"Atobe Keigo. Now will you seal the contract?"
God's temple may be the place of prayer and salvation at day; by night it was only eerie, reeking of death just like any other sanctuary.
"Ah, Pope Echizen," one of the clothed bishops murmured, his voice low and quiet. The last of the candles have been flickered out, the flames licking out the last of the darkness as they too, were absorbed by the deep forbidding of the dark church.
"Cardinal," Ryoma replied, his head bent low, his cloak dark and unrecognizable in shape, "What are you doing out at this hour?"
"The lights," the hooded man said, bowing and letting his robe slither down, "The final of the mass preparations are ready now."
"Good," Ryoma said, quite distracted in his voice. He clutched his robe tighter.
"And you, Pope? Tomorrow's the first of Mass; shouldn't you need your rest?" inquired the bishop. His bow was subservient and low, not asking for the question itself but merely for concern of tomorrow's Mass. Nevertheless, Ryoma's neck prickled unpleasantly.
"I couldn't sleep," Ryoma said curtly, shaking his bright lantern as an indication. The eerie glow inside the glass jar shimmered a golden heat, engulfing the darkness and becoming the only source of light for quite far, now that the last of the church's lights had gone out. The bishop bowed again.
"A walk?" he asked.
"Yes," Ryoma said, and turned. He was signaling the end of the conversation. "Good night, Bishop. May God bless you."
"And you," the bishop murmured, his shadow retreating to the church's dorms, swallowed by black darkness.
Ryoma watched him leave from the corner of his eye, and as soon as the bishop did, he quickly swished his robes and glided out of the church and into the cool night air. He drew in a small breath and the frost made small puffs out of his mouth; he clutched his lantern tightly.
He didn't pause until he was out of the church's gates. It was dangerous at this time of night, when barbarians might run about, or a small skirmish from a neighboring country; after all, all wars started from church grounds, as France had proved more than one time. But Ryoma didn't stop until he was well out of the gates, and into the adjoined forest that led to the city after a few days by horse.
"But the barbarians are the worst of our fears, dear successor," his mentor and the last Pope had whispered into his ear, when he was almost sleep from the warm fire, safe and sound in the church's thick walls, "I myself have not seen this, and neither has my teacher before me, but there are creatures. Far worse than what we could imagine to be…"
The voice had trailed off then, and Ryoma heeded the warning. It was the same warning that led him out at night the first time, and now this time as well.
"You're late," the darkness suddenly said to him; Ryoma refrained from jumping back (the darkness would be awfully amused), "I waited a hour, perhaps more." A dark shadow descended upon the trees.
"It's the time of year," Ryoma said curtly, composing himself, "Mass is tomorrow."
"Ah." Ryoma held up his lantern a bit higher, and he was rewarded when the tall, looming figure stepped out of the shadows. The man was quite tall, at least a head higher than Ryoma, and his angular face was handsome without flaws. His elegant fingers curled on his arms, bony, long digits grasping the silk fabric he was wearing proudly, fastened with a silver brooch just at the base of his throat. The merchants and nobles from the city had no such finery compared to this man.
But the man's face was also white and pale, his eyes gleaming a strange color of deep blue, tinted with streaks of grey. His hair was dipped with la light rusty brown color speckled with a fine charcoal color that was not seen by the poor light of the night. But what were strange were his lips. They were full and eager, too red, too bloody…
"Ah," the figure repeated, his fingers now aping his chin thoughtfully, "I supposed that can be overlooked then. Pope." He curled a small smirk and leaned, his eyes dancing madly.
"Flattered," Ryoma said dryly. The title of his rank had been used mockingly; any man less than him would bristle and call out it was an act of mockery in the name of God and his church; they would rise, and they would fight….and perhaps die a bloody death.
But he was not such of those fools who would die because of his dignity.
"A bishop passed by earlier," the voice continued on, its lazy drawl sending chills down Ryoma's spine, "Carrying some garlic and a cross. Does he know?"
"Fragments," Ryoma said, feigning his voice to a bored tone, "But surely you would expect that? As someone who's been around for centuries of rumors, he wouldn't have been the first."
"Nor the last," the man said, a playful breath whispered in a small intake of breath. He turned and touched a strand of his brown hair. "Rumors don't cease, holy servant. Particularly when rumors are about someone as dashing as I am."
"I see we've become modest," Ryoma muttered. He walked brisk steps until his toes brushed against the man's clad leather boots, planted firmly in the murky soil. His robe was sullied already at the hems by the wet soil.
"As modest as my being is seemed worthy," the man said lazily, but tilted his head when Ryoma didn't reply, yanking off his hood instead. Locks of rich black hair fell out in disarray; Ryoma shook his head once in irritation.
"Quite busy today, are we?" the man asked pleasantly. He brushed off dust settling on Ryoma's dark cloak with his nimble hand; Ryoma couldn't help it this time. He flinched and took a step back.
"And edgy," the voice taunted, cruel, but the eyes flickered a brief feeling of anger and hurt. Ryoma mentally cursed and straightened up.
"Just cold," he muttered, dragging the folds of the navy tighter around him as if to emphasize the chill. The man hmmmed but didn't reply to that.
"Well?" Ryoma asked him, after the man didn't move for some time, "Aren't you going to eat?" He impatiently tore free of his high collar and exposed a side of his neck, bare and white, tilting his head to the silent silhouette. "I haven't got all night."
"You can't rush things," the voice came again; a soft purr. The figure glided over to him and held him by arm's length, one hand sneaking around his waist to lean him over. Ryoma kept silent. "Particular not in a light like this. Why, it's a full moon tonight."
Ryoma sneered. "Are werewolves your second cousin, vampire?"
The man looked startled for a moment, than flung back another sharp smile, all teeth gleaming white.
"Funny, that shouldn't have thrown me off guard as I expected," the man said thoughtfully, His eyes trained on Ryoma's face, flat and the very image of nonchalance.
"Are every one of your kind this talkative when they feed?" Ryoma asked, raising an eyebrow, "What should I call you then? Keigo?"
The name that was spoken to him—whispered, on a cold Christmas evening many ages ago, when he had been lost in the forest, picking some tinsels for the church, when a voice whispered out to him, biting through the bitter wind, child, what are you doing here? And he had turned around and saw an ageless man, whom had a sharp smile and sharp eyes and very sharp hands, whispering, the next time we meet, you could whisper the name that I bear, and the name is—
"Keigo," mused the vampire now, "It's been a long time since you have said it." His smile now wasn't as cold when he looked down and leaned over, touching his lips with Ryoma's own gently before peeling away. "It doesn't revolt me. I would like to hear it more often."
Ryoma repeated the name despite himself, and Keigo smiled again. He nuzzled against Ryoma's ear for a minute before trailing lower, his mouth slightly ajar.
Ryoma grimaced as sharp teeth sank into him.
"Alright?" the voice rang, low.
"Yes, yes," Ryoma hissed. (No, it hurt, just like it always did.) "Hurry, just….it's alright." His hands scrabbled to grasp the vampire's arms for support.
The man chuckled, and the laughter sent shivers down Ryoma's spine. The ripples vibrated through his bloodstream.
"Such a rush, dear boy," the voice rumbled, but by this time Ryoma was a too dazed from the loss of blood to retort back a remark.
He was held captive in a room.
It was a strange room. Dark shades hung about the wide windows so that no light seeped through; the bed was made of the finest velvet (considering the owner's tastes, he had no doubt of it); the walls were plastered with sheer white—he had dented them once, and when he had woken up, the walls were replaced with no marks to speak of—and were swirled with silver patterns.; the floor was covered with lush carpets, soft when he scuffled his feet about. It was a grand room, but it was also his world.
The handle turned, the door opened. A man stepped in.
He eyed the man in distaste. Once, when time had meant something to him, he had hated this man standing before him with a burning passion, crisped well and roasted to fervor. He had thrown whatever he could have gotten his hands on at the figure: clocks, chairs, and once, a small bedside dresser, carved in its elegance and meeting its cruel fate flung against the wall. He had gotten drugged for his troubles, and what the man did to him while he had been drugged—well, that wasn't any of his business. It used to be.
Then once, long ago still, he might have remembered this man's name. Once, just as longer still, he might have loved him, liked him, could have smiled at the sight of him.
But he was past such a stage now; the past failed to raise anything out of him now but a mere twinge of emotions.
Now, he felt nothing, not when the man stepped in front of him, picked up his breakfast tray, and looked over at him.
"Your breakfast hasn't been touched," the man said pleasantly, "Should you prefer something else?"
He didn't answer; he didn't see how it was fit, not when he hadn't answered for a long time.
"Eggs, perhaps?" the man continued, "Or rice and fish. You're fond of them. I'll ring the maids, then." He let his hand come up and brush a strand of his hair; those fingers were soft and careful. He didn't flinch, not like he used to, in the early days when he believed both of them insane.
"Ryoma," the man now promoted, his hand still tucking in another strand of his hair, "Ryoma. You still can speak, can't you?"
He didn't see how he could answer, when he had lost his voice cords and it was Keigo who tore them away from him.
Atobe flicked his hair damn too much. Ryoma wished he wouldn't do that.
"You're losing badly," Atobe said, twirling his racket in his insufferable manner, "Perhaps I was right to consider Hiyoshi for the captain's position after all."
Despite himself, Ryoma couldn't help but let out a sneer. "You're not the one giving out the final approval," he pointed out testily, testing the grip on his racket, "Coach is." Asshole, he added in his mind.
Atobe, being the insane maniac he was with all his Insight, of course would know what was going through his mind. "Respect, Echizen," he drawled out, pulling out another ball; he bounced it, ready to serve another one of those annoying serves that wouldn't bounce (damn it, he made that move, and that bastard had the nerve to use it for his serve), "I still have the captaincy for another two months."
"It's pretty hard to give you respect when you serve a move made by yours truly," he muttered, and heard a short laughter ringing across the courts.
"Yes, yes, aren't you the inspiring muse for my tennis," Atobe said mockingly. He threw the ball and slammed it against the frame of his racket.
Damn, that serve was always fast. He glared helplessly as the ball skittered roughly against the courts and bounced, once, teasingly on the baseline.
"I must say, your play is off than usual," Atobe threw, "Not that you were any good before, but I'm afraid you just grow worse by the day." Those blue eyes took a searching look. "Something occupying you?"
Very subtle. Ryoma rolled his eyes, and swung his racket into thin air.
"No," he said, a bit curtly, "Nothing at all."
The proposal Tezuka made to him—"Seigaku might be good for you," Tezuka had said, his brown eyes still and serious, nothing like the cool and dismissing blue eyes Ryoma knew so well from hours of endless mockery, "Better than Hyotei. I've seen you play, Echizen Ryoma. I believe," he chose his words carefully, plucking each word with a meaningful skill, "your talents are wasted there. It won't shine amidst two hundred tennis players. You won't gain much from that."—was ringing in his ears. It was on his mind day and night, as the Nationals ended and the trees shed their leaves, as he played Atobe, thinking.
He didn't notice Atobe looking back, and those blue eyes blinking once, then twice, knowingly.
Tell me which ones you liked most and I'll post the full story for them…someday.
Unless you go lucky and pick the ones already finished :)