Title - A Thousand And One Broken Bodies
Disclaimer - Minekura owns this, not me.
Rating - FRM for violent themes
Characters/Pairing - Kanan/Gonou (past), Kanan point of view, Chin Yisou
Timeline/Spoilers - set within Kanan's imprisonment
Warning - mentions of torture and rape
Summary - Kanan refuses to give in
Author's Note- this was written for the remixers_lounge for the story Scheherazade - or - A thousand and one youkai by Red_Squared (on archive of our own). I thought it had a really interesting alternative idea for how things went for Kanan. Thanks to Evil_little_dog for the beta.
"If he can save you, then he can have you." The youkai's oily words slithered over her mind, but Kanan didn't let him know they have any affect at all. His smirk faltered just a bit but the intensity of his gaze increased.
Kanan hated knowing she sparked this monster's interest, but the torturous lengthy stretch of her confinement in his father's castle had proven that fact too well. Chin Yisou's dark eyes swept over her, not for the first time. He was like a pig digging for truffles, trying to root around in her heart to see what the idea of her brother, her lover, would have to face if Gonou wanted to rescue her.
Kanan thought about the God the nuns in the orphanage had tried to make her believe in and considered that He might protect her brother. That's what the nuns would have told her, at any rate. Kanan didn't really believe it. She didn't believe in God. If He existed, she and her brother wouldn't have been separated for large chunks of their lives. If He existed, she wouldn't be here now, carrying a monster in her womb.
When she thought about her brother, Kanan beamed. That serene smile was the only thing Yisou would get from her. Kanan knew Gonou would come for her. She felt it in her heart. A thousand youkai, two thousand, it wouldn't matter. Her brother would cut them down and she would walk out of this place over their broken corpses.
Obviously frustrated over his inability to rattle her, Yisou turned from her, and headed for the door. In many ways it was better to keep him where she could see him. He was dangerous. She could tell that much but here, by her side, knowing he couldn't hurt her without hurting the child she carried, she felt just a little safer than having him off hunting her brother. "Going already? I have a riddle I made up, just for you." Her smile broadened, still cold as her cell.
Snagging his interest, Kanan told him a riddle that technically she had learned as a girl but what would he know? It didn't quite seem to work. She could tell he thought she was terrified of him, trying to appease him, and if that's what he thought, if it kept him away from Gonou, then Kanan was content to let him think it. She would have to try something else to keep Yisou's attention, especially after his smarmy remarks about her getting eaten. Unless the lord of the castle was more depraved than she thought, killing and eating her would wait until she brought a half demon child of rape into the world. Of course she could be wrong about that. The child might be an embarrassment to the clan.
"Perhaps talking about myself like this is boring. How rude of me." She laughed, just to see if she could knock him off kilter, "Tell me something about yourself, then."
These words had the effect she hoped for. He paused then brought over a chair. "Do you like dolls?"
Kanan slipped. She let her shock show. She would never have pegged a grown man for liking dolls. She hated them, with their dead eyes and frozen smiles. As a girl she couldn't sleep if there was a doll in the room. She would have to get up and turn the doll until it faced the wall. It was the only way to get any rest. She lied and told him that she found dolls fascinating. That untruth had the affect she was hoping for. She had hooked Yisou's attention.
It had become their ritual. Yisou had reconstructed part of his workshop in her cage so they could talk. His dolls were finely made but still dead eyed. It made them ugly to her. Kanan shuddered as she listened to the scrape of sandpaper over wood. The air in the castle was positively gelid. She would have thought having so much wood around would give the cell an inherent warmth but that was absent in her fetid dungeon.
Yisou hadn't spoken to her for a while. He was probably hoping she would break the silence and ask about her brother. One of his messengers –for surely they had to be his – had come to her with a hank of dark hair, matted with blood and brain and tried to tell her it was Gonou's. Kanan knew better. Her brother was alive and every step brought him closer to this castle.
"So this lover of yours is your brother as well," Yisou said, barely looking up from his work.
Kanan didn't answer him and he speculated out loud on how she and Gonou might look alike. They didn't really, not much. She felt sick and knew Yisou would delight in her misery. Kanan had hoped they would never learn of that relationship, not that it mattered now. Her belly knotted and churned. Was it this lurid conjecture or the baby causing the nausea? She couldn't tell, but her hand fell to rest on her stomach anyway. Yisou and the thing growing inside of her made her equally sick.
"And when he arrives? What will he do then, do you think?" Yisou asked once he ran out of things to say about Gonou and her relationship. His hands worked absently on the wooden doll but his eyes were for her only.
"Probably only one thing," she said, trying to imagine it. If she concentrated hard, she could see Gonou tearing Yisou apart. Her smile wavered just a bit when the doll maker suggested that Gonou had forgotten her and found another lover.
The doll catching her attention, Kanan hoped Yisou couldn't read anything in her eyes. She realized, horrified, that this was yet another doll with her face. It was at least the fourth such doll. The others had ended up in the fire, too imperfect. The words almost hit their mark. It would be the easy for Gonou to do: to forget her, give her up for lost and move on. Kanan was sure he wouldn't do that. She was confident in him and the only answer she would give Yisou was that Gonou was coming for her. Finally, Yisou tired of trying to make her see Gonou wasn't coming. It wouldn't last. They would play this game again and she would not waver.
Gonou would come for her. Yisou would die.
Her throat ached, throbbing with each beat of her heart. Her jaw echoed that pain, stretched around the gag Yisou had shoved into it. Kanan could barely whimper, barely cling to consciousness after what he had done to her today. He was a poor loser and that was definitely what Yisou and his clan were: losers.
"So you heard how my father was killed," he rasped, the disbelief ripe in his voice.
She wanted to cheer, to grin widely but the gag kept her from it. She had won. Gonou had finally found her. It proved to be a fleeting, erroneous thought. Kanan had underestimated Yisou's insidiousness. He forced her to watch the most horrible scene yanked straight from a nightmare, and there was nothing she could do with her ruined voice to warn her brother, to alert him he was being lured into a trap.
Now she understood why Yisou had worked on his dolls while talking to her. He had perfected her. Even Kanan couldn't tell the damnable doll in the cell wasn't actually her. Weary, as if every bone in his body had turned to lead, Gonou dragged up to the cell and the doll. In spite of the distance, Kanan could see the gore covering her brother's face and heard the anguish in his voice as the doll plunged a dagger into itself.
Kanan tried not to hear the soul-rending shriek echoing out of her brother's throat, tried to look away, but Yisou wouldn't let her turn her head. Kanan stared past her brother, to the cold stone of the dungeon. It was over. She had lost. Now, Gonou would leave. He would believe he had lost, that he had nothing left.
Smirking triumphantly, Yisou pulled her gag aside. His lips crushed against hers and her stomach almost rebelled. She didn't have the strength left to fight him off.
"I have one more thing to attend to, and then I shall come back for you," he promised.
She squeezed defiant words past her parched throat. ""How many of you has he killed to get this far? Do you think he won't kill you, too?"
Yisou went to prove to her he had nothing to fear, heading off to fight Gonou. Kanan could do nothing but watch. All her hopes were dashed. Rescue wasn't coming. Lying on the cold stone floor, waiting for Yisou to return or die at her brother's hands, Kanan knew now she would have to formulate a new plan of escape. She wasn't completely defeated yet.
As long as she lived, she would not give in.