The bath water was set to a decent warmth, not too hot and not too cool. It
was just the way he liked it. Rook settled his pale body into the tub, letting out a
deep sigh. He enjoyed baths a great deal. The warm water enveloped him like a
gentle embrace. It was also the only time he felt he could allow his mind to drift.
Nothing was expected of him here. He closed his ice blue eyes and tried to dispel
his growing sense of apprehension. He had been feeling rather unwell lately.

Opening his eyes, Rook glanced down at the tiled bathroom floor. Just within
an arms stretch sat a basket filled with bath items. Reaching a dripping wet hand
into the basket, he rummaged around until he pulled out an item of interest. A
razor blade. Settling back into the tub, Rook allowed the back of his head to get
wet, wilting the pale tufts of hair.

He held the blade between his fingertips and pressed down at the edges,
causing tiny streams of blood to stain his hands. Rook found himself grinning at an
incredibly absurd idea. What if flesh was nothing more than a biological puzzle?
Threads of skin knotted together made to hold blood and organs. Did that mean
slicing into it solved the puzzle? How stupid, he thought. No puzzle should ever be
so easy to solve. Puzzles made by people who didn't even care about them. Those
kinds of puzzles shouldn't exist. They weren't even fit to be solved. They weren't
fit to be solved by the person who mattered most.

Rook's hands sank into the water. He laid his head upon the back rim of the
tub. He stared blankly into the water as red clouds billowed to the surface. He
lifted up his arms and noted a deep cut running down his left wrist. When had he
done that? There was no pain, nor was there any panic. He just felt tired. Rook
rested the back of his neck against the back of the tub and closed his eyes.

Loud sounds penetrated his dark world of oblivion. At first it sounded like
nonsensical noise, but then he realized they were words. Someone was yelling.
Rook's eyes winced open. He was in a hospital room. He tried to sit up, but found
that both his arms were bound to the bed. A heavy white gauze was wrapped
around his left wrist. The all too familiar clinical atmosphere made him feel sick
and the noise wasn't helping.

The voice was adamant in its outrage. "Can you even fathom the amount of
money and time we've invested in this kid? If we lose him, the POG will find you
personally responsible! I suggest you come to terms with what is at stake here!
Do I make myself clear?" A gentle voice responded. "Yes sir, absolutely clear."
The voices in the distance grew silent. Rook attempted to pull his right arm out
from under the straps when the door opened.

A man clad in dark purple entered the room. It was the submissive speaker,
Bishop. Bishop's placid expression suddenly registered surprise. "Rook-sama,
you're awake." Without waiting for acknowledgment, Bishop raced over to Rook's
side. Rook's throat felt dry and it cracked as he spoke. "What… happened? I can't
remember." Bishop averted his gaze. "I found you unconscious in the bath. Your
wrist was cut very badly."

Rook struggled to remember the moment, but all he could remember was the
warm water suddenly turning red. He wanted to distance himself from that
memory now. He just wanted to get back to work and forget. "Untie me. I would
like to leave here as soon as possible." Bishop appeared even sadder still. "I am
sorry Rook-sama, but I have been given strict orders to not let you out of this
room until you are deemed healthy again."

Rook's hidden eye twitched in agitation. It never mattered how old he got or
how high he ranked in the POG. He was first and foremost, a prisoner. Bishop
continued. "Once you are well enough to leave, I am afraid that I must be present
for your bathes from now on." This invasion of privacy hardly phased Rook. When
he used to live at the research lab, people watched him bathe, undress, and use
the bathroom all the time.

Bishop interrupted his thoughts. "If I may Rook-sama, what happened?" Rook
stared blankly at him before looking down at his bandaged wrist. "I do not know."
The other man took a deep breath before continuing. "It looked as though you
tried to end your life." Rook glanced up at him. "Do you really think I am that
weak?" Bishop responded. "Of course not, I am only pointing out an obvious

Rook sighed heavily. What a pathetic notion." Bishop said nothing. After a long
heavy silence, Rook settled back into his bed. "I am tired…" Bishop offered a quick
bow before striding out of the room. Rook took a deep breath before closing his
eyes. He did not want to die, he just wanted to live.