The General's Prisoner

This is a short hurt-comfort story in five parts, concentrating on Zero and Kaname and their relationship. It is an experiment of depicting characters who must deal maturely with a terrible past. Reader discretion advised.

~{}~ signifies a change in time or perspective

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, these awesome characters do not belong to me in any way. They belong to Matsuri Hino, I just love to use them over and over in my twisted stories... ;)

Summary: General Zero Kiryu has changed the face of the world, scouring it of the vampire race. Emotionally scarred by years of war and revenge upon all vampires, he nears completion of his life's work when finally the last pureblood is brought before him for judgement. What will his verdict be, when this pureblood is none other than Kaname Kuran, an old enemy from a time long gone?

Rated M: implied non-con & violence, emotional M/M lemon (if you're not into M/M, do not read)

AN: Thank you so much for your sweet reviews.

This story was, in fact, inspired by Sagakure's Wasteland - though the images in my mind quickly rearranged into a different story. ^^

While writing 'Unexpectedly Close To The Edge' where I wanted to go for a multitude of character development and complexity of plot, I started writing this with a different intention. Instead of 'Beautiful Things Of Decay' where I just went for sweet PWP, in this story I am aiming for a more subtle and focused character development using less words. I still think the anime provides a lot of character depth and I was just exploring how things might turn out when they age another 150 years and all youthful traits have matured through hard times of war.

So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy, and feel free to let me know what you think.

Part II: Servitude

The pureblood woke three days later, almost fully healed. Carefully taking in his surroundings, he tried to recall how he'd gotten where he was. Slowly, his mind pieced together hours of torture at the hands of those who had found him. The party of hunters who had tracked his steps for more than three weeks woke unpleasant memories as he remembered their delight at finding a pureblood helplessly at their whim.

Humiliated and defiled, they kept him bound naked and emotionally on edge, refusing him warmth, sleep and food, while punching him, letting him bleed unnecessarily and raping him when they felt like it. All of that was horrible as it was, but it wasn't what had his will crumble.

Out of sport, they had interrogated him, force-feeding him hunter potions that ensured that he couldn't lie. It wasn't the secrets relevant to the outcome of this war that they were interested in. Knowing it was a lost cause anyway, Kaname would not have felt bad about having to tell some of those... no - they were interested in his personal weaknesses.

Shamelessly exploiting his vulnerability, those hunters had broken seals in his mind he hadn't even known he had. Utterly drunk after celebrating their victory, they had played a sick version of 'truth or dare' - where the one chosen by the bottle could decide to either ask the prisoner the most humiliating question or force him to do the most humiliating act he could think of. Preferably both...

To his utter shame, the potions had forced him to honestly answer every question they asked and, of course, he had had no means to refuse to accommodate every sick wish they had. He had blacked out a few times, weakened by charms and pain. After that, he remembered finding himself bound and naked waiting for his final verdict, with his judge none other than the famous general Zero Kiryu.

And he had been shocked at what he'd seen. To face him again, after all these years he had expected no mercy from the hunter he had scorned so long ago. But fate was strange and had perhaps smiled upon him. He had expected a slow and painful death. But the hunter had offered another option. It remained to be seen how much better it would be.

His capture marked the end of a long brutal war. Out of weakness - shameful and inexcusable weakness - he, Kaname Kuran, revered pureblood and one of the most powerful vampires that had ever lived, had yielded to the General of Hunters. Because he feared pain. It was unacceptable, but he had chosen to serve the man he had taken advantage of so long ago. Now, his power was sealed and he was no more the powerful creature he had once been. He wasn't anyone special anymore. He was a servant, a slave to the great Zero Kiryu. He could only hope that the hunter had not lied about not caring for violence.

The hunter washed him... The pureblood hoped that it was a good thing, that it was a sign that he wouldn't only suffer. But he could not know for certain. Cautiously, Kaname looked around. His eyes roamed a ceiling. Hadn't he been in a tent? he wondered. He recalled being washed and laid to rest - but now he had woken up somewhere else. It was a bedroom.

"I see your awake." Kiryu's voice startled him. It was so close to his ear. His face snapped toward the voice and he stared. The hunter lay next to him quietly gazing at the ceiling, his bare chest slowly rising and falling in the steady rhythm of his breath. The rest of the hunter's body disappeared beneath the blanket they shared.

"Kiryu-sama...?" he asked nervously. He didn't know what was expected of him. He, of course, had no idea how he was supposed to behave as a servant. Naturally, he had had many servants himself. But vampire customs were unlike hunter customs. And the fact that they were both lying in the same bed under the same blanket was most disconcerting. He resigned himself to what - in his mind - would inevitably follow.

But the hunter didn't move. He just lay there next to his servant and stared at the ceiling. After a long silence he spoke.

"I cannot remember the last time anyone called me by my first name. When we are in private, I would like you to call me Zero."

"Yes, Zero-sama." Kaname answered dutifully.

"Have you healed?" he asked.

"Yes, Zero-sama. Almost entirely." Kaname said quietly. Now that the hunter had returned from his reverie, the pureblood braced himself for groping hands and forced pleasure. Again, there was a long moment of silence in which Kaname was certain that his heartbeat was loud enough to echo across the walls. He didn't dare to look at his new master again - not knowing the proper etiquette was driving him mad. Instead, he unobtrusively surveyed the room, noting the small details that led Kaname to believe it was his master's own bedroom. There was little decor to enhance the room, but it was intended to be a sizeable and ornate bedroom. Still, there were few personal items to speak of anywhere.

"Kaname." The pureblood flinched. Though the voice was actually quiet and unthreatening, Kaname was uncharacteristically jumpy. He was just unused to being almost fully alert anymore and so every color seemed bright and every sound seemed loud and overbearing.

"I realize this is new to you." the hunter began. "It is new to me also. I have never kept a vampire servant."

He sighed.

"They expect me to keep you as a slave for my pleasure, erasing your name from memory, raping you as I please and breaking your will until there is nothing left of you but a broken corpse. Perhaps if we had met fifty years ago, I would have complied with those expectations. But now I have no more interest in delivering pain. I have seen too much of it dealt and I have fought too long to indulge in my hatred anymore. I am too old for that now."

There was a short pause before the hunter continued.

"You can keep your name and I will continue to call you Kaname, here in private. I am sure you have realized already that I lied to the others about the charm. I have only bound a certain amount of your power to myself. Your speed and sensory perception are untouched, as are your healing abilities. It isn't merely out of generosity, but rather I believe you will be more useful to me that way. The binding of your powers ensures that you cannot harm me intentionally. Disobeying me in any other way would result in serious pain for you, which I believe is not in your interest. You are a servant now and pose no threat. Therefore I see no point in crippling your usefulness."

"Thank you for your kindness, Zero-sama." Kaname whispered, though the words barely passed his vocal chords. Hearing so bluntly that he was worth little more than the dirt below the hunter's feet, was difficult to accept for the once so haughty and powerful pureblood.

At that, the hunter turned and faced the pureblood. Kaname tried to return the look unflinching. The lilac eyes gazed at him hard. Years of commanding soldiers showed in the cold look and Kaname's will wavered. Perhaps he had misjudged the hunter. Perhaps he would be cruel... As a pureblood he had never wavered at a contest of staring his opponent down. But that was the past. He was no longer in command.

Zero Kiryu was.

The general's gaze locked with his, refusing to release him and left no room for doubt about the honesty of the words that followed.

"Perhaps I am being kind to you. But make no mistake about this, Kaname. I am a man of war. If you disobey me, I will punish you. I have lost too much to become overly attached. If I deem you unworthy of my protection, I will hand you to my subordinates without second thought. You have met a few rascals among them, but trust me, there are others that are actually skilled at what they do. A handpicked selection of my followers are known for their skill in the art of delivering pain. They managed to drag out Sato's death for almost twenty years. And I guarantee you there wasn't a minute in those twenty years that he didn't feel pain. I do not tolerate disobedience in my soldiers. I will tolerate your disobedience even less. Do I make myself clear?"

Kaname nodded quickly and swallowed heavily.

"Yes, Zero-sama."

"Good." With that, the matter was apparently resolved. The fierce lilac eyes released their hold on him and Kaname sank deeply into the soft mattress, letting out a breath he hadn't known he'd held. Zero turned onto his back, facing the ceiling again before he continued in a quiet voice.

"You are most likely unaware of what it expected of you. You are a pureblood, so I know I have to say things only once for you to understand and follow them. It is fairly simple, and I might have trusted you to find out for yourself, but your lack of knowledge would only earn you punishment in public and a commotion for me. It is therefore undesirable for both of us."

"I suppose you have never had your powers bound. Not only are you not able to use the powers you don't have access to, but by binding your powers I ensured that you cannot leave me. If we part for a certain distance, you will feel pain and as of a certain range you will be forced to follow me involuntarily, preventing you from excruciating agony. Therefore, you will accompany me wherever I go."

"I understand, Zero-sama." Kaname whispered.

"In public, you are expected to walk a step behind me with your head bowed. You will not speak unless spoken to by me and me only. After I am seated, you will kneel beside me to my left. You will not touch me and will not move or make a sound until I get up again. Though you will be expected to wear nothing but a small cloth for decency, I will be the one to decide upon your attire as I see fit."

"I will not lie - to keep up my reputation, I will be less kind to you in public. But I am generally not known for cruelty. They will accept my lenience to a certain extent."

Kaname nodded. He had hoped for something along that line.

"I understand, Zero-sama."

"In private, you would be expected to be chained to my bed with your legs spread to serve me. If anyone ever asks, I might pretend that it is so. But as I said that holds little appeal to me. Instead, I expect you to accommodate me as a manservant would. You will prepare my meals and keep everything clean during the time I am home. I am sure your speed will be of good use to you as I will not linger for you to finish your chores. I have a maid in this house who is now becoming near-sighted and very old. She has served me for over 55 years. You will learn everything she has to teach and you will respectfully call her Imada-sama. She is human and does not know you are a vampire - keep it so. I told her you were not soldier material but that I had saved your family from a vampire attack so you are indebted to me."

"Yes, Zero-sama."

Kaname was a bit startled at this outline of his new life. He hadn't expected it to be so... civil.

"I am also very aware of the fact that you are a vampire and that your body has vampire needs. Naturally, biting a human is out of the question. If ever you cannot control your thirst, there is a small amount of donated blood in the house that you may use. I judge you to be aware of the fact that it is not to be wasted. It is one of the more positive features of having your power bound. Not using it saves energy. You will notice that you will hardly be thirsty after a while."

Zero turned to face him with a patient look.

"I am not by nature a cruel man, Kaname. When I was young I was angry and filled with hatred. But even I managed to mature over time. I do not wish for anyone to suffer needlessly, including you. Therefore, here is a piece of advice for you. Forget your life as a pureblood - its memory will only leave you craving for something that has passed. Forget the life of planning battles and sacrificing pawns. That is over now."

"I am giving you tasks to provide you with purpose. Immerge yourself in them. Your purpose is now to serve me. Devote your energy to that and you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. You need not kneel beside me in private, I am perfectly content if you finish your work and keep me company. While there is nothing to do, you may read anything you can find in this house that is of interest to you excluding confidential reports. If it makes you happy, you may paint or write as you please."

"Yes, Zero-sama." Kaname looked at him a bit startled.

"That is all for now. You will wash yourself and dress. Then Imada will be waiting for you." The hunter rose from the bed. Kaname followed suit.

Time to begin his new life.


Kaname learned very quickly. Kiryu-sama hadn't drugged or incapacitated him in any way that would interfere with his mental abilities and - following his master's advice - he devoted his energy to service. He found it challenging at first. Being the pampered prince he was, he had much to learn. But in less than two weeks, he had made a lot of progress. Following a human schedule, he could cook now and properly clean the place and launder clothes. Furthermore, he had managed not to step out of line in public. Even though he never looked up, he could feel unpleasant eyes undressing him, wishing to use him. He was most grateful for the fact that Kiryu dressed him in a simple black shirt and slacks, instead of parading his almost nude body among the greedy onlookers.

In public, his master issued clipped orders in a cold voice and he followed obediently. When Kiryu spoke like that, Kaname was always reminded of the other hunters that had tortured him so brutally. Every single time he heard the cold voice, he cringed in fear as it reminded him of his place. That alone was enough for him to work hard to never disobey. He shuddered at what punishment might await him if he did. So he hadn't made a mistake once.

The first days had been difficult on him, not only because he had much to learn. Though outwardly healed, his body greedily demanded sustenance. Ever since the beginning of this war, the pureblood had resorted to drinking blood. Usually not human blood if he had the choice, but he had had no more qualms about it in times of need. Still, he had enough control over himself to heal without blood now. He would truly only touch the donated blood when he really, really needed it.

Contrary to his initial worries, Kiryu didn't once make a move to touch him. Actually, when he thought about it, he had no skin contact with the hunter at all. He cleaned the house and prepared the hunter's meals, serving them with the same quiet reservation he had expected of his own servants. When in private, they hardly spoke, though Kiryu would compliment him on the food every day.

Of course, Kaname's sleeping schedule was a big issue during the first few days. He had great difficulties with being awake during the day and asleep at night. But he got used to it faster than he expected, because the hunter's daily routine was a strenuous one and Kaname was very tired at the end of each day. Kiryu usually woke early, having a light breakfast and reading the daily news. Then, Kaname would sit silently facing the ground through hours of his personal training, hunter meetings and inspections. After that, he would come home late and read reports until long after his dinner. He slept only a few hours before he began the routine again. This went on for six days of the week. Only on one day did the General rest a bit longer and take it slower. But he never left out his daily training.

The only time when they were close was at night, when they slept in the same bed. The pureblood wondered at this, as he thought it odd that the General wanted his servant sleeping with him in his bed if it didn't include obvious nocturnal activities. Kaname had feared the first nights as he lay naked beside the hunter. But as two weeks passed and his master had not so much as touched him once, Kaname did not mind much anymore. On the contrary, he found it was actually very pleasant not to be alone at night.

As an aftereffect of his being caught and interrogated, Kaname often had horrible nightmares plaguing him. Waking up drenched in sweat, he was soothed by the sleeping presence of his master. It was ridiculous that a pureblood vampire should feel that way, but without his power he truly was very weak and it gave him a different perspective. He was a slave, a vampire slave at the mercy of the strongest vampire hunter of that day. But somehow, in private, he hoped to be protected by his master. Because the longer he served him, the more impressive he became to Kaname.


Two years had passed and contrary to many of his follower's beliefs, Zero was not ensnared by the pureblood's lure. Naturally, pureblood vampires were known to be extravagant deceivers. They would pretend to be all you wanted them to be and before you knew it, you were their slave and they had achieved their goal. But that applied only when there was something to achieve. In this world, there was no place for vampires anymore. Even freedom would not help him. He would only be caught again and a much crueller fate would catch up with him then. A swift death was most likely the only thing that held any appeal to him.

But Zero knew this pureblood was not without pride. In fact, he knew a lot about this particular pureblood. Kaname Kuran had many secrets and though torture may have revealed some, you didn't get the right answers if you didn't know what questions to ask. Naturally, all the interrogating hunters had spilled to him what they had found out about his servant. But they hadn't learned the most important thing about this vampire. They had managed to find out a few things that were of minor interest, and mostly details of his personal life that Zero was not surprised at.

The general had spent years studying vampires and purebloods in particular. And among them, the 'last' heir of the Kuran family was special.

Usually, purebloods were cruel and almost soulless. But Kaname Kuran was not. Zero knew this for certain because they shared a history. And strangely enough the hunters had not picked up on that at all despite their interrogation. To them, he was a pureblood like all others. But Zero knew he was not. He was the Ancestor - in a new body, perhaps but the Ancestor nonetheless. And that was not the only thing that made him special.

Contrary to the usual pureblood offspring, Kaname had a gentle heart. A deeply buried, ancient and weary, but gentle heart. It was the only reason why their agreement worked, Zero knew. After so many years of war and bloodshed, Zero was looking for someone akin to himself. He was weary of being alone. But he couldn't allow himself to get attached to humans - they all perished before he showed so much as a sign of aging. He was not a pureblood, he did age. But it was so slow that it would be hundreds of years before it was noticeable. And by the time he was that old, he would really be the last vampire left.

He would be the only one of his kind and he would die alone. He had hoped to die in battle - yet here he was, his goal nearly achieved, still not dead. That was truly the reason behind giving the pureblood this option. All of Zero's efforts had gone into destroying his own race. Kaname was now one of the few vampires left who could remain with him. Until now, he hadn't trusted him enough to show him how deep that need went, but perhaps some day he might. If anyone would understand, then the pureblood Ancestor might.

At first, he hadn't cared much for the other vampire. He didn't trust him and kept him at his side day and night to observe him. But now he rather enjoyed the brunette's company. He was quiet and reserved much like Zero was himself. He was very well educated - even for someone of his status and they had begun talking every now and then.

Over the years, Zero had learned to read all subtle nuances of expressions so he could even read purebloods who were well versed at hiding their emotions very carefully. He had much time to observe Kaname unobtrusively and so it came as no surprise that when there were slight changes in the pureblood's behavior, he noticed.

At the early stages of their relationship, Kaname had been entirely eager not to make a single mistake for fear of punishment. After a few weeks had passed, he had begun to be less jumpy and more reserved, but no less attentive. Now, after two years, the pureblood's gaze had changed when he looked at his master. Even the tone of his speech had changed. It was very subtle. A human would never notice, even lower vampires wouldn't. Only a pureblood would notice. And of course, Zero.

In public, people had gotten used to the general having his servant. However, they were displeased by his lack of brutality in treatment. At one point, a few hunters had approached him and demanded to 'borrow' the slave. Zero had enforced his order that he was not to be touched or spoken to by anyone but himself. There had been several attempts at stealing his servant and brutalizing him. But Zero had always been there in time to avoid further, more traumatizing treatment. He insisted that Kaname was his property and stealing or damaging his property was punishable by law.

It was in the wake of these occurrences that the pureblood's attitude changed most perceptibly. He was still quiet and reserved. His attentiveness and obedience lacked nothing. No one would have seen it, he appeared to simply be an obediant servant. But the hunter had a keenly trained perception and the pureblood's eyes gave him away. There was more than polite servitude in his gaze when he spoke with him. Kaname had began to look at Zero with adoration.


"Zero-sama?" Kaname asked quietly. Speaking loud was unpleasant to both their sensitive hearing and they avoided it. Currently, they were lying in bed enjoying the quiet before nodding off to sleep. It had been a strenuous day with much shouting and debating in the meetings Zero had sat through. Within the military, that was unusual - an order was given and the soldiers obeyed their superiors, it was that simple. But today had been a meeting with politicians and the media. Hunters and humans had no understanding of how sensitive a vampire's hearing was.

"Yes." his master answered.

"Do you find my body repulsive?" The question had been in his mind for so long now, he had to ask it.

There was a long silence in the room. Kaname feared he might have overstepped a boundary and Kiryu would not answer. Even worse, he might be punished. But he had to know. Antsy through the long silence, Kaname gave up on hearing an answer. But finally, his master spoke.

"Your body is both beautiful and desirable to me, Kaname." he said quietly.

The pureblood's breath hitched and his heart beat faster when he hard those words. It was true that he wished the hunter to look at him like that. But he had never seen so much as a hint of his master's interest. His answer was entirely unecpected.

"Zero-sama, I am your servant. You have every right to use my body as you please. Why do you hold back on what you desire?"

The hunter turned to face his servant. Kaname would be lying if he said the sudden attention had no effect on him. His heart raced partly with fear and partly with exitement. Though mostly... with fear.

The hunter's gaze focused on him and Kaname was caught. Of course he feared his master. The power he had over him was nothing short of terrifying. He couldn't suppress flinching when the hunter's hand made contact with his cheek.

But Zero did nothing to hurt him. With patient fingers, he wiped a strand of dark hair out of the pureblood's face. Just the look in his eyes convinced the pureblood that the hunter knew exactly that Kaname had asked this because he longed for him, that the hunter had known already for a long time. His fingertips traced the skin over his cheek bone and came to rest softly upon his lips. There was an unmistakable spark of desire in the lilac eyes, but it vanished and was replaced with a deep sadness. His fingers left the pureblood's lips.

"Just the mere fact that you ask such a question shows how little you know of me." Kiryu's voice was distant.

Kaname regretted asking instantly. Staring up into the quiet sadness in those eyes, he felt like sobbing. He couldn't explain, but lately he had become so incredibly attached to this man that he truly cared for his well-being. Not just because he was his master, but because really cared for the silent hunter's happiness. Seeing him so, was painful in a strange way.

"Forgive me for asking, Zero-sama." he breathed barely audible. He couldn't contain the sadness inside. He had been a servant to this man for more than two years, yet still they were so distant. It hurt so much. Shame crawled up inside his chest, but it made no difference. The tears spilled down his face regardless.

"Why are you crying?" Zero's patient voice asked.

"I wish to make you happy, Zero-sama." Kaname whispered.

"You do." Zero answered simply.


The pureblood became more shy and reserved after that. Zero noticed very soon that it wasn't something that passed quickly. Quite the contrary, the pureblood seemed to be seriously put off by that short exchange of emotion. But Zero couldn't bring himself to talk about it again. He wasn't angry with Kaname. But why the pureblood wished for something he clearly feared was beyond the hunter.

The pureblood had already been prone to nightmares as he had noticed before. But ever since that conversation, they had become more frequent and more intense, if the way Kaname tossed and turned at night was anything to go by. Zero woke one night as his servant whispered in his dream. Restlessly clutching the sheets, Kaname breathed heavily.

"Zero-sama... please. Don't leave me..."

In the morning, Kaname remembered none of it, but Zero was rather curious. He hadn't expected the pureblood to ever truly become attached to him. But if it followed him into his dreams, perhaps one day...

The next time Kaname woke him up in the middle of the night, panting and sweating, Zero laid an arm across the pureblood's shivering frame. The pureblood didn't wake entirely, but he instinctively grasped the warm arm tightly. It was rather endearing that just that small gesture was enough to calm him down in his sleep.

When he woke the next morning, Kaname found that he was still clutching the hunter's heavy arm.

By now he knew the hunter too well to assume it was an accident. His master must have comforted him during a dream, though he himself couldn't remember waking up. Touched by the small token of his master's care, Kaname kissed the knuckles of Zero's hand in thanks. The movement woke the General, but contrary to Kaname's fear, he didn't pull away as he caught his servant's lips at his hand.

From then on, Kaname would always shyly ask for his hand before falling asleep.


It was almost three years now that the hunter had taken Kaname in as his servant. The quiet pureblood found himself to be rather content as long as they were in private. Zero had a quiet personality, Kaname observed over the entire time. He was always alert though. His senses were extraordinary. Especially for the fact that he was actually a Level D vampire. The hunter was straightforward in everything he did. The entire world of hunters was much much different from that of vampires. Kaname was happy that nothing was required of him, but docile behavior. It gave him the time to study them, even if he never looked up.

Zero was not their general for nothing. There was little to none of the ceremonial display of etiquette that vampires favored. Hunters relied on strength and stubbornness only. Those who lead were the ones who had proven their value. It had nothing to do with blood lines or sniveling courtesy. It didn't matter if your blood line ran true for generations - if you couldn't fight, you didn't get far. When proven in battle, even the underdog could rise to fame. There was a simplistic beauty in that, Kaname had to admit.

Kaname had never studied the ways of the hunters except the parts that were interesting during a war. He found they were primitive some of the time - they had no sense for refined treachery, they didn't delight in seductive games of deadly pleasure. They hunted and killed and if they felt like it, they raped. But it there was little backstabbing or strategic treachery among them. They may be brutal, but they were honest.

Among them, Zero was jewel of steadfast power and honesty. He was revered for his stubbornness and skill in battle. And even though someone in his position now would never truly have to fight anymore, he trained with fervor and proved his strength every day anew. Kaname marveled at the discipline and will power he showed during his daily routine. He never allowerd himself to show if he had a bad day. Kaname would know at times that he felt worn out on some days or thirsty for blood on others. But toward his men, he never wavered or showed any weakness. Kaname truly admired him for that.

And that's when he realized how much he himself had should have been struggling to regain his power and position, should be fighting to regain his honor, yet he found that he didn't want to part from this man anymore. But the thought that would have scared him just a year ago was now a welcome one. Reports of killed vampires were becoming more and more scarce and Kaname knew the day was very close, when there would be no other vampires left.

Zero was now all he had. But even that was no longer frightening. Quite the contrary, he embraced that thought.

In a sense, he was free. No longer was he bound to the customes of vampire society, but instead he realized that here, in docile servitude to a hunter, he had begun to enjoy the time he had. He was leading the simple life of a peasant. And after he understood this, he appreciated it. It was oddly precious to him. How often had he wished that no one would put him into a spot light, bow to him out of courtesy when stabbing his back was their true agenda - but here he had time and space.

When he finished his work, he felt happy to have accomplished something. Something for someone else. And not just anyone... but he had done it for Zero. And then he had time to enjoy himself and nobody would knock and interrupt him, nobody would look at him strangely for not behaving royally. He was free. He had little responsibility now and it was as though a burden had been lifted from his shoulders. And so, following the advice of his master, he had taken to literature and art. He had never felt so peaceful than during those hours, when Zero sat and read reports and he sat beside him, reading or sketching.

How ironic, that sitting here, serving his enemy, he felt more at peace than during any other time of his life.