Minna-san! Kon'nichiwa! O genki desu ka?
This time, I tried my best to bring this out on time… And yet ended up late (^_^;) I've been suffering from the Lazy Bum syndrome this past weekend… Getting out of the couch or turning away from the TV was almost impossible! XDD
Waaaiiii! I just noticed! It's April 23rd! Today is the official release of the DVDs for the remake OVAs! What a coincidence! lol XD
And I have some news for all of us Yaoi fans! Media Blasters is asking suggestions of Yaoi Animes to license in the US! If you have a facebook account, you can got to the Media Blasters FB page and leave your suggestions there! Check this out!
community .livejournal ai_no_kusabi_ /177775 . ht*ml (remove spaces and *s :))
Thanks again, to my friend Ninjasheik who brought this to my attention! You rock, girl! (^u^)-b
And as always! Please support the author by buying the original stuff! And buy the DVDs! I am waiting to watch the rest of the Anime! And so I believe are the rest of the crazy pervy fangirls worldwide! Your every little effort is much appreciated
Warning: Intensity, oocness (as usual), angst.
Disclaimer: Meh... Yoshihara-sensei would just laugh at this foolishness! XDDD
Chapter 17 Fire
"The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing."
"Are you alright?" a soft whisper from the Blondie that somehow seemed to have a depth that he would never have expected from a machine.
"Yeah." Riki responded with a smile. A smile as if he had seen the sun after years of captivity in darkness; a smile of such relief that he felt for a moment dazed by its brightness.
What he was looking at was a sight that he had never thought possible. No amount of pride, no amount of possessiveness or mere attachment could produce such a connection, such a reaction. Both in his friend and the foe who stood before him, patiently holding out the black jacket. And what did he feel in response to it? Jealousy, rage, disappointment… Sadness. The thought that, if Riki could not be his, he could not be anybody's, dominated every aspect of his existence. But how anyone could expect any different from him was a total mystery. Had he not been a good friend for so long? Had he not been a good comrade? Had he not been a forgiving lover? He didn't deserve this, no matter how anyone argued. He didn't deserve this and Riki didn't deserve this either. Going back to the Blondie would only mean a complete submission, and that, no matter what, would never suit Riki, he knew that it would kill Riki to really submit. It would not be right. That was not what he had worked his ass off for.
And besides, Riki was his, right?
"I did it for your sake Guy. I bartered myself to save your ass…"
He was right; he had been right all along. Riki had done this because he had wanted to save him from whatever the Blondie would have planned, when the news of Riki's escape caught up to him. Riki had been frightened, for him. That Riki, who knew no fear, who stood tall and proud, no matter what stupid, impulsive thing he did or its consequence, had been frightened. For him. Didn't that prove his position in his leader's perspective?
Yes. But… If Riki couldn't be his, he just couldn't be at all. If Riki could not stay with him, he need not stay at all. How simple! How easy! And it had only taken a split second to decide on. He smirked to himself. He had been a fool, indeed.
Guy inched closer to the table, picking up the item he had transferred from his bags, unnoticed by the duo who had been entranced by each other's presence, one absorbed in each movement of the other as he covered himself once again.
He clutched the weapon tightly in his hand; he needed maximum force, it had to be over with one swift thrust. The laser knife would indeed double the impact of the force he applied, but it would also burn the wound, leading to lower blood-loss, and perhaps a more painful death. So he would have to target a critical organ, if he was to make a fatal blow. And he wouldn't have a second chance, he knew.
Guy smiled to himself. It was commendable how his brain still calculated so precisely. His emotions had taken a backseat, allowing his brain to work, to function, though not perfectly efficient. With this one move, he would destroy everything and throw the Blondie into eternal torment. And that seemed enough for him.
And of course, he would follow Riki even to the depths of hell.
There couldn't be a soul on the streets of Ceres who hadn't noticed the faint blur of the state of the art craft that had sped past them. Indeed, his men had seen it too and reported the dangerous speed, and the make of the car.
Katze sighed. He had been listening to the relayed conversation. Though he had been shocked to hear that the madman had taken Riki to Dana Burn, he had not lost his cool. Iason was on it, and he knew that the Blondie would be on his way there, and in such a case, with reinforcements, he had hoped. But the reports hadn't mentioned any other car following the Blondie's, and he immediately began worrying.
Katze had regrouped his men as soon as he had come to know of the Blondie's destination and then thought of issuing commands to move them to Dana Burn as soon as they could, before he remembered the Blondie's words.
"It is not necessary for you to move. This is private. Is that understood, Katze?"
"Tsk. Troublesome." He hissed as he placed a hand on his forehead, annoyed at the Blondie's instruction.
As much as he understood and loved the Blondie, he could not think of any reason why it was the right thing to do to go to rescue Riki alone.
Dana Burn was no man's land. It was unknown, veiled territory. Nobody in their right senses would go there voluntarily. And for a Blondie to barge in, with no preparation, no security escort, no protection, and no idea of what awaited him there was absolute foolishness. Foolishness he would never have attributed to Lord Iason Mink. No wonder everyone was against the Blondie's peculiar lifestyle. The great leader of Tanagura was not made for such base level of thinking as that of a mongrel.
Though, Katze had to admit, some things never changed. Indeed, Riki had dragged down the mighty Blondie to the level of a mere human being. But a Blondie was always a Blondie. There would always be some aspects that Iason wouldn't know, wouldn't understand and would never even think of, entirely because of his nature and his make-up. What was personal would always remain private, as long as it didn't disturb his public life and his duties. His pride as a Blondie would try its best to prevail, no matter what the circumstances were. If he involved any more than those involved already, then it was a show of weakness and that could not be allowed. Pride. Pride was the only motive behind this foolishness and it irritated the hell out of him.
There would be much more to pay for if he involved his men, he knew. But he was privy to a lot more than his men would ever know and he was, already deep enough into this affair that his interference would probably go unpunished. He looked at his cigarette case and then changed his mind; perhaps not entirely unpunished, but, there would be a significant lowering in the intensity of the reprimand.
But perhaps no thoughts of this, at all, registered into the Blondie's mind. Perhaps it was only Riki's safety that drove the Blondie to such desperation… Perhaps…
"Shit…"Katze let out a rare curse, deciding to move at once.
It didn't take much to gather momentum, once he was decided. His chest heaved in a mixture of emotions, he wasn't even sure if he was angry or happy or sad anymore as the adrenaline surged within him, summoning all his lateral energies to concentrate on that one point of his target. As silent as possible, Guy threw one foot back, crouching slightly, still panting with the effort it took to channel the rush that took over his mind, took a deep breath to steady his feet, and then burst forth in a lunge, turning the laser weapon on at the last moment, before he reached his target. Riki's heart.
It wasn't the sound of footfall, it wasn't the muffled noise of subdued emotion, the thing that broke through his enraptured mind was the sudden zap of laser as Guy opened the weapon. Iason turned towards the man with a horrified expression, to see him reach Riki's chest, squared in on the location of his heart, the blade just about to plunge through the hard, yet delicate flesh.
If he wasn't a Blondie, with an unimaginably quick reflex response, he would have been the fool who had stood there and seen his beloved be pierced to death. If he hadn't been a Blondie, Riki would be in the hands of his beloved, helpless, dying.
Iason snapped his hand in front of the blade with lightening speed and precision, accepting the entire force of the blow onto his wrist, while pushing Riki away to safety with his other hand and then exerting enough force to move the madman away. Mindless of the blood trickling out of the wound, the sharp pain in his wrist, Iason caught the hand that held the weapon, and looked deep into the mongrel's eyes.
Liquid fear seemed to run through his spine as he watched the glint of anger in the Blondie's eyes. And his blood froze as the features on the Blondie's face twisted into a hateful scowl, as his own wrist was squeezed and the bones cracked, and he heard the clang of metal on the floor.
Iason gritted his teeth to try and control the urge break the mongrel's neck instead of just his hand. His fingers trembled as he held down the mongrel's broken wrist with his wounded arm and then pushed it slowly, and steadily backwards, until he heard a snap of the arm being forever dislocated from the rest of his body. Ignoring the howl of pain from the dog and the pleading calls from his pet, Iason thrust a hand to the mongrel's chest and pushed with all his might, sending the mongrel flying through the room, sweeping across the surface of the table with a crash, sending bottles of stout shattering as they hit the floor, to hit the wall and fall down, crying, yelping in pain. Shards of glass dug into his skin, furthering his pain, but it was nowhere near enough. It was nowhere even close to fatal. The Blondie looked on in disappointment.
Riki was distraught, looking at the scene with helpless terror. He trembled in emotion as he saw the Blondie maneuver Guy the way he wanted and then heard the sickening noises of bone and flesh being ripped apart, the scream of pure agony, the sound of breaking glass, and then the thud of his friend's body falling to the ground. And he noticed that all through the ordeal, he had been muttering Iason's name, a vain effort to get the Blondie to stop.
And Iason hadn't even twitched an eyebrow in response. He felt all the blood drain away as he looked at his best friend lying on the ground, sobbing, obviously in great pain, and rushed to his side.
"Guy! Guy!" he called, expecting some sort of a response, other than those pathetic sounds of agony. And when there wasn't any, and the man seemed to lose a bit of his consciousness, he turned to the Blondie, who towered over them, his face still twisted in hate.
Iason had been wrong. He had thought when he had heard of Guy's decision to castrate Riki to remove the ring that that was perhaps the highest amount of hate and anger he would ever feel. But this incident had proved otherwise. The mongrel lying on the floor deserved much more than just a useless arm. He had indeed been much too kind to him. But when he saw Riki kneel beside him and call his name, Iason felt a stab of pain, pain that struck deep, and overwhelmed the one he felt from that knife. Maybe Riki still loved this mongrel… Maybe it was all a lie… Maybe…
"Iason." the harsh voice broke his reverie.
He looked at his pet, schooling his features to hide the anger and hurt he felt, to see the look of fury in Riki's eyes.
"What? I shouldn't have done that?" he asked coolly.
The pet trembled, his face slowly transforming from an expression of fury, his eyes shining, as they slowly filled up with tears.
Iason scoffed, and then let out a small chuckle.
"No. You don't!... You promised! You promised me that you would leave Guy alone if I came back."
Iason smiled. A smile that he hadn't shown Riki in years. A smile that conveyed only cruelty. Because, right now, he was incapable of kindness. Because there was no other way he could respond to his beloved. To his pet however, he could show all his anxiety, all his worry, in the form of this cruelty.
"Come, Riki." He said as he turned, to walk away from the scene.
"No." Riki stood his ground. When he saw that the Blondie was not listening to him, that he was still walking away, his control snapped, and he ran to overtake the Blondie and then threw himself at him, stopping the Blondie with his embrace.
"No." he sobbed and then begged. "Please, Iason. Please. I beg you! We cannot leave him here like this… He'll die! He'll…" Riki's choked words stopped as tears flew down his cheeks, and fell on the Blondie's tunic.
"So… You still care about him so much…" the Blondie whispered, placing a hand on his pet's head and smoothing his hair.
"He is my friend…. Of course… I care about him!" Riki whispered between sobs.
"You love him so much?"
Riki snapped up at this and looked into the Blondie's eyes, his eyes still teary, but filled with a certain rage that sent shivers down the Blondie's spine.
"No." he answered decisively, but the tears didn't stop. "But he is like this because of us! We drove him into this insanity! It is my fault! Guy was… always a great friend! And I reduced him to… this!" he yelled, releasing himself from the embrace and pointing to the body on the floor, which seemed to be unconscious.
Iason sighed. He couldn't believe it, but he changed his mind.
"Not that it matters at all…" his whispers echoed. "Even if you are in love with him, you still belong to me. I am not going to let you go for some stupid-"
"I know." Riki answered with uncharacteristic submission, looking towards his friend's slumped body with longing eyes. Something that pierced Iason's heart.
"Save him, Iason." pleaded the mongrel once more.
Everything was in a daze of red as unbearable pain penetrated his unconscious slumber and shot through his shoulder and he felt robbed of the strength to even breathe properly. Guy gasped and sobbed anew at the intensity of throbbing searing fire that flew through his body. His face felt wet, with blood or tears, he wasn't sure. The last thing he remembered was the look on the Blondie's face as he was thrown across the room. How long had he been out? He felt unable to even open his eyes, as he heard the sounds inside the room.
"So… You still care about him so much…" The Blondie's voice. So he hadn't been out for long, then.
"He is my friend…. Of course… I care about him!" Riki…
"You love him so much?"
He needed to open his eyes. He needed to look at Riki. He needed to ask. Was that all he was to Riki? Didn't Riki love him?
"Save him, Iason."
He scoffed in his mind at Riki's tone and his raw voice, realizing at last, the amount of pain he was causing his best friend. Indeed, he was ashamed to call this love. But… How kind Riki was! He had tried to kill him, and yet Riki wanted to do his best for him. Guilt flooded his mind, as realization filtered through his angry, hate-glazed heart. He had been cruel to his friend hadn't he? He had done irreparable damage to their friendship in the name of love. A true love, that had miserably transformed to what it was now, because of his stupidity. A mistaken, misunderstood, twisted, one-sided love. Oh how he regretted it now!
"Alright…" Iason accepted.
"Thank you." the mongrel blurted, before the thought struck him. What would the Blondie do to Guy after saving him? He hurriedly interjected.
"Iason… What… What would you do with him?"
"Hmm? Well…" the Blondie looked at the slumped body and then back at Riki. If it was left to him, he would do the worst to this man. He would make an example of him. He would have him punished publically, and then torture him the worst way possible until he begged for death, and then torture him more by denying that death. The whole world would know what befell those who planned to cross blades with Iason Mink. But he could not tell Riki that could he? He smiled mysteriously as he continued. He couldn't lie to his Riki either. He looked at Guy and then decided.
"His arm is useless now. He is worthless for any real work, not even as a slave. However, perhaps I can get Ranaya Ugo to take care of him. Of course, he might be forced to part with the other arm too…" he said coolly, looking at the man who lay there motionless with cold hatred in his eyes.
Riki gasped. Iason looked bloodthirsty as he talked about Ranaya Ugo.
"You are joking…" Riki whispered in horror.
"Do I ever?" Iason paused. "It is what he deserves Riki." he said with a level tone.
"No… You can't do that. Iason… You promised me! Guy will not be sold like a slave! Not as long as I am alive!" he shouted with conviction.
Iason looked at the mongrel in fascination. This was yet another side of Riki's he had never seen before. That of a leader, one responsible for his followers. He smiled and then sighed, allowing it.
"What would you have me do?" he responded, feeling indulgent.
Riki thought for a moment. What would be the best for Guy? How could he make sure that something like this never happened again?
"Treat him… You can reaffix his arm, if we take him back soon, can't you? Do it. And then return him to the slums." he blurted. "But… Can you make him forget me? Erase all memories of me?" Yes, this would forever remove Guy from harm's way.
What Riki was suggesting wasn't a punishment. It was in fact a kindness that Guy didn't deserve. Iason could not bring himself to accept it.
Looking at the disbelief and discontent on the Blondie's face, Riki spoke, once again, clinging on to Iason's tunic, using the only chip he had left to gamble.
"Do this, and I will never leave you… I will never complain about anything. I will be your pet, for as long as I live! I will obey you, submit to you, and do whatever you like. Please, just do this…"
"Such kindness…" Iason muttered to himself, frowning slightly, as he sighed and nodded. His pet didn't really understand him, did he?
In a moment, all of Riki's worries faded away and he smiled in gratitude, taking a step towards his unconscious friend.
Guy had been listening to the conversation with increasing awareness. And emotions had bubbled up in the form of tears which now seemed to flow constantly. He felt honored that Riki would protect him, even after all that he had done; that he would get angry at the Blondie for the well deserved cruelty. He could not help but smile at the Blondie's suggestions. That must be the extent of his hatred too if he had been in the Blondie's position.
But when he heard Riki's proposal, his heart stopped. Forget Riki? Forget the one thing he had always treasured in his life? He swallowed despite everything and then slowly opened his eyes. Riki was standing in front of the Blondie clinging to him and begging him for his sake once again.
"Do this, and I will never leave you… I will never complain about anything. I will be your pet, for as long as I live! I will obey you, submit to you, and do whatever you like. Please, just do this…"
Everything seemed to float around him, drenched in blood-red, as anger and shame rose up once again. He was the reason Riki was doing this. Riki was punishing himself for all his mistakes. He sobbed once again, anguished that he was unable to move even a muscle. If he could just even open his mouth, he would stop Riki. He would do all that he could to repair his errors.
It came with great pain, when it came, but it was the irrefutable truth. Iason was not an obstacle to Riki, he hadn't been for a long time. Guy himself was the obstacle; the one who must be removed, if Riki was ever to live in comparative happiness. He was the dead weight that Riki had always carried, that Riki had never forsaken. And that one thought decided his course, and he closed his eyes once more.
Riki walked slowly towards Guy, trying his best to not disturb the apparently slumbering man, and placed a hand on his forehead, and tried to raise his head. Guy opened his eyes and then looked at his glowing friend, as a smile crept up to his lips.
'I am a wretch, Riki. I have sunk so low that I don't deserve your mercy. Please… don't be kind to me Riki…' he wanted to say. He wanted to pour out his words of remorse, if only to lighten his own heart slightly. He didn't expect forgiveness from Riki; he knew that it would be impossible for Riki and he was fine with that. He accepted it as it was, for once, as he looked at his ex-pairing partner's eyes once again, before he swallowed all the pain he felt and prepared himself for it.
"It's all going to be fine Guy. I have you. I will make sure you will-"
Guy interjected suddenly.
"Take your filthy hands off me." He whispered with effort. Yes, this was the best way.
Riki wavered but for a moment, before he responded sternly, "No."
Guy took a deep trembling breath before he grasped a nearby shard of broken glass with his uninjured his hand, and pointed at Riki, before he repeated his word. The Blondie behind the mongrel took a step forward, alarmed by the move, but Riki would not budge.
'Please don't make it so difficult for me!' he thought as he sighed and turned the tip of his makeshift knife to himself and pressed it to his neck.
"Take your hands off me, or I will slit my throat."
Riki gasped as blood trickled from the nick the injured man had made, and then let go of him, shocked at the action.
"I will take you home, Guy."
Guy scoffed slightly, ignoring the steep pain every breath seemed to cause.
"As if I would take your help. Leave me alone Riki." The last few words had come out weaker than he had wanted. So he reinforced them with a straight look of disgust.
And Riki's shoulders slumped, just as his eyes closed in defeat. And yet, he still muttered begrudgingly.
"I am bringing you to safety… Guy…"
'The hell, Riki. Please just go.' Guy's eyes blurred as more tears threatened to burst forth. He pressed the piece of glass deeper, widening the nick, smiling at Riki all along.
"No! Stop it, Guy!" Riki hissed and then stepped back.
The Blondie took over from there. He had never felt anything but anger and hatred for the Blondie, but now, a peculiar gratitude filled his mind, as Iason grabbed Riki's hand possessively and pulled him away from him.
"Do you want me to-" asked Iason in a mild tone, understanding the amount of pain his pet must be in.
"I will kill myself if you let a filthy Blondie touch me Riki." Guy interjected.
Iason's eyes narrowed, and he snorted as he looked down at the man who still clutched the glass, pressing it to his own neck. This was the picture of ultimate insanity.
"Come, Riki." said Iason, pulling on the arm he still held.
"No… I… I can't leave him here like…"
Iason furrowed his brows in irritation. But his voice did not hold any malice when he responded.
"He will faint in a little more time. I will have Katze pick him up and bring him over to the medical center. We needn't be here…"
Riki turned to look at Iason's eyes once and then nodded. He then looked at Guy.
"I am sorry, Guy…"
Guy watched as his friend retreated slowly, seemingly unwilling to leave him here, and smiled. His body burned with fever against the cold air of the bunkers, every nerve sung with hot pain, and yet, all that mattered was that his Riki was leaving him once again. And this time, it would be forever. He didn't remember having cried like this, ever in his life. And he didn't remember Riki crying like that either. Things had changed so much for the worse through the course of time. This was not how he had imagined any of their lives to be.
He remembered once more, those shining days that they had spent in the slums, flying through the streets, laughing, hunting, having fun… And he remembered the tears his friend had shed for him. Somehow, his heart filled up with a twisted happiness. He was important to Riki. Riki hadn't changed at all. He had just grown up from a brat to a beautiful full-grown wolf. Though he could hardly forgive Riki for his submission, even now, he had made a sort of peace with it. And he was happy.
Black clouds seemed to float over his eyes, and he realized that he didn't have much time left before he would fall into the abyss of sleep. So he steeled himself for more pain and then lifted his body, to drag himself to his bag that lay a few feet in front of him. Sweat dripped down his face at the effort it took to keep moving, but he didn't care. His eyes closed of their own volition as the fatigue and pain tried to overwhelm him, and he growled to force them open once again, as another bolt of sharp pain shot through his shoulder.
He didn't stop. Just a few more steps.
Riki followed Iason as the Blondie expertly made his way out, still unbearably sad for his friend. He kept his eyes down contemplating the events, Guy's words to him, his actions, and Iason's reactions. He swallowed and then saw blood drip to the floor from the Blondie's hand and gasped in shock. Why would the Blondie do so much for him? Why was he still here, even after all those words, even after the rude way he treated him, in spite of all the insults he had spat at him? What did he do to deserve this? Was his obedience worth all this trouble? Was he worth the danger that the Blondie had subjected himself to? Why was Iason doing this?
Persistent questions and mental torment flooded through his mind, stealing his strength and will, and his knees weakened in response.
"Iason…" He whispered, doing his best to keep standing.
The Blondie turned around. He took one look at the struggling mongrel and calmly walked to him, supporting him with his strength. Riki gulped at the energizing feel of that strength. And the question slipped out.
"Why?" he whispered.
The Blondie answered in a soft whisper, delivered directly into the mongrel's ears.
"You will not burn while I watch, Riki."
Guy lay down, panting, exhausted as soon as he reached his bag, and spilled its contents immediately. He reached out, his eyes blinded by the haze of pain, to grab the device tightly. It had taken quite some effort to just get to the bag, and his body felt unimaginably heavy as he settled himself onto the cold floor. It had taken quite a while since Riki had left and he was sure that it was enough time for them to escape to a safer place. Besides, he didn't have much more time…
The reddish light on the device glowed invitingly in his delirious state and he smiled at it, holding it close as if it was a dear possession. It was dear to him after all right? He had constructed it from the basis and he had put forth a lot of effort in deciding its usage. He scoffed to himself. Slitting his own throat did not seem nearly as interesting as the way he had planned for himself. Indeed, it would be one final, explosive night.
Guy released the safety catch on the detonator with trembling fingers, as he once again reminisced, and then pressed the red button and held it firmly.
"I am sorry, Riki…"
I am actually still wondering if I should delete this post and re-write this chappie... *sigh*
Right… Go ahead! I am ready! I'll even give you guys a free supply of rotten vegetables and fruits… Seriously… -_- My inner critic is alight with rage actually, going- 'Ummm… Yeah… It was… really cliché… yuck...' But… Actually it was either this or killing Iason and Riki and Guy and Katze and... well, everyone. I was reining in a pretty sadistic mood while I wrote this. (^_^;;) Sorry if I disappointed you… -_-
See, this is what I meant by "turning him into a character who needs sympathy"… I was really in a violent 'kill everyone and everything and just destroy Amoi' mood and thought I was doing a bit of justice with this… Delusions! XD
There are two chapters left (some loose ends to tie and a few new threads to make), in my estimate… But, perhaps I will make some sort of a foundation for a sequel (if you guys wish for it... Don't forget to tell me if you want it or not! XD The next chappie will depend on it! lol)
Aah! A kindred spirit! :") Thank you for that compliment! It is kinda time consuming to look for quotes that can suit the chapter! XD I also try (not really successfully, but still try...:)) and make the quote fit every character that appears in the chapter. Usually, it is easy to find a quote that fits Iason or Riki or Guy alone, but together… It is kinda hard. Makes me think that I am perhaps a bit too ambitious :DD
You were spot on with that quote for Riki! Indeed, is Herodotus or Descartes or Huxley known on Amoi? I wonder! XDD It was a hard thing for this chapter too… I wanted a quote that will actually robustly signify or characterize or personify the fire of rage and pain, but I couldn't really find any that fit! I settled for a second choice :D Do you have any in mind that might give said effect? I would be glad to know! Haha! You flatter me! All the Japanese I know is from watching Anime and such stuff, though I intend to learn more when I can! I cannot even dream of translating something as great as Basho's Haiku! *smiles, shakes head and blushes* Muridesu! :D Hope you are feeling better now? O karada o daiji ni shite kudasai!
Cookies to everyone! Thank you for reading, reviewing, following and favoriting this fic!
Hai, Minna-san! Genkide ne!