Kon'nichiwaaaa~! (^u^) Ogenki desuka? :D

Alright! Thank you soooo much for being so gracious despite my long absence and reading the prev chappie! I am so glad you took it well! Honestly, I was anticipating long scoldings from everyone for being late and mean! XDDD You guys are just awesome! :)

I will just plunge into the chappie now without delay! XD Because I am ranting later! XDDDDDDD

Warning: Lime (ManxMan as usual. :D… Boy, it feels like I have written too many lime scenes lately… :| XD), Oocness, some fluff...?

Disclaimer: I wish to claim the original work, Ai no Kusabi as my own, but that is a dream that will never come true… :(

Hey! Did you guys know that AnK vol 8 has been released in English?! I just found out last week dammit! XDDD Please go buy it and support the Author!


Chapter 20 Bondage- Part 2

"My wishes are fools, they shout across thy songs, my Master.

Let me but listen."

Rabindranath Tagore*

Raoul was meticulous in his preparations. If he was to do this, he would do it in such a way that the Blondie didn't even feel what had hit him before the procedure was over. He deserved that concern. He checked and rechecked the supplies, the emergency facilities, the profiles of chemicals that he needed to use. What he wasn't sure of was the status quo of his friend's intellectual faculties. Mind tampering heavily relied on the stats of the patient's mind in order to be effective and efficient. For humans, a simple test was all it took. But for Blondies... He was missing essential data. He needed in-depth profiles of Iason's mental status and had requested that Jupiter provide him the necessary details. The computer hesitated, but seeing as he needed this for the procedure, had agreed to provide them in due time. He expected them any minute now.

The night was particularly long for him, as despite his exhaustion, he was unable to get any sleep. He was worried out of his wits. Yet he needed some rest, so he decided to close his eyes and relax at least for just a while. Images of the possible outcomes of the process flooded his mind, but he was a full-blooded Blondie and a seasoned doctor, who could channel his mind to not think of dire things. After all, he had performed more complicated manipulations very easily, very calmly. There was no reason to be suddenly tense about this… Except that his most treasured friend's life and his sanity literally were in his hands. And his mind returned to the age-old reasoning, fighting his friend's skewed logic at every step. Iason was the best elite Amoi had ever known, and he was a dear friend and brother. There was no one more suitable, more rational, more efficient than Iason in perhaps all of Amoi… Which begged the question- Why did the Blondie have to be so hard-headed about this issue? He gritted his teeth in irritation.

Raoul sighed, giving up on rest. It was impossible to relax. The faint whirr of his communication device interrupted his reverie. The device immediately flashed a hologram of the received data-sheet right before his eyes. The view-field was filled with numbers, raw scientific data that was so complicated that he had to take a deep breath and calm himself to not dismiss it immediately in irritation. His head throbbed from the lack of sleep and the sudden exposure to a overwhelming number of complex values of various parameters. Still, he was able to make sense of it all in less than a few moments.

And his first reaction was disbelief.

"What?" he asked out loud, incredulous of his own conclusions. He closed his eyes, cleared his mind once again and recalculated the parameters. He still landed at the same impossible situation.

"This cannot be true…" he said to himself in wonder.

The device whirred again to display Jupiter's regal form, to deliver a message that the data sent was genuine and that he was to proceed with the task normally, nevertheless.

Raoul's eyes widened, and he let out a very rare curse.

"How the hell can I do it normally?! This is just impossible!"

He puzzled over the numbers again, trying, once more, to find some discrepancy in them, giving up when he found not one.

"What did you do Iason?" he muttered out loud in a voice filled with sadness.

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Captain Grimn was still mulling things over in his mind as he walked by, monitoring the patrol posted at the penthouse. To even imagine that this would be possible… He recollected the Blondie's final word to him and swallowed in uncertainty.

"Is this a coup of sorts?"

The Blondie chuckled and sighed before he whispered his answer and disappeared.

"Maybe."

His mind was heavy as he imagined the consequences of a society which did not have the facilities that they now had.

A society without Jupiter... Is it...?

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"Kneel, Iason."

Iason looked down at the sitting pet and his brows furrowed in contemplation. If this was all that Riki had felt, then there was no way it could be love. If this was all Riki had experienced, then he wanted to be truly punished for all his delusions. He had been a thousand times harder, harsher and ruthless, that he couldn't even begin to imagine what he would feel if he was subjected to his own treatment. No wonder the mongrel in Riki always rebelled.

Iason knelt, keeping his eyes fixed on the majestic pet.

Riki looked at the kneeling Iason. This wasn't right, he knew. It was ironic that while he wanted revenge, looking at the submissive Blondie did not produce any pleasure. But he wasn't surprised. After all, he was not a sadistic pervert.

No. This was what was wrong with Iason. This sudden nonchalance. This sudden acceptance. The lack of authority and majesty. Riki felt disgusted looking at this reduced man. But despite all the pain he felt looking at Iason like this, he still wanted his revenge, he still wanted to be understood.

Riki called out to the Blondie "Come here. On your knees." The words barely made it out without his voice cracking. But the Blondie promptly obeyed, crawling to him.

He extended his hand gently to place one on the Blondie's head and one to free himself.

"Suck me."

The Blondie's eyebrows rose at the brash order, but he held his silence. This was Riki's revenge, and though it did not really sound cruel to him, he understood why this was happening. To be forced to yield to another's urges, to cater to another's sexual whims, without a choice, forced by threats, restricted by devices, pulled in with the allure of a non-existent, difficult pleasure that one's mind was forced to seek, against one's will… Even a lenient lover would be disgruntled, insulted, repulsed by that. He understood. And he did not hesitate.

He closed the distance between them as he softly kissed the disinterested tip, and nuzzled below, causing a shiver to pass through the mongrel who was sitting. He licked across the length, caressed with gentle warmth, feeling it begin to pulse with life and sucked on it, happy that his mongrel promptly responded to it, yet unbearably sad, as his throat constricted with pain. This was only a conditioned response.

Riki sighed as pleasure began trickling through his spine. He didn't want to feel it. He didn't want to feel anything, because this wasn't right, this wasn't what he wanted. He hated doing this. He knew that this was hurting Iason as much as it hurt him, and he didn't want to respond. But Iason's tongue worked magic as he was teased, caressed and massaged to fullness, until his breath turned into shallow pants, and he clutched the sheets to control himself, cursing his body, cursing the Blondie who had made him this, in his mind.

"S-Stop." Riki managed through the haze, expecting the Blondie to at least pause his ministrations.

But the Blondie did not stop. Riki muttered again, to no avail. He was close, too close for his comfort. He didn't want release like this. He didn't want this.

He gathered his strength and placed a hand on the Blondie's head trying to push him away. But the Blondie would not have any of it, he kept at his job. Riki sighed before he mocked.

"This... is my revenge, you aren't supposed to be enjoying it. Stop at once, Iason." he moaned.

Even now, it was all his choice, not Riki's. It wasn't fair. But nothing ever was really fair. Iason ignored it.

"Do I have to call Cal to pry you off me? Or... Oh that captain or something is still here, I guess?"

Iason's eyes widened. He wouldn't. Riki wouldn't do it... Was he really so hated? Why would his pet want to hurt him so much? Iason wondered, yet he didn't let go.

Do you hate me, Riki? Do you hate me so much?

"Did Master Iason not notice?"

He understood. Daryl. This was exactly what the pet had felt every time he had called Daryl, every time he had forced him, he had felt hated. So hated, that now he refused to believe that he was really loved.

"Do you want it so much, Iason? You're pretty easy, aren't you? Don't tell me, you like being treated like this?" Riki interrupted his thoughts, suppressing his shudders, mocking the Blondie in an unfeeling icy tone, just like he had been mocked so many times before.

"Yes." The Blondie answered in one word. This was what was expected that he say. He would expect this from a pet, he had expected this from Riki not long ago. His voice cracked slightly owing to the pit of emotions in his throat and he felt tortured showing this desperate weakness, yet he did not hesitate. For right now, there was no pride on the Blondie's mind, there was only sadness. He had caused so much pain to his beloved. He felt crushed by the realization of the weight of his crimes.

Riki looked down, taking hold of a lock of the Blondie's long hair, clutching it tight in his fingers, as the intensity of Iason's movements increased and half-unwillingly, the mongrel surrendered and moaned his relief.

And Iason looked up as he completed his charge, in his eyes, a bottomless blue pit of agony. He closed them in shame as he saw Riki's and a grimace made its way to his face and he turned down to hide it.

Riki sobbed noiselessly as he saw that Iason remained kneeling, faced downwards, awaiting his orders. He reached out, hooked his fingers beneath the Blondie's chin and raised his face up, leaning as close to the Blondie as space would allow, and spoke to his lips, looking straight into surprised, regal, blue eyes.

"What are you doing, Iason?" Riki's eyebrows were furrowed in worry and emotion, as his mind held all those unshed tears in check, as he softly spoke.

Iason didn't answer for a moment, but seeing that Riki did expect something, he managed a response.

"Obeying you..." he added reluctantly.

Riki scoffed and then chuckled slightly, sorrow overtaking his voice now.

"So you'd do anything I say now?"

"Yes."

"Then… Kiss my feet."

A slight troubled look passed across Iason's face as he prepared to bow down lower, his long hair falling over his face, thankfully covering those eyes that regaled anguish.

Riki looked at the completely repulsive, degrading scene of the Blondie's pride being shattered before him and tears filled his eyes. Why did he not feel happy with his revenge? Why did he feel miserable looking at the tyrant punished? If it hurt that much why was he still ordering the Blondie? And… It was not in the Blondie's nature or his system to bow down before someone. And yet, this being, this beloved, cruel, tyrannical Blondie was now taking his orders, nay, behaving like a pet under his command, when all the Blondie had to do was throw him down by force and reinforce the balance of power between them. Why? Why was he doing it?

Just as Iason's head lowered to his feet, Riki's mind snapped back. He immediately reached down once again, stopping the Blondie from completing his task.

"Why are you doing this, Iason?" he asked in a broken voice, his emotions now breaking through to his face.

The question did bother a part of Iason's mind as well- that part which still insisted that he was a Great Blondie- To be worshiped and praised, feared and respected. He closed his eyes in remembrance as he composed his answer, feeling all that he had felt and more, as flashes of memory of the past passed by. The day they had met had become a memory of endearment, no more an event of simple curiosity. The day he captured Riki had become a permanent etch that branded his heart with bittersweet happiness. The day Riki had cheated on him had become a bolt of sorrow and pain rather than the possessive jealousy it had been. The day he had freed Riki… There were no words for that. And the day Riki returned to be his, and those that followed, a cherished memory that held him together even now. The day he had almost died, the day Riki thanked him for the first time ever, that moment in the clearing, the way he had been caressed by Riki's fingers, they were all charms that warded off his misery, even as he fell to the mongrel's feet, gifts he never wanted to forget… The answer was simple really.

The Blondie finally opened his eyes and smiled as his eyes also filled with warm water in response to the mongrel's own, and he spoke the truth this time, in a heartfelt, gentle, wondrous whisper.

"I love you, Riki."

All those tears that had been held in check slipped out in a slow trickle as Riki now heard those words spill out of the Blondie's mouth.

This couldn't be anything but the truth.

It didn't change reality, it didn't change anything; Iason was still condemned, they were still under house arrest, Jupiter was still angry, all the other Blondies, Raoul, still wanted him dead, all the pets outside still detested him, all the world still fucked up just the same, he was still probably going to be a corpse at dawn when he was separated from this Blondie, and yet... Yet, his heart soared in happiness, like it had never before.

He pulled the Blondie's face up and latched on to his lips, as if they were life-support, powerful, invading, conquering the kneeling being's existence. His fingers found their way to the Blondie's neck, and slowly moved to bury themselves in those golden locks, tightening in their grip as moments passed, accepting the Blondie's sudden whimper of surprise and pleasure. His body moved on it's own and removed itself from the bed, now kneeling, an equal, with the Blondie as he moved closer, seeking heat, seeking comfort, the kind that only this being could provide him with. His heart pulsed faster, harder, as his breath was stolen, as the Blondie accepted his advances.

Iason closed his eyes as tears threatened to appear, the choking feeling in his throat intensifying with every breath he took. He did not dare to move his hands, for he did not know if this was still revenge. Yet, this kiss shattered him, and with every harsh thrust of Riki's tongue, he felt as if he was being reborn.

Riki broke the kiss, still clinging to the Blondie's neck. He now looked up at Iason to see the Blondie eyes still in doubt. And he understood the dilemma. Iason was confused, as much as Riki had been in such situations.

"Is this still revenge?" he spoke the Blondie's mind. "You want to know right, Iason?"

The Blondie conveyed his assent with a nod. Riki didn't answer immediately. He smirked slyly as he got up from his position and looked at the Blondie's questioning eyes.

"Get up, Iason."

The Blondie obliged.

Riki looked at the master's expectant eyes and a mischievous twinkle entered his. Iason noticed this immediately and a slight smile of relief graced his lips, despite his torturous doubts of the mongrel's true emotions.

Riki traced on the Blondie's torso with his fingertips seductively, slowly, deliberately, testing him, and the master's eyes widened, savoring the picture, as if recording it in his memory, to never be erased. He drew closer, reaching out, on his toes, to throw his hands around the Blondie's neck, to pull him downwards to lock lips with him once more. This time, the Blondie did not hesitate to respond. Iason's arms encircled Riki's torso and pulled him up to keep him in place, lifting him up, resting his entire weight on himself. Riki whimpered slightly as he felt the pressure of the familiar tug on his chest as it pressed fully against its stronger counterpart.

Oh Jupiter! This time, his mongrel was gentle, so tender that he felt his impatience rise with every soft stroke of that tongue, with every delicate foray his fingers made on his neck, each subtle grind of his chest, and the yielding clinging of his hips. Iason's pressure on the boy's waist increased, inviting him, pleading him to be more forceful, to unleash all his passion this moment. But Riki again stopped, and smiled; he could feel the expectation emanating from the Blondie just as he could feel his own reaction to that emotion, and he looked down, muttering his response to it.

"Stop driving me crazy, Iason. I want this to last."

And the pressure on his waist immediately lessened, gently releasing the mongrel. Riki groaned at the sudden loss of contact as he was slowly lowered. His grip on the Blondie's neck increased as he compensated for the loss of support.

"That was sudden." said the young man as he pulled himself up and returned to kissing the Blondie once again.

Iason let out a trembling breath. It was taking all the control he had to stay like this as his pet did as he willed. All he wanted to do now was to throw the mongrel down and love him to his heart's content.

"Riki…" he whispered sultrily as he gently detached himself from the boy.

"Shh… I know, Iason."

Riki released his grip on the Blondie now and slowly reached out to unclasp the robes he wore, letting them fall away. He let his fingers roam over the chiseled features on the Blondie's torso for but a minute, before the need to get rid of the rest of the layers of his clothing, to see him as nothing but Iason, not his captor, not his master, but the hopeless pervert who claimed to love him, overtook his wishes and he immediately acted on it divesting the rest of the Blondie's usual attire.

Iason smiled as he raised a hand in mute invitation, calling the mongrel to him. And Riki did not hesitate to answer to the call. He smiled, as he covered the newly exposed skin by his own clothed body, his hands framing the Blondie's strong back and playing with the long golden locks that tickled his palms as he explored. His lips had again found anchoring with the Blondie's, now more passionate, interlacing with the master's more frequently, forcefully.

Iason sighed. He loved this, he wanted more. He wanted to claim Riki once again, but he wanted to claim all of him. His heart ached to learn the mongrel's answer. His ears longed to hear the truth of what Riki's lips seemed to be conveying through his kisses. He gasped slightly as the mongrel's tongue ventured deeper, eliciting from him a stronger need, a stronger ache deep in his core.

He withdrew to give his beloved some breathing space, as well as to coax the truth out of him.

"Riki… Your answer… I haven't heard your answer yet." he whispered.

The mongrel simply looked up, a challenging smile on his face.

"Tell me again."

"I will repeat it a thousand times, Riki, if only to dispel all your doubts, if only you would believe my truth… I love you, Riki."

A shudder passed through said mongrel when he heard these words again, reaffirming to him that he was not wrong to let this happen, he was not wrong to reciprocate.

"And you don't regret meeting me?"

The Blondie chuckled.

"I never did, and never will. I am only sorry that I didn't realize that you felt so much pain."

"What, am I not a lewd masochist who loves pain now? Didn't you say that so many times before?" he snickered, a note of sadness entering his eyes at the memories he had of those times.

The Blondie's eyes softened. There was a world of difference between the pain he had inflicted on the mongrel, nearly crushing his actual identity to mould him into a proper pet, and the pain the mongrel had forcefully converted into pleasure.

"The pain I put you through… It is different… not the same."**

Riki's eyes closed as he heard cognizance in that voice, and a sob of utter delight escaped him. Finally, Iason understood him. The Blondie might be the most perceptive of creatures, yet he was the most stubborn one as well. He had simply refused to understand. Riki conceded.

"Yes. They are different."

And the mongrel looked up apologetically, placing a palm on the cheek he had previously punched, his eyes shining in joy as he spoke jokingly.

"Sorry about that. Did it hurt?"

The Blondie closed his eyes and rested his face on the hand for a moment reveling in bliss, as he nodded. It had hurt his heart, not his face.

Riki smiled, stroking the skin tenderly.

"I had to do it you know." Riki chuckled in glee.

"Riki…" Iason didn't even pause for a moment to grasp what was being said, as his instincts took over seeing a joyful, playful Riki. He scooped the mongrel up and kissed him hard, allowing not even a gossamer thread of space between their bodies, crushing the mongrel to himself, as if he wanted them to be one here, now.

The mongrel did not panic, he did not struggle as his breath was squeezed out of him by the wild embrace. He gasped, chuckled slightly into the kiss, reveling in joy despite the pain he felt being robbed of breath. And pushed slightly when the need for air took over, at which the Blondie immediately eased up and let him go.

Riki backed away and undressed quickly, yet teasingly enough for the Blondie to let out a hum of appreciation as he stepped forward to join the pet. He then lay back on the bed, his hands gestured in an invite.

I love you too, you bastard.

The Blondie's eyes widened as the action alone incited an emotion in him that he didn't expect. Feral hunger and lust clouded his eyes as he instantly stepped onto the bed and captured the pet with his body. The mongrel let a moan of sheer desire freely pass his lips as the familiar feeling surrounded his heart. The Blondie froze. The will to rein in his desire almost disappeared, the slight thread of control almost snapped, yet he forced his mind back to the situation.

"Quiet, Riki." he sighed, trying his best to hide his desperate need. Those little sounds made him feel more and more of the frenzy he was trying to dam in.

The mongrel had positioned his arms behind Iason, sitting up as much as he could, sifting through his hair, moving it away, letting his hands slide through the skin of his neck, eliciting a fascinated shudder as the fingers tracked his spine. He followed it all the way to his tail-bone exerting the slightest pressure there before moving on to caress his hips and dig his nails into the flesh, urging the Blondie into action, as he pressed a lingering kiss to his collarbone.

Iason sighed with abandon. This mongrel was definitely his undoing. He had not only given up his pride, duties, loyalties, but had taken ultimate pleasure committing treason, just to feel… What was this feeling? Excitement? Joy? Thrill? Happiness? Insanity? Yes, that was the word. He had willingly done this to feel more of this insanity, to feel more of this delirium. He shuddered once more as the mongrel bit his skin and soothed it with his tongue, and returned once again to attach himself to the his lips.

While he had been busily involved in reducing the Blondie to a mess, Riki could not but accept that he was floating in euphoria. It felt as if he had won all the world, as if he was the master of everything, and everyone. He basked in this glory as he looked up at the Blondie, and muttered softly, wanting the Blondie genuinely, from the depth of his heart. The heat was starting to get unbearable.

"Won't you take lead, Iason?"

This was his limit. Iason gripped the mongrel's hair in his fist as he pushed him to lie fully on the bed and crushed him with his kiss. The mongrel returned every stroke, every caress, as he also ran his hands all over the master's back and begged him wordlessly for more. Riki's body undulated as his hands gripped around the Blondie's neck, holding his body securely against the other's, grinding himself up against the forceful being on top and hooked his legs around the his hips, pressing himself closer, harder into him.

The Blondie shivered, as he responded by placing a hand against the pet's back, while supporting them with the other, pulling the pet in further, while he also roughly thrust against him with total abandon. The fingers that tangled in his hair tightened in response, driving him mad, as the mongrel threw back his head, arched himself up, and moaned out loud, reaching his peak.

"That was… quick." The Blondie chuckled.

The pet did not make a sound.

"You wanted me so much?"

There was no response.

Iason sighed. "I wish you would be as honest with me Riki, as you were with..." he stopped himself from saying it.

As you were with Guy.

When there was no reply, the Blondie continued.

"Or is it that you don't feel anything for me?" he asked gently, mightily hurt once more, the trembling in his voice only slightly hidden.

At this, the mongrel finally breathed a sigh. He knew the pain of that anticipation, that uncertainty, very well. And he did not wish that upon the Blondie anymore.

"I do…" His voice was decisive, clear and gentle. "I do love you, Iason. And yes, I want you so much."

The Blondie closed his eyes and expelled a breath of supreme relief as he gathered the pet again in his arms, and squeezed him close. This moment, even if it would never repeat in his life, was the ultimate gift. To know now that the pet felt the same as him, to know now that they were equal, they understood each other and mirrored each other. It made him euphoric with relief.

Iason reached down with the tips of his fingers, softly caressing the mongrel's lips, his taut skin, those perky indents, all those sharp muscles, every dip, every curve, each spot he had discovered to be the mongrel's favorite, until he reached his beloved's desire. He looked deep into ebony eyes that flickered with fire, sunk into contentment, and touched the ring that had held him captive for so long. The ring immediately performed the function it was programmed to do, expanding, releasing the organ it had for so long strangled, and falling heavily onto the hand that had touched it.

Riki's eyes widened in surprise when he felt this, and a soft smile slowly crept to his face. He completely understood the Blondie's intention. And he knew that they no longer needed the ring.

You belong to me, with or without that.

Iason removed the device, brought it up to look at it one last time, before he flung it away towards a wall, which it struck and fell from, broken and useless, as it shattered, making a last tinkling noise of protest.

Riki heard the ring break and pulled the Blondie down again to show his appreciation.

"Thank you." he muttered, as he kissed the Blondie's neck, allowing the Blondie to do as he pleased, regaining the fervor of his desire.

The Blondie reiterated.

"I love you, Riki."

"Me too." said the mongrel, unhesitating as he succumbed to the Blondie's ministrations, as his breath hitched and he moaned in pleasure.

The shock of invading fingers was endured and welcomed, pleasure was sought even as pain threatened to take over. Sweat creased brows, and melded bodies together, as minds deserted the area, allowing carnal passions to take over reason, driving out inhibitions, as the need to possess overwhelmed everything else.

"Iason… Hnn... That's enough… I am ready."

The Blondie was only too eager to oblige. He thrust in the tight space, sampling, savoring what had long been his, given willingly in love. He now knew that the heart of this magnificent creature also belonged to him, and him alone.

"I love you." he declared again, wrenching a guttural moan from the mongrel who immediately tightened on response which proved fatal for both the lovers. For indeed, it was death and rebirth, to become one with his beloved.

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When morning arrived, neither the pet, nor the master wanted to move away from each other. They had spent the entire time glued together, and the night's passion simply refused to leave. They had both lost count of how many times they had sought each other willingly, happily, yet their need remained unquenched. But the hour of judgment neared, and the Blondie needed to go.

"Can we not run away, Iason? Elope, like forbidden lovers?" Riki asked jokingly when he felt the bed react to the Blondie sitting up to get ready. He knew that this was something Iason would loathe doing, yet… If only there was a way…

The Blondie sighed. "I wish we could." he answered honestly.

But they both knew that this was impossible.

"Riki… I instructed Katze to come get you. He is to take you under his wing as soon as he can. But Katze is not authorized to enter Eos. And he cannot hack his way in… But I think I can get the captain we met yesterday to sneak you out… If he agrees, would you please go with him and get to Katze?"

"But your will… Pets are property, am I wrong?"

"If it is accepted... Raoul is to take care most of what I leave, including the penthouse. I cannot leave you to him. But… Wills are not usually valid in this case. It has been so for everyone who has been sentenced. There is very little reason to think that Jupiter would consider me above the laws like that, considering my current position. And… You are a mongrel. A mongrel without a pet ring is not a pet. He does not belong to any master. You will be apprehended and thrown back into the slums at the best, or imprisoned and punished at the worst. Considering Jupiter's opinion about you…" he shook his head. "But without the ring, you are free, Riki. Run away. And find Katze... He will know what to do." he added bitterly.

"As if I will ever run away. Come on, Iason, I am a mongrel! My safety, my worth is in my grit! I will stand and face-"

Iason's eyes narrowed and the glance silenced the pet. The Blondie shook his head. Although it was true that a brave Riki, the Varja of the slums was mighty, he was not invincible. And that was not a risk he could afford.

"I know. But, you cannot stay here, Riki. I will not allow that. If it was up to me, I would take you far away, out of Amoi, deep into the center of the galaxy. Please… Just once, please cooperate with me... Do it for me?" He paused rethinking his stratagem at the unchanged look in the mongrel's eyes, unhesitating as he lied. "Promise me that you will survive so that some day I could come back to you."

The mongrel started at that, knowing that it was a lie to get him to leave somehow. Yet, the absurdity of the notion struck him and he gathered his breath, preparing to fire a round of fiery expletives at the stupidity of such an expectation instead of making for a break right then, before he recognized the solemnity in the Blondie's endeavor. Iason still adhered to his duty. Riki nodded his head silently in acquiescence. To Iason, Jupiter and Amoi were just as important. And he could not give up the last pride he had as a Blondie, as the leader of so many, by exhibiting cowardice, by running away.

"Is there nothing I can do, Iason?" he asked weakly, already in full awareness of the answer he would receive. There really was no guarantee for what would happen and in that case, Iason wouldn't tell him even if there was a way.

The Blondie looked down, sliding his fingers through glossy black hair as he smirked and responded.

"You could confess again..." a sly tone creeping into his voice.

"Don't fuck with me, you pervert."

Iason just chuckled softly before he heard a small "But... I love you, you bloody fiend."

Iason sighed, wanting more than anything to just stay there staring at his lover and hold time still for eternity.

"You need to get ready too, Riki. If I am not wrong, Jupiter will soon send a team to come get you too." he spoke ruefully.

Riki nodded his head absently, still thinking. He could escape, it was a only matter of timing and caution; a very tricky situation nonetheless. But he could do it. And he would do it for Iason. But... Riki furrowed his brows in thought as he looked at his lover, his eyes filled with doubts. He didn't have to say it for the Blondie to understand.

What about you, Iason?

"Don't worry about me, pet. If I live, if I still am the same person, I will come for you. If not… Forgive me, forget everything, and live."

"That is the cruelest fucking thing I have ever heard." the mongrel whispered bitterly.

The Blondie smiled, as he placed a hand on the man's head, smoothing his hair as he spoke.

"I am indeed a sadist, am I not?"

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A live painting of a dancing, angry crimson flame with the crackle of destruction as accompaniment. That was what Dana Burn had become. And he shook his head in sorrow as he saw the fire rise up and down, as if laughing at his helplessness. He could almost hear the wails of sorrow of all the people he had known, he had abandoned, when he had left Amoi, chastising him that he hadn't even returned for their death, he hadn't even cared about their fate. And now, as their memorial was destroyed, he could do nothing but watch it burn with stinging eyes. He cursed his vulnerable humanity.

It did not surprise him that the fire had been allowed to persist, no squads of emergency teams had come to put it out. Dana Burn was after all a wilderness outside life, too far away, too abandoned to care. Which was the reason it was his most favorite spot in all of Amoi. These bunkers, these mines had been his refuge, his own little sanctum during his childhood, filled only with the usual workers who left him alone to his thinking in an even more abandoned corner. He sighed running a finger across the end of his eyes, wiping the hint of what was a tear drop.

But he did not waver in his wish. He had decided, so it would be done no matter how far his plans had been sabotaged by fate.

Commander Gaylon panicked as he stood behind the man looking at the ruins. The landing was horrible. They were near Dana Burn, and since the bunkers had been destroyed, so had been the landing site. The terrain around the mines had not been friendly to the old rattling piece of technology. It was most likely that he would not be able to fly the piece of crap again. So, not only did they have no transport, but now they had no cover, for the place that was to be their base was burning. They were open to any and all forces that could choose this moment to end their brief stay on Amoi, or maybe even the universe. And as a soldier, as a commander, if he hated something, then it was powerlessness and the panic that came with it.

He turned to the old man who stood stock still looking at the ruins, intent on having an answer to his earlier ignored question.

"What are we going to do now?" he barked, trying to capture attention.

The ancient being chuckled hearing the anxiety in the tone of the pilot of his ship. The boy was fired up and literally snarling at him. He was just begging to be teased, wasn't he?

But... The mere display of energy had him admiring the boy. Youth had its advantage as well as weakness, did it not? Patience was indeed a virtue that pervaded the mind as it aged and ripened.

He let out a final sigh thinking of all those who had died here, and bowed his head slightly in apology and respect before responded with his still facing the fire. "Well," he began, "It wasn't my fault that someone foiled a perfectly simple landing plan and crashed my craft because he was too distracted thinking about his wife…" he added begrudgingly.

And he saw the commander turn red once again, this time most probably in rage, as he shouted, "Leave my wife out of this!" The ancient chuckled at the response.

Gaylon fumed. He was nothing like Iason Mink. This old man was shameless, and had a one-track perverted mind; he was nothing like Iason Mink, he corrected in his mind. But he had to accept the other accusation. It was perhaps his inexperience that led to the old space ship crashing down on Amoi with little control.

"Relax, boy." the man said as he dramatically turned his back to the ghostly fire, the light producing an eerie orange-red glow around his silhouette, and answered the boy.

"I know Amoi as well as I know the back of my hand. And I know how to get what I want." he said thoughtfully, before smiling widely and throwing a flippant gesture in the air. "Trust me, boy. Those who trust the Great Khryses Rayner, shall never be let down."

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He was ready. All that needed to be done had been done. He was dressed in his ornate official robes, as if for war, as if for death. He did not hold any passion for what he wore, though never once was he sloppy, or unprofessional. But this was the one occasion of his lifetime that would never return. It mandated that he should be perfect and proper. He was the head of Tanagura after all.

Iason took one final look at his beautifully shining, perfect hair and scoffed at himself as he turned around and walked to the great hall. Captain Rimus Grimn awaited him there. He looked to the bed to find it empty, and smiled as he quickened his steps. Riki was there too.

Riki stood leaning on the wall closest to his make-shift eating table looking closely at the entrance to the Blondie's bedchamber. He growled in his mind, disgruntled at the turn of events. It didn't have to happen like this. Iason had done nothing wrong. Except falling in love with him… which was perhaps a pretty punishable crime for Blondies. He looked away in anger. Even so, it didn't have to be like this. It wasn't too late even now to make a break for it.

"What… What is he accused of?" the captain asked unexpectedly.

Riki turned at the sudden question, puzzled by the platina's curiosity. Why did he want to know? Did he intend to spread more rumors?

"Hell if I know." he answered brusquely.

Before the Captain could make one more word of how the mongrel's address was rude, the answer to his question was given by the Blondie himself who had chosen that moment to enter the scene.

"Treason." he answered plainly with a sly smile.

The Captain froze where he was, delivering the Blondie a stiff bow to acknowledge his entrance. Iason nodded in return.

Riki looked at the Blondie's imposing stature, dressed royally in ornate blue and gold, and stood transfixed. Those robes would look extravagant on anyone, even many Blondies, but Iason. They suited Iason so well, as if they were a second skin. As if it was his birth-right to be so regal. He basked in the truth of the Blondie's absolute authority, and then smirked remembering the previous night. His Blondie's authority, he corrected himself.

"Are you to take me to Jupiter?" the Blondie asked Captain Grimn.

"I am to be here at guard until either Lord Zavi or Lord Am come to escort you to Jupiter Tower, your Excellency. I am to await orders after that."

The Blondie nodded his assent and then turned towards the pet who now looked to him in anxiety. He did not spare a glance toward the platina anymore as he approached his pet, and took the boy in a soft embrace.

The pet neither fought, nor shied away; he accepted the embrace with eagerness. Riki wrapped his arms around Iason and returned it just as softly.

"Dressed for war?" he whispered, running a long finger along the clasp that tethered the cloak that fell across Blondie's back, along the sleek muscles, and then released him from his embrace to take a step back.

The Blondie chuckled following his step, holding him closer once again.

"I am to meet my maker." he smiled and continued. "It is decorum that I be dressed my best."

Riki grimaced at those words. It was not all lost, even now. They could escape even now. They could make it out in a flash, somehow. He looked up at the Blondie. The almost serene smile on his face irritated him, but he knew that arguing with Iason about this was a lost cause. He would be completely trumped by the Blondie's logic even before the battle began. So he focused on his escape plans.

"It doesn't seem as if I will have any space to slip away, Iason. Besides, I am tired from all the fucking. I think I will just lie down on the ground and wait for you here." he said honestly with a smile.

Iason tensed, as he responded.

"The circumstance isn't right right now, Riki. But trust me, you will see the opening when you see it." his voice trailed and he smiled in return. Frankly though, even Iason did not know how Riki would escape. But he trusted the mongrel. If Riki was motivated to do it, he would do it, come what may. And he had already constructed an unexpected surprise for Jupiter, which should help Riki at least a bit in his endeavor. What it rested on now was the mongrel's will to make it to safety. Riki placed his chin on the crook of Iason's neck and placed a soft lingering kiss there, before disengaging himself from those arms, and pulling the Blondie down for a deeper, more meaningful kiss.

The front door opened at that same moment and Raoul entered.

"Cease that." he muttered in exasperation at the two engrossed lovers, which elicited a knowing chuckle from the Blondie as he pulled away from his beloved to address his friend.

"Am I allowed a word of parting? Or is that too forbidden?"

Raoul huffed in anger, but he barked out an affirmative, and to make it quick.

Iason slowly leaned down to Riki's ear once more, planting a small kiss there, and voiced in a hoarse menacing tone, with all the force of his will. "I will have you punished if you break your promise. Do as I asked Riki, or you will pay for it." And he stepped away to join Raoul.

It sent chills through Riki to hear that voice again. But this time, not because he was afraid or aroused.

"Good Luck, master." he called out to the Blondie who now began swiftly walking to the door.

Iason turned around one last time and smiled.

"Good luck to you too, my Riki."


And so we come to the end of Chapter 20! XDD Forgive me for doing what I did... I had no choice. The Bunnies threatened to kill... I actually feel bad for Iason. :| XD

Now I will explain the *'s (did you notice?! XD)

** So… I know you guys are pervy and went- "WTH'd you mean- that pain and this are different? Riki is a bloody masochist in the canon-verse- he loves all kinds of pain! 0.0" Yes. That may be true… to an extent...^^"" (Meaning I don't agree with that... XD) You see, Riki isn't usually/normally a masochist, at least IMHO. That is the reason why he keeps rebelling. (Well, pride is also one of the main motives, but that pride, self respect and (that adorable XDD) arrogance are his innate characters… While turning pain into pleasure is an… acquired trait...? Am I making sense…? o.0) Iason kinda turns him into one, what with all the drugs, the ring, etc… So yes, the pain of having one's own character/self forcefully taken away, to be replaced by something one doesn't even respect, is a different pain from "Oh god that hurts, please give me more!" pain. XDDD Iason knows this. He acknowledges it- Riki is a rare animal- one that accepts reality, accepts his status in the food chain, yet strives against it because of his individual nature. Or... so I think… (^_^;) Feel free to criticize! :D

* Same Quote! XDDDD This is the reason why this chappie was split. Length… yes… it is big... But why didn't I make it two chappies...? That is because of the quote. (Yep! Lazy me! XDDD) The quote was chosen with the idea of having one chappie where all this happens. That way, the title would apply to everyone. All the characters here are bound by something or the other to follow what has been ordered/decided. Everything is connected to the other, and dependent on it because of some basic feeling, and that drives the dynamics. As I read somewhere… (Forgot where… :|) "We are all slaves as long as there is something we feel deeply about, no matter what role you take on." (At least this is the basic point of not the exact sentence... ^^"") This idea, I find to be very true in various levels. After all, everything we do, is consciously or unconsciously ruled by what we hold dearest to our hearts, ne? :) That idea is kinda what made me write it like this… :DD So again, you're welcome to criticize and give me deep opinions if you have thought about this! (^u^)

And lastly…. YES, I am trying to bring in some humor to AnK, pathetic as it may be... Sue me! XDDD The fact of the matter is, it is very exhausting to write negative emotions always, (especially when you feel like you're riding on a dragon, following a rainbow, looking for the ocean of gold and all this is actually inside your ginormous bag! XDDDDDD Yes… I was kinda high… :|) and I really needed a break from writing- He cried… :| XDDDD So I thought I'd play again with what I could! XDDD At least, I am happy that I didn't go with the scene in my mind (Which was- Riki looking at Iason's royal attire and saying- "Oh wow, you look like a princess!" It was soooooooo tempting, I even wrote it! Grrr… Trust me, it worked PERFECTLY in my mind at that moment! XDDDDD)

As always, thank you for reading, all your reviews, follows and favs! Cookies all around! :D If I have made too many mistakes, please don't hesitate to tell me about it! And feel free to drop a message/comment detailing your thoughts about the story! (and the rant above! XDDD) Te iu ka... Review, onegai? =^.^= XDDDDD

Have a fantastic week everyone! Much love to you all! \(^u^)/