Brothers in Arms
by Dark Amethyst

Chapter 14

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= = = R = = =

Time has passed. Day upon day. Or rather, night everlasting. The only thing that marks the dismal passage of time here is an occasional solemn ringing sound after which the youma melt away briefly, down a long dark passage. After watching them do this twice, I followed hesitantly to learn their destination – a form of ‘mess hall’ where they line up to receive what must be called, for lack of another word, food. Mess might indeed be more accurate. But I was glad enough to get it that first day, having gone who knows how long without eating anything at all.

My stomach is no longer a morbid concern, anyway. But it’s been so long since I’ve truly slept, I feel I’m on the edge of madness. Ever and always these youma stare at me, and however exhausted I am, I can only allow myself a fitful doze, with one eye half-open, terrified of what they might do to me should I let my guard down. And I’m afraid as well that if I sleep, I might miss some development of significance in the world of Zoicite and Kunzite.

They have been busy, certainly. I’ve learned that all 7 nijizuishou have been found, some brought back in triumph, some cursed viciously over, apparently lost to the enemy. Zoicite has declined progressively, spiraling from manic happiness to edgy paranoia as Beryl’s disapproval of him increases. Kunzite, though, remains unchanged - placid and dark as still water under a new moon.

They are here now, and I watch them intently as always, my eyes narrowed in a perpetual glare. I feel bloody-minded and cynical, angry and contemptuous. Whether it’s my lack of sleep, or the permeating evil of the dark energy all around me, my moods now are appallingly black. I could kill cheerfully…drink blood as wine.

Zoicite is pacing about as usual, restlessly describing a new plan of his - a half-assed one (in my humble opinion). He has discovered a way to use his kurozuishou to turn humans into youma. As if this place weren’t rife with idle youma already. But then I learn…it’s Naru he’s after. It’s not the prospect of a new youma, but the prospect of torment – Zoicite’s favorite spice.

Kunzite has been standing quietly, his arms folded over his chest, watching Zoicite stride around the room. His expression is doubtful…perhaps disapproving. As Zoicite passes, Kunzite reaches out to catch him by the shoulders and turns him rather forcefully to face him, sliding his hands down, pulling the smaller man against him.

I watch, feeling a flush of vague, low-minded arousal. There’s been very little of this sort of thing lately, from what I’ve seen - Zoicite far too busy…understandably worried about his fate. And he won’t cooperate now either, damn him. He tilts his head away from Kunzite’s caressing hand, and pulls away entirely, complaining of tiredness and distraction…speaking to Kunzite more sharply and indeed disrespectfully than I’ve ever heard before. Kunzite’s eyes narrow dangerously and Zoicite apologizes in a softer voice, but disappears none-the-less.

Kunzite, left alone now, begins pacing as Zoicite did, but more slowly, with less energy than frustration, his eyes still narrowed, his hands fisted. He makes a slow circuit of the room twice, then pauses at the edge of the pool of darkness…and glances this way.

My heart gives a sudden double beat. I was convinced that he’d forgotten me utterly. But apparently I’m not that lucky. He steps further into the darkness, probably not yet able to see me. I could disappear, but no doubt the youma would rat me out. And I couldn’t come back either, if Kunzite finds me missing.

He can’t merely call me – he never did ask my name. He must physically seek me out. He steps slowly closer, a shadow now in the blackness, the other youma rising to attention as he passes…until eventually he stops before me. Despite my desire to remain defiantly seated, I stand stiffly, wise enough to remember the results of his previous displeasure. I bow my head to hide my insolent expression, which I can’t seem to alter.

“My lord,” I murmur, my voice sounding unfamiliar to me – a sound unheard for many days.

A flash surrounds us, and once again we are in Nephrite’s cold chamber…plainly our designated ‘trysting’ place. Nothing has changed here - the bed still rumpled…shattered glass on the which Kunzite shortly orders me to kneel.

I don’t smell sadism…not like Zoicite, who I’m certain would put Le Marquis himself to shame. Kunzite has just not noticed. In a hurry, apparently - not even taking the luxury of the bed - sitting down on the chair and freeing his already hard sex.

I haven’t moved since we arrived, and don’t move at his command either, seeming paralyzed…wishing myself away.

“Come here,” he repeats, not happy with having to, a look in his eye that says he won’t ask again.

I force myself out of my stupor, moving slowly over to him, lowering myself gingerly onto my knees, trying to distance myself from the task…to separate my mind from my body.

I put out my tongue, trailing it along him hesitantly, wishing I could close my eyes…but Kunzite suddenly seizes my hair in one fist and my jaw in the other, and shoves himself deeply into my mouth. My body tenses in protesting revulsion, but it makes no difference to him. The hand on my jaw slides up to join the other, tangled firmly in my hair…pulling and pushing me roughly along him…back to the brink, then deeper still. Faster. Harder. Kunzite groaning already, his head back, a feral snarl on his lips, his eyes closed…unseeing…or perhaps seeing someone else.

Tears run down my cheeks and I choke and wretch as he goes too far and, plainly liking that sensation, plunges even further, into my throat. I struggle now, vainly, with the desperation born of fear, and lack of oxygen. I could bite him, but it would hardly save me. It would be the last thing I ever did. The only consolation I have is that it sounds like Kunzite is nearly there. He pulls back for a brief moment to allow me to snatch breath, then slides back relentlessly within. Desperately I suck on him - hard, as hard as I can. Anything. Any fucking thing to get this over with. He snarls even louder at this, thrusting more shallowly to take advantage, then finally, with a near shout, pulling my head savagely down to plunge his entire length inside me, his flesh pulsing in my mouth as he empties himself within me.

He holds me down forever, apparently lounging in post-orgasmic bliss, until my struggles beneath his hands become violent enough to attract his attention. And even then, he merely draws himself calmly from me, pushing me away with his palm on my forehead, as if bored or contemptuous of me…letting his head hang back again, eyes closed.

I close my eyes as well, hanging my head low, nearly rolling into a ball over my knees, wishing I could die…wishing he would die…my whole body trembling.

After a brief moment or two, Kunzite stands up and tidies his clothes. Again I am certain that he has forgotten me, but just before he disappears, he turns to look down at me sternly.

“Back to your place,” he orders, and then is gone.

In one second more, I am gone also – not back to Kunzite’s miserable tower, but to the serene rose-coloured light of Nephrite’s ‘cathedral’.

I call to him, again and again, still kneeling, feeling, in this room, as if my cries are a kind of desperate prayer.

Nephrite does not appear, but I hear my name softly spoken and turn to see Jadeite hurrying down the stairs, dressed in jeans, pulling a shirt over his head. When he reaches me, he crouches down next to me, saying my name again, putting his arms around me tentatively. I fall into his embrace, and abandon myself to woe so utterly, I hardly know what I’m saying. I spill out everything – Kunzite’s kindly treatment of me, my constant terror of Zoicite and the youma, my hunger, my lack of sleep, my isolation and despair, and finally all my bewildered feelings about Nephrite – his coldness with me, his apparent disgust.

Jed holds me solidly as I rant and cry - he says nothing, just letting me empty myself. When I’m finally finished, and I’m just clinging to his warm chest, wanting never to let go…he turns my face up to his…and kisses me.

Nothing he could possibly have said could have helped me as this does... His warm soft lips meet mine so tenderly at first, comforting, questioning…but as the kiss widens, deepens, demands, explores…my mind falls away, worries vanish.

Long long moments later, when he’s stroking my brow, and I’m gazing lost into those hypnotic blue eyes…his brows knit in sadness.

“Don’t go back,” he begs softly. I’m floating so contentedly on this cloud of bliss, I almost say, “Back where?” But then I remember. And I realize the time that’s passed. And I think again of what’s at stake. I think of Nephrite.

I pull away abruptly, and get to my feet, blushing, feeling slightly guilty…feeling ashamed of my weakness. And yet…I feel better. More human. I remember what ‘human’ feels like. I’m ready to return.

“I have to,” I tell Jadeite, who gets up as I do, looking unhappy but not hurt. “Something big has got to go down there soon, with all the nijizuishou found…”

And then I remember, and tell Jed quickly about Zoicite’s plan for Naru.

“You’d better go and tell Nephrite,” I say. “I’ve got to hurry. If Kunzite finds me gone he’ll kill me for certain.” No…he’ll ‘give’ me to Zoicite, as he promised. What will I tell him, if he corners me? That I fell asleep?

“Take care of yourself, Rachael.”

Nephrite’s last words to me. But I see in Jed’s eyes that he actually means them.

“Thank you,” I tell him, stumblingly, trying to say something more but finding no words. I can only repeat dumbly, “Thank you.”

= = = N = = =

It’s been a hard morning. I’m so relieved to see Jadeite materialize beside me that I don’t even question his earliness – so sick of ‘girl-talk’, so sick of idiocy…so sick of idiot girls. I’m in a filthy foul mood.

“God I’m glad to see you,” I tell him quietly, under my breath, as we move carefully away from the building I’ve been haunting. “I’ve had enough. It’s been a convention today – all of them together. You know what that’s like.”

“Something up?” Jed asks. He seems distant. Angry, perhaps. Not himself, certainly.

“They’ve remembered a little. Only enough to confuse them. It’s driving me nuts. They’re looking for the princess. How hard is it to figure out?”

Jadeite looks at me sidelong.

“Was it easy for you to remember?”

“It was different for us,” I reply dismissively, not wanting to pursue it further. I stop walking and regard Jed. “So, what are you doing here so early? Couldn’t sleep?”

“Rachael came back,” he states, looking at me unsmilingly. “She says Zoicite has plans for Naru. You’re supposed to watch her.”

What, when, why? A typical Rachael report. It’s not much to go on.

“I will. I’ve put a protection field around Naru already…just in case. But I’ll watch her tonight. Anything else? What’s the matter with you?”

Jadeite is glaring daggers at me now, radiating fury.

“You don’t even ask about her!” he accuses me, “You don’t give a damn. You should have seen the state Rachael was in. You have no idea what she’s going through – for you!”

“I have a very good idea what she’s going through, and why, and it’s none of your business,” I tell him with finality, turning away from him, from this subject.

“It IS my business – when I’m the one that has to see her like that,” Jed shouts, actually shoving me to get my attention back. “You make her do this for you, and…”

“I didn’t make her do anything,” I correct, spinning around to face him, raising my hands unconsciously in defence. “She chose to go. And keep your hands off me.”

“You know damn well she’s doing it for you,” Jed presses, “You know damn well how she feels about you. Dark kingdom be damned – it’s YOU that’s making her miserable! How can you treat her so fucking badly? She thinks you hate her!”

“And I do hate her,” I snarl savagely, stepping forward to seize Jadeite by his shirt, bringing my face close to his. “I hate the very sight of her now. The very thought. Don’t you think I know what I’m doing? What I’ve done? Everything I’ve done or said to her, from the very beginning…reminds me of what I was. A traitor. A monster. Everything I can’t forgive myself for being, she embodies. And I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to help her.” I drop my hands as my passion recedes, then shake my head, bewildered.

“And I know I shouldn’t allow her to do what she’s doing. But I need her. So I’m risking her life. And that is evil I can’t even blame Beryl for.”

Jed doesn’t speak, staring at me a bit wide-eyed. I turn away from him, smoothing my shirt, trying to clear my mind.

“You could tell Rachael that,” Jed finally says quietly, the accusation gone from his tone. “She’s completely in the dark. She loves you.”

“I know she does,” I answer thickly, trying to block a thousand memories from my mind. “Don’t think I don’t know. My greatest sin. My greatest regret. And I don’t know how to fix it. I can’t break my own damn spell. Besides. There’s no time to deal with it now,” I sigh, shaking my head. “I’ve got to get to Naru-chan. You’ll have to stay here, and keep an eye on the senshi.”

Jadeite nods obediently, not saying a word, just damning me with his miserable eyes.

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return to Index / go to Chapter 15

The Nephrite and Naru Treasury