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Walking With The Dead

by P L Nunn


Chapter Thirteen


"Rowan, the doctor did not tell you, you could get up yet."

Sai was hovering. Sai was wanting very badly to put his hands on Rowan and arrange him back into the hospital bed the way Sai thought he was supposed to be. Rowan swatted a nervous, annoying hand away and tried to ignore Sai's anxious presence. At least for a little bit. At least until he got his land legs back. He felt a little woozy from the percodan he'd downed about a half hour ago. A little fuzzy behind the eyes, but not much. The creaking pain in his ribs was more than enough to off set the faint desire to curl up and take a nap. He'd been napping for too damn long. He'd napped through two pow wow's with Mia and her very knowledgeable, very love lorn, (if Rowan was any judge) post doctorate expert on all things ancient Egyptian.

He thought they were making some leeway. He thought they'd come up with an awful lot of interesting supposition based on the few facts they knew about the dead chick inhabiting Seiji. Kento had called forty five minutes ago wanting Sai to come down to the university library because they'd come up with something. Rowan would be damned if some important piece of the puzzle was going to be revealed and he wasn't there. And he was sick of the hospital. He was sick of lying in bed. He was sick of hospital food. He was sick of the large, gargoyle faced nurse that insisted on being the dictator of his present world. In short, he wanted out and he didn't care how much it hurt in the process.

"I can fucking stand by myself, Sai." He waved Sai away with much the same agitation as he might shoo an insistent fly.

"Rowan." Sai stood there and wrung his hands, eyes huge with worry, the rigid line of determination his lips had been set in melting when Rowan began cursing at him. "I should go and get the doctor and ask.---"

"Go and ask him to dance for all I care. I'm getting out of here. Get my clothes."

"But, Rowan --"

"Listen, if I was that bad off, I'd know it, right. I'd be like, bleeding from the eyes or something, or screaming in pain. Am I? Do I look like I'm breathing my last breath? Huh? So chill out and go and find my pants like a good boy and maybe snag me some more of those percodons and everything will be all right. 'Kay?"

Sai stared at him, lower lip trembling.

"Okay, Sai?"

"Its not okay." Sai muttered, but went to the closet and rummaged about for Rowan's clothing. He came back with pair of nicely pressed jeans and a button down, black flannel shirt. Rowan had to sit back down to don the jeans and the flexibility it took to perform the simple act of getting his arms into the sleeves of the shirt took a great amount of effort and cost him more pain than he'd really wanted to pay for a little freedom. He was sweating lightly by the time he was dressed and Sai had that look on his face that said, I told you so, dummy. But, he was intelligent enough not to voice the opinion.

The nurse glared intimidatingly when he declared he was signing himself out and Sai had an almost tearful little whispered conversation with the doctor and came back to Rowan looking stern and newly saturated with moral fortitude. He had a wad of prescriptions in his hand.

"The doctor said that if you insisted on traipsing about, that you ought not wear yourself out and that you shouldn't go out without a coat, because if you got sick it would be very bad and that you're to keep on the antibiotics and that you are absolutely not to smoke and to stay away from alcohol because it doesn't mix with the medicines and --"

"Sai." Rowan held up a hand. Sai was making his head hurt. "Please. I'm not going out to fight the evil dynasty today. I swear. Lets just go meet Kento and the professor. And I'll drive."

"You most certainly will not. You can barely walk straight and I know how much pain killers can effect the reflexes." Sai sniffed and held out Rowan's jacket for him to stiffly shove his arms into.

"Yes, you would. Being an expert at handing them out and all."

Sai sniffed again and looked offended. Rowan sighed and shuffled out, trying not to limp, even though it seemed a reflexive way of protecting his aching body. Sai wanted to help him. Sai's hand kept sneaking under his elbow and he kept shaking it off, not wanting to seem the invalid in front of witnesses.

They got into the jeep and Sai drove with all the decorum and caution of Rowan's grandmother towards the university. It wasn't a long drive. The hospital was in the middle of the city and the campus not more than five miles away. Sai made it seem like twenty, but eventually they got there.

It was a hellish walk from the parking space Sai finally found -- parallel parking was not a talent he possessed -- to the university library. And then they had to traverse long dusty aisles in the forgotten back bowels of the library to find Kento and their Egyptologist.

"Rowan?! What the hell are you doing here?" Was the greeting he got from Kento, who was sprawled in a chair with a half eaten pizza and a collection of empty soda cans in front of him. A very pale skinned, black haired young man looked up from the text he was reading at their appearance. The combination of the obviously dyed hair and the entirely black wardrobe hinted at the cultural statement he was trying to make. He looked like he belonged in some Goth club as opposed to the cluttered, dusty depths of a library.

"So what's the big news?" Rowan was too achy for pleasantries.

"Where's Mia?" Sai wanted to know.

"Oh, she had some meeting with a professor or something." Kento said. The young scholar sighed at the mention of her absence. His name was Crellwess, if Rowan recalled. Of course it could have been Cruella Deville and he might not have remembered accurately, considering the state he'd been in over the last week.

"Fine. Whatever. What's up?"

"You look like shit, man." Kento observed cheerfully.

"I told him that." Sai piped up. Rowan glared at the both of them, abolishing his limp with an effort in the walk over to the table and the very welcoming hard backed chair. He sat down and stared pointedly, waiting.

"Ahem. Well." Crellwess cleared his throat. He had an accent that drifted somewhere between Seiji's perfect American English and Sai's crisp British pronunciation. "We really know so little about that time -- as far as concrete facts go. So much of the written history was destroyed you know."

"I know. You told us, already."

"Did you know that almost every representation of Anenhotep was destroyed, and yet the bust of Nefertiti that we all know so well, was found in perfect condition? Odd, don't you think? There's a theory that even after she fell out of favor with him, that she still had a very loyal and very powerful following. Almost cult like in its devotion. She was shrewd and politically savvy in her own right. Perhaps more so than Anenhotep who was obsessed with the spread of the new religion he was trying to impress upon Egypt. Or at least upper class Egypt. The commoners still worshipped the old gods."

"We've gone over this." Rowan's back hurt. His ribs were kind enough to remind him of their fractured state with each and every breath. Sitting here listening to dry archeological prattle was not high on his list of things to do. He wanted to get to the meat of the matter and Goth-boy insisted on going over stuff he'd already bombarded them with. "What do you have that's new?"

"Well, I've been in touch with several colleagues and done some research in the old microfiles. I think I've come up with the possible incantation used to imprison her ba or her soul within a vessel that kept her from freely passing into the netherworld. Someone must have had a great grievance with her for doing so. To the ancient Egyptians the passage of the ba into the netherworld and its eventual reunion with the deceased was a very serious thing. Her ba may even had wilted away during that very long time imprisoned without a body to house it leaving behind her ka, which is sort of an astral double, or an abstract duplicate of the deceased which strives after a place to dwell. Now the first choice of a dwelling place would have been the corpse, but that was denied her, and her ka magically trapped in something similar to a ka-statue, which is what your friend found when he released her. She apparently needed the consent of a living vessel to transfer out of this prison."

"You said that her ba might have -- died." Sai said. "I thought that in Egyptian mythology the ba and ka were part and partial?"

"They're supposed to be, but obviously someone wanted to punish our long dead queen and denied her her resurrection in the netherworld. It's very possible that if all that's left of her is her ka that she's lost some essential part of her self. It might even explain why -- according to you -- her behavior has been so -- erratic."

"Erratic?" Kento lifted a brow. "More like psychotic."

"Okay, so how do we get her out of him and back into whatever it is we need to store her ka in?"

"Uh, I don't think we can." Crellwess admitted.

Rowan blinked. Sai opened his mouth and shut it. Rowan leaned forward and blinked again. "What?"

"I don't think it's possible to force her out. Her ka has had an awful long time to take root."

"You mean Seiji's stuck with her?" Sai whispered, stricken.

"I would imagine so. If there's much left of him."

"What do you mean by that?" Rowan asked slowly. "Can she fuck with him permanently?"

"There are fables about the occasional ka denied its rightful home that had taken up residence in some unlucky living body and either driven the living soul mad or repressed the bodies rightful ka and ba to the point that they no longer had a will of their own."

"Will it kill him?" Sai asked.

"Well, no, actually. Killing him is the last thing she'd want to do. If he died then her ka as well as his would be homeless until they could reunite with the corpse on the other side. In fact killing him might be the only way to force her out, if you want the plain truth."

"Oh, no." Sai chewed on a knuckle, looking at Rowan for some sort of helpful, optimistic suggestion. Rowan wasn't feeling very optimistic at the moment.

"Well killing Seiji's sort of not in the game plan." Kento grunted, looking disgusted with the whole thing.

"It most certainly isn't!" Sai agreed emphatically. "I thought you'd come up with something more helpful than that."

Crellwess frowned. "Well, we're dealing with theory here. The whole thing is rather far fetched to begin with and I'm doing my best to come up with a reasonable explanation."

"We're sort of beyond reasonable here." Rowan said quietly, massaging the bridge of his nose thoughtfully.

Sai nodded in agreement and added. "And if you've gone to this much trouble we've got to assume you at least believe in the possibility of what we've told you, so lets go a step further and come up with a way of getting this horrible creature out of Seiji."

"I don't think she was a horrible person." Crellwess said. "I think she was a good queen and a popular one. A foreign princess that married into the line and had to make the best of it. I think it was the separation of the ba and ka from the body and the eventual dissimulation of the ba that has warped her."

"Does it matter?" Kento said bitterly. "It doesn't make any of the things she's done any less bad just because she used to be a decent person."

Crellwess chewed on a nail worriedly. "I'll keep looking, but I really don't think we're going to find a way to draw her out before she completely subsumes your friend, if she hasn't already done so."

"Well, then," Rowan said carefully. "Our only option may be to kill Seiji."

Ryo drifted to the surface by degrees. It was a murky, sunless journey and filled with a latent pain that insistently tried to press him back down into oblivion. Stubbornly he fought against it, struggling up those last precious measures to break the surface of consciousness.


Of a hard, cool surface under his body. Of dusty air that smelled vaguely unclean. Of the distant humm of voices, of which the words held no meaning. Of a bad taste in his mouth and something dried and crusty preventing his left eye from opening. He lifted a hand and rubbed at his eye. Blinked it open and winced at the impact of indirect sunlight. It hurt. It drove right in behind his pupils and stabbed maliciously at his brain. He felt the need to vomit, but held back with an effort. It was dried blood crusting his eye. There was a trail of it coming down from his hairline. The way his head was pounding it felt like there must have been a crack in his skull the size of a chasm.

There wasn't. It was just a large, tender lump that had bled a lot, but had now stopped. His hair was matted with dried blood around the spot. It made him worry about how long he'd been under.

He was on his stomach, cheek pressed to a bare, stone floor. He shifted, pushing himself up, taking a sharp breath as the throbbing in his head reached a crescendo. Concussion maybe. It felt like he was seeing double. He ignored it, trying to sit up, looking around in the process. His vision was all lights and darks with very little middle ground. All he could make out was a stone walled room with one small high window and one dark rectangular shape that was probably a door leading to another room. The bleary shapes of furniture dotted the walls.

A flash of movement came out of nowhere and impacted with his shoulder, knocking him backwards. His head slammed against the wall, the scab on the lump burst and warm blood began to flow with the sharp pain. Vision went swimmy. All he could see and hear and comprehend for a moment were bright, flashing spots of light.

It had been a boot that had shoved him backwards. A heavy, thick soled boot that pressed against his chest to keep him sprawled against the wall. A voice spat at him in Arabic. A silhouette swam into focus. A hand reached out and grabbed him by the hair, twisting his head. This man had lost comrades to him. Of that he was absolutely sure. Not happy about it at all. Wanting a little payback.

Ryo shut his eyes and went limp, unresisting. Let the man plant a knee in his gut and get down close enough to smell his sour breath. Then he shot a hand out, rigid fingered, and caught the man right in the adam's apple. Immediate release then. Immediate gasping and choking as the man flailed backwards, clutching at his throat. Ryo surged up, trusting his bodies reflexes more than he trusted his vision at the moment. He slammed an elbow out felt the satisfying thud of impact, then floundered over the body as the man collapsed backwards.

He knelt there for a moment, on hands and knees, head hanging, trying to gather his wits. Trying to clear his head. Seiji was somewhere in this place. Seiji wouldn't have left him completely in these stranger's care. He didn't even think the thing that was inhabiting Seiji would have. He vacillated between the desire to flee now that he had the chance or staying and finding Seiji. Of continuing this bazaar deprivation of liberty he'd elected to submit to.

He hadn't even truly decided as he staggered to his feet. Hadn't even really made the conscious decision to head for the door to see what was outside it when footsteps sounded and he froze, having no escape and no choice to do anything else but stand and face what was coming.

He hoped it was Seiji. Seiji -- even a possessed one -- he sort of knew how to deal with. He didn't have a clue how to deal with the men Seiji somehow had formed an alliance with.

It wasn't Seiji. It was a pair of dark faced Egyptians with guns slung over their shoulders, whose eyes went wide and furious when they saw him standing and their comrade sprawled on the floor. He hadn't the grace to fend them off. He hadn't the equilibrium at the moment to evade them. They didn't bother to point the rifles at him, just used the butt ends to beat him down. He blocked the first blow with his forearm, but the second got past his guard and took the air out of his lungs. He doubled over and a rifle butt impacted his shoulder. It bowled him over backwards and he hit the floor ass first, jamming his wrist stupidly against ungiving stone floor in an reflexive effort to catch himself.

"Stop it." The command rang in his ears. It repeated itself in Arabic. The men pulled back. Ryo haunched over and cradled his wrist to his chest, pressing his other hand into the numb flesh of his shoulder. Seiji was in the room. Ryo didn't have to look up through his hair to see him, he could feel his presence like some electric current in the air. He heard the steps approach him. Felt the shadow fall across his body and still refused to look up. His eyes were stinging with pain tears and he didn't want Seiji to see them.

"What were you doing?"

"Me?" he choked indignantly. "Fuck you."

Silence. Then a furious bevy of Arabic. Seiji said something. Short, sharp. Silence. Fingers encircled his arm, jerking him abruptly up. He glared through the disarray of his hair. Lifting a hand to brush it out of his eyes or his mouth would have displayed a weakness he wasn't ready to show. Not in front of this many enemies.

Seiji wasn't in the mood for debate. Ryo got jerked behind him out the dark door, down a narrow, shadowy hall and through a large chamber that might have been some sort of temple. It was run down and old looking. Like some Egyptian ghetto center of worship. If Egypt had ghettos. If anyone used this place to worship anymore. It had the air of abandonment. And since when did priests or monks or whatever the Muslims called the people who handed down the word of Allah to them, go around carrying semi-automatic guns?

"What is this place and who are these people and what are we doing here?" he blurted out, because it was getting rather annoying not knowing.

Seiji, in a very Seiji-like response, gave him a look and a shrug and neglected to answer verbally. Ryo seethed and tried to yank his arm out of Seiji's grasp. Seiji was not up for that. Seiji drew in an irritated breath and swung him around and against the wall, twisting his wrist up behind his back to press him there face first while he leaned against his back. His breath was a soft, warm tickle against Ryo's neck. His body a long, heated pressure against him.

"You are trying my patience. You are trying theirs."

"Like I give a fuck - - -" He spat between clenched teeth.

"Oh, you ought to," Seiji leaned his weight against him harder, grinding Ryo's hips against the stone. "They want their pound of flesh. If I let them have it, you will very much care."

He didn't say anything to that. Just pressed his lips together and stubbornly refused to yield in the struggle against Seiji trying to grind him into the wall. Stubbornly refused to give in to the hurt in his shoulder and the wrist Seiji was threatening to break behind his back.

Seiji gave in. Seiji backed off and transferred his grip from Ryo's wrist to his upper arm and started them down the hall again. There were small rooms off the main temple chamber that looked to have been added on at some later date. Tiny cubicles for living, that were hardly larger than a closet. No window and a ridiculously narrow door leading into a ridiculously cramped bathroom with a shower that looked like it ought to be condemned as a health hazard. Seiji thrust him into the room and stood in the doorway with a foul look on his face.

"This is where we're staying until we leave. Be good or else."

Ryo whirled, glaring, not feeling particularly cooperative. "Leave to go where and or else what?"

"We're taking a trip down the Nile. I have some unfinished business to attend. And as to the else what, I'm sure I can come up with something appropriately distasteful. You know, the more trouble you cause me, the more I regret not dealing with you the way I dealt with Rowan."

Ryo blinked, suddenly short of breath. Seiji had refused to mention anything about the guys since they'd started this trek, despite Ryo's desperate need to know. His gut clenched up in fear at the look in Seiji's face and the casual coldness of his tone.

"How did you deal with Rowan?"

Seiji's lips turned up in a harsh little smile. He leaned a shoulder against the door frame, one hand slipping into his pocket like he was posing for an ad in GQ. "Do you really want to know, Ryo? Are you sure you wouldn't sleep better at night's not knowing?"

"What did you do to Rowan, Seiji?"

"I took care of him. He was an annoyance. He lacked a certain respect. He won't be a problem to me anymore."

"What did you do?" Ryo couldn't absorb it. He needed to hear it said.

"He's dead, Ryo. Does it make you happy to have me say it? If I could bring you his corpse to let you see it, I would, but I do believe I left it buried under half a building somewhere. I would have done the same to Kento and Sai, if I hadn't had a plane to catch."

"You killed him?" It came out a whisper. A stricken, disbelieving whisper. The focus of his vision narrowed down to a small dark tunnel with Seiji at the end of it. And all of Seiji's golden beauty and his familiar features blurred and became unrecognizable because the aura behind them was dark and ominous and malicious. It wasn't the essence that he knew -- that deep in his soul, he had a connection to.

"I killed him." Seiji barely had the agreement out his mouth before Ryo was on him. Reason was a foreign thing. Comprehension of anything but violence was. The heart of his world had narrowed down to destroying that thing that tormented him. That that thing happened to be Seiji was inconsequential. He was disquietingly fast in his dementia. He'd plowed into Seiji and slammed them both into the wall opposite the small room before Seiji was even able to get his hand out of his pocket.

Somehow, luck or fate was with him. Seiji's head hit the wall. Seiji's eyes went dazed from that or the subsequent blows from Ryo before he had to the chance to summon the armor that would have ended it very quickly and very likely permanently.

Ryo was cursing at him. Things were coming out his mouth that he hardly knew were in his vocabulary. Weeks of pent up frustration and anger and grief and humiliation. He might have been speaking in Tongues for all he understood it, or comprehended it. There was blood on his hands and blood in his mouth where he'd bitten his own lip. It spattered the wall behind them. It smeared Seiji's pale skin.

There were men trying to pull him off, but he was not so easy to control in his rage, nor so honorable in the tactics he used to get them off him and quickly. A man fell away from them, clutching his crotch. Another with a shattered sternum. If he'd had a blade he probably would have shed more life's blood without a second thought.

Seiji came alive under him. Seiji surged up while he was distracted by the Egyptians, and slammed the top of his head up under Ryo's jaw. He narrowly missed biting through his tongue. His head exploded in hurt and the hurt washed away a little of the insanity.

Seiji flared with luminescence under him and Ryo screamed in frustration at the defeat that was very soon to come. Tears streaked his cheeks, but they were more from grief than regret. Someone came at him with the butt of a rifle and he crouched there and let it come, only Seiji's armored hand deflected it and Seiji snarled something unintelligible at them and they backed off warily, staring at Seiji's transformation with something akin to religious awe in their eyes.

Seiji picked him up and bodily flung him back through the door into the little room. Ryo sprawled in the floor and glared up accusingly.

"Murderer." He hissed through the lump in his throat and the tears leaking into his mouth. Seiji hovered over him silently. There was still blood on his face. It was trailing down his chin in a bright red trail. A hand lashed out; caught Ryo on the side of the head and spun him against the bed. It darkened his vision and he hung there for a while, timelessly. Seiji's fingers circled his throat and he was effortlessly drawn up.

"If I punish you now, I'll kill you." A whispered promise against his own bloodied lips. "Later. I promise."

Into the coffin sized bathroom and Seiji shoved him into the mildewy tub, jerked his hands over his head and tied them together over the shower rod.

"If you cause me any more trouble today, I will kill you and I will hunt down Sai and Kento and kill them as well. Understand?"

Ryo looked away, refusing to acknowledge the threat, until Seiji grabbed his chin and forced him to meet his eyes.

"Do we understand each other, Ryo?"

He nodded once, not able to bring himself to utter a vocal agreement. It was enough. Seiji let him go, grim faced and not happy. Oh, very much not happy. He slammed the narrow bathroom door behind him when he left, plunging Ryo into darkness.

He tested the bonds and they were secure. The shower curtain rod felt like it had been embedded literally into the stone of the building. He was stuck. And he was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Rowan was dead.

And Seiji might as well be. He pressed his face into his arm and bit back a sob that was determined to come. He'd been doing well up until now. Really, really well, considering. He'd been optimistic that he'd find a way out of this. That they could get Seiji untangled from the thing inside him. Now he wasn't so sure.

Rowan was dead.

Ryo didn't know if he could be civil any more. He didn't know if he could tolerate docilely following Seiji's -- no, her instructions or enduring the touches and the other things, without exploding.

The plain and simple fact was, he wanted to give up. He wanted to flee from this and he'd very rarely ever wanted to flee from anything in his life. He'd very rarely ever given up when there was still breath left in his body.

Rowan was dead. And he'd left Sai and Kento there to deal with it while he'd run after Seiji, who it seemed was beyond his ability to help. Oh, Sai. Poor Sai, who didn't deal well with Rowan's minor ailments, much less --- much less --- this.

Rowan was dead. The tears slid hot and wet down his face, unstoppable now. But it was okay. It was dark in here and there was nobody to see. He thought he hated Seiji.

He came out of his half daze with a start, shocked into awareness by cold fingers trailing up his stomach past the flapping ends of his shirt. It was still dark, but not the pitch it had been while the door was closed. The faint glimmer of lamplight from the room outside cast the bath into blocky shadows. It made Seiji's skin and hair blue. His eyes were invisible pools of darkness in their pits. Ryo stiffened, pressing his back against the wall, wanting to crawl out of his skin at the loathsome touch, but helpless to escape it. Seiji hooked a finger in the lowest button that was actually holding the shirt together and yanked down with a sharp motion, popping the button from its threads. The next. And then the top one and the shirt hung loose about Ryo's sides. The fingers trailed up his ribs, skimming the pits of his arms. He shivered.

He used to shiver out of arousal at such a touch from Seiji, now it was aversion.

"Don't touch me. You make me sick." He whispered it.

Seiji paused. Seiji's head tilted curiously, brows drawn. Then he planted a fist in Ryo's gut and while Ryo was gagging on lost breath, he cut him down with a swipe of a knife he'd produced from his pocket. Ryo sagged, catching the side of the tub to keep himself from sliding to the floor. Seiji wouldn't have let him crumble. Seiji wanted him out of there, and propelled him forward. Seiji followed him out, bringing what was left of the cord he'd used to bind him. Warily, Ryo watched him.

"Turn over." Seiji ordered.

"Fuck you."

Seiji made a disapproving noise. Seiji forced the issue with a backhanded slap and a knee in the small of Ryo's back, while he retied his wrists behind him.

"You and I need to have a discussion on manners." Seiji jerked him over, and slapped him again. "That was bad manners. But there are exceptions to every rule and you deserved it."

"Saying fuck you to simple requests is also quite in bad taste." Another slap and Ryo's ears rang. The tear in his lip reopened.

Seiji's fingers worked at his pants and he hissed and tried to bring up a knee and end any thoughts in that direction with a simple impact to his accoster's most sensitive region. Seiji avoided it. Seiji paid him back in full by shoving his hand down the front of Ryo's pants, grabbing a handful of the shrinking flesh there and squeezing. Hard. Very hard. Ryo cried out, wanting to twist away, afraid that to do so would cause more harm than Seiji was already perpetrating.

"I think we're going to explore some new avenues of discipline tonight." Seiji purred, enjoying himself.

"Stop." Ryo gasped. "Please --"

"The please is nice." Seiji smiled and released his grip long enough to yank the top of Ryo's trousers down. No reason not to let him. It was going to happen anyway whether he put up a fight or not. Only difference was, there was less pain this way and it left him more energy to fight back later when it really mattered.

He lay there, with his legs hanging off the side of the bed, Seiji standing between his knees and staring down with veiled interest on his face. There were a few fresh bruises marring his perfect complexion. His lips was a little swollen, but on Seiji it almost looked good. He was so damned beautiful that sometimes it took a few bruises and a little blood to make him seem a little more human.

"What?" Seiji tilted his head curiously. "You've got the most curious look on your face. What are you thinking?"

Ryo laughed at the interest. A bitter, humorless sound. "That you're beautiful even with the bruises."

Seiji's mouth twitched. "So are you. The difference between us is that I'm aware of the fact. You have no earthly idea, do you?" His fingers traveled between Ryo's legs again, stroking and massaging abused flesh. It felt -- good --despite everything it felt good and his body responded.

"I hate you." He turned his head away, shutting his eyes.

The fingers pressed hurtfully against the tip of his erection, bringing a bit of sharp pain into the mix.

"I know. So does he, deep down. So you keep hating us, because the more you do, the deeper he sinks."

Ryo blinked. "Wha --" The startled question was cut off by his gasp as Seiji thrust a finger inside him without warning or lubrication. Seiji hooked an arm under one knee when he tried to twist away, lifting his hips off the edge of the bed, pulling his hand out far enough to get another two fingers inside. Seiji had long, beautiful hands. What he was doing with them now was ugly and offensive. It was more punishment than preparation. Ryo ground his teeth and endured, having little choice in the matter. Besides, he'd been through worse under the same control. He'd been through worse on occasion when Seiji was Seiji and in a mood or trying to prove something.

He pulled his hand out and loosened his belt. Ryo was ready this time for the penetration. He opened his mouth in a soundless cry as Seiji forced his way through a ring of muscle that did not want to grant him entrance. Soft flesh tore and soon enough there was blood to smooth the way. Fine for Seiji, but it hurt like hell for Ryo.

There was the creak of hinges. Ryo never would have noticed it if Seiji hadn't spoken.

"What do you want?" then as an afterthought repeated the question in Arabic. Ryo twisted his head to stare at the door. At the fanatic with the white rimmed eyes and the red checkered turban, at the two men behind him, all of them staring wide eyed at what Seiji was doing to him on the bed. Seiji's rhythm paused. Seiji said something low and calm and casually picked up his pace again, fingers gripping the back of Ryo's knees, nails biting into his flesh to keep him in the position he wanted him. Ryo shut his eyes in acute embarrassment, flushing hot. Flushing hotter when Seiji deftly shifted position, pulling back just enough to pull one of Ryo's legs over his head and flip him onto his belly. A hand caressed his buttocks and then moved to push his shirt up to expose the curve of his lower back.

He made a comment to the men in the door. They shifted, uncomfortable, agitated, embarrassed, aroused. Ryo didn't want to know. Ryo wanted to die.

"They think you're a murderous foreign devil," Seiji leaned over him, grunting as he pushed himself inside Ryo's flesh up to the root of him. "But they like your smooth skin and your big blue eyes. Do you think they'd take their pound of flesh this way and be satisfied? It might be fun to watch them try."

"No." Ryo whispered. "Please, Seiji, don't."

Seiji's fingers pressed hurtfully into his hips as he thrust powerfully a few last time, then spilled hot seed inside Ryo. As he pulled out, it followed in a slow, warm trickle down the inside of Ryo's thighs. He took the time to arrange himself and zip up his pants before he hauled Ryo up by the back of the neck and held him there, half on the bed, half off it, an arm around his throat, one hand drifting down his chest to lazily stroke the skin of his tummy. The rest of him was pretty much completely exposed, with a very embarrassing line of Seiji's cum running down his leg.

"You want him? He's yours. No maiming, please." It was said more for Ryo's benefit than theirs. Seiji thrust him forward and he stumbled into their arms. They didn't quite know what to do with him at first, rather stunned by this uncertain fortune. They figured it out quickly enough and were rough about it in the process. The fanatical one asked Seiji a question and Seiji shrugged.

"Seiji, nooo!" Ryo cried in desperation. Seiji ignored his plea, waving a hand to dismiss him, but oddly enough the hand seemed to shake. Seiji clenched his fingers into a fist to cover it and stuffed it in his pocket.

He fought them, but they laughed at him. They had the smell of cheap alcohol about them, and the look of wolves about to devour dinner. And they had a vengeance to extract. The took turns hitting him, reveling in it until he could hardly keep his feet under him and hardly breath. They solved both those dilemma's for him by kicking his knees out from under him and pressing him back against the edge of the bed. One of them crawled up behind him, pulling his head back up against the man's very rigid crotch, trapping his shoulders and upper body with heavy booted legs. The boots looked vaguely familiar. He forgot about them soon enough as another faceless crotch filled his vision and dark hands were pulling out a thick, hairy penis and pressing it against his lips. The man behind him forced his teeth open with thumbs pressed in against the hinge of his jaw and then that thick, foul tasting thing was filling his mouth.

It was as horrible and brutal a thing as he'd ever experienced. The sound of their laughter, their foreign comments, his own whimpering gagging sobs, all of it hazed into a static of incomprehension. He couldn't think. He couldn't conceive that it was happening to him. He couldn't breath. He was choking to death on that rancid thing being thrust down his throat and they were glorying in it.

And then, rather abruptly the man insisting on skull fucking him to death was yanked backwards, pulled literally off his feet to sprawl on the floor.

"Get off him." Low, shaky voice. Ryo looked up through tear filled eyes at Seiji who had a gun in his hand and was pointing it between the eyes of the man who had his legs around Ryo's neck and shoulders. The man backed off. The fanatic, who'd been watching the other two barked something at Seiji and the gun swung towards him. "Get the fuck out." Seiji hissed.

They didn't move. Seiji's finger squeezed and the gun went off. A deafening, blaring sound in the small room. Stone crumbled as a hole appeared in the wall beside the fanatic's head. They did move then. The one getting up and hastily arranging his pants as they fled. Seiji stood there with the gun trained on the door. Shaking.

Then he whirled and hauled Ryo up, fumbled in his pocket for the knife and slashed at the cord at his wrists. Skin lacerated in the process.

"Get dressed."


"Shut up and get dressed." Seiji looked about for Ryo's pants, found them and flung them in his face. The gun moved to point in his direction. "Now."

Ryo did. Shakily. He got blood from his cut wrists on the material.

"Get out." Seiji demanded quietly. "Get out and don't come back."

Ryo stared at him. He couldn't make his hands stop shaking. The taste in his mouth was making him sick.

"Do what I tell you, Ryo. Go. Now."

There was nothing left in him to refuse that command. Nothing left in him that wanted anything but that offered flight. He backed up a step. Then another, thinking it was a trick. Some new torture. Seiji lowered the gun. Ryo turned on his heels and ran. He didn't know where he was going, but he rushed headlong into it anyway. Anything was better than what he'd left.

Seiji stood there and stared at the empty door. At the empty room. His body felt numb. His hands trembled. The one was weighted down by the cold metal of a handgun. He didn't remember where he'd gotten it. There was blood on his fingers. Ryo's blood.

He took a step backwards. Then another and his back hit a wall. Slowly he slid down it until he was sitting with the gun held loosely between his knees. He stared at it in dismal fascination. He'd never used a gun before. He had more powerful weapons at his disposal. It was hardly an honorable method of destruction and honor had always been such an important part of his existence. It was a foreign thing now. So far gone from him that it might never be regained. And without honor, what was there.

He lifted it to his head. Hesitated only out of uncertainty of where to place the bullet that would cleanly end it and not leave him a gibbering vegetable. That would be a worse hell than the one he was in now. He was afraid to hesitate too long or he'd loose control again. It was so hard gleaning just a little slice of it. And getting harder.

What are you doing? You don't want to die. The hated voice slithered around inside his mind. He garnered his will and kept it at that observatory level.

You don't know how much I want to die. He pressed the muzzle against his temple and tried to squeeze the trigger. Something stopped him. Something froze his finger on the trigger. Tears leaked out of his eyes. Damn you. Damn you.

I need you. I want you, lovely creature. You can't die. I've such plans. Soon you won't even mind what I'm doing. You'll be able to sleep and nothing will bother you again.

"Nooo." He sobbed, focusing all his will on the finger on trigger.

You're so strong. You fight me and its beyond my ken how you do it. Where you get the power to do it. No mere mortal could. Is it that wonderful armor that allows you such strength of mind -- of ba and ka? If we got rid of that little stone would you have the power to defy me as you do?

"Get rid of it and find out." He suggested.

Ah, and then our beautiful Ryo might be able to get the upper hand on us. You spoiled my fun with him. He needed a bit of discipline.

"Fuck you."

That's what he said. I thought you had better manners. Perhaps its just as well that you sent him away. He brings out the worst in both of us, doesn't he? Perhaps you'll rest easier when he's not around to provoke you. Put the gun down.

He didn't want to. Oh, he very much did not want to, but his arm moved of its own accord and the gun dropped to the floor between his legs. He tasted the salt of tears on his lips and squeezed his eyes shut to dam the flood. She swelled up inside him, overwhelming him in his defeat. He shut his eyes and let the darkness absorb him. He was tired and shamed and thought that if he couldn't find death to absolve him than he might as well find oblivion. At least she didn't have Ryo.

The only thing that truly plagued him as he went under was that Ryo might not be smart enough to keep running. That as soon as he gathered his wits he might turn around and come back into the fray.


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