Abyss-Pt.4

A Togainu no Chi Fanfiction

Rating : T ( for violence, language )

Pairing : ShikiXAkira

Genre : Romance

Characters : Akira, Shiki

Preview :  To most people, death is the most horrifying thing. But to a certain youth, death may be the only escape from his current situation. If death was to free him from that man’s grasp, then so be it.

—–

IV.

Preview : The hand that clad in black glove was bought to the youth’s side, not to kill him but simply to give him a soft caress on the cheek. “Stupid”, his lips murmured, the word direct to the youth or himself he did not know.

 —–

Shiki never flinched when taking down a man.

When it came to killing, some found immense joy, some cowered with fear; for him, it was no more than a habit, a part of his daily life, like eating, like sleeping, too mundane for him to give it a thought while swinging his katana. He held neither pride nor gratification in killing, just carrying out the act with grace and utmost nonchalance, the way true swordsmanship required its practitioners. Had he been born in another time, perhaps the era when warriors were still in their glory, he might have become a warrior himself and had his name written in history, as either a hero or a murderer. If you came down to their nature, a hero and a murderer are not so different. Whether it is for a noble reason or a despicable one, in the end, killing is killing. As every life is of equal value, no purpose could justify the act of slaughtering.

So, Shiki had no qualms in killing. Neither did he possess the slightest sliver of hesitation.

Perhaps, long, long ago, when he had had his first kill, he had hesitated. Back then, he was just a boy who barely entered his adolescence. As a child constantly trained to become a shadow assassin, it was his very first mission. His target was a man twice his age and double in size, a towering man as compared with his lean, frail, teenaged figure. Though proud in his training, when confronting such an intimidating opponent, he had doubts in his sword. He was required to complete his mission as neatly as possible; yet, it was a bloody mess he had created out of his target, causing real fuss days later. But he could not careless since his mind was too occupied with one single sound to ever think about anything else in this world. The final, deafening scream of the man before he eventually met his end in countless slashes.

It was not an assassination, it was a massacre.

That cold night, while still remaining in his jacket from which the blood of his victim was still dripping, Shiki stepped into a bar on the deserted end of the town, the place where no one would pay attention to who you were or what the hell you did as long as you had enough cash, and spent his first pay to the last coin to purchase an amount alcohol enough to drown his mind. He did not even remember how he had gotten out of that bar and staggered to his shelter. Had his pursuers managed to find him, he would have paid dearly for his carelessness. Still, he deliberately drunk himself to the point his trembling hand was no longer able to hold his sword firm, otherwise that scream would refuse to quiet down in his head, keep challenging his sanity.

First kill, first drink. Those were what he could never forget.

Anyway, it was a long ago. With time, his swordsmanship, his mentality as well as his resistance to alcohol had been greatly polished. Nonchalantly, perfectly, he cut down his victims; their pleads, moans or screams no longer stirred him. His mind, serene as the autumn lake and cold as the winter snow, needed not the alcohol to seek peace after slaughtering.

The Shiki of the present never wavered when taking a life. Not those thugs’ lives, not even his brother’s life.

Tonight, his brother had fallen to his sword. Knowing fully that his strength and skills was far beyond his brother’s, still, the boy charged him, betting everything he got on a thin, frail thread called ‘luck’.

In those clear blue eyes that resembled the sky Toshima had once had, sanity was absent; what filled in its place was anger, hatred and even despair. Pure adrenaline boiled his blood, madness clouded his mind, the boy readily flung himself into the palm of death.

He could have spared the boy’s life, just like he had done so each and every time his brother came for him.

But it was different this time.

For whatever reason had driven him into this desperate state Shiki could cot figure out. Still, there was one thing he was sure of : that was, Rin would not be able to return to this former self even if he spared his life. He had thrown everything he got, even his sanity, into this bet. To take his brother’s life, he was willing to sacrifice his own.

His spirit was broken beyond fix. There was nothing he could do to the Rin besides granting him a quick, painless end.

So, in a swift, smooth strike, Shiki gave an end to his brother’s existence. As regard to the blood they shared in their veins, he made sure Rin experienced no suffering.

The moment Rin’s body fell to the muddy ground, memories of his first kill played vividly in his mind like a rewinding film.

And, the first time after years, he relied on alcohol to calm his tulmulous mind.

Nevertheless, unlike the adolescent that night, Shiki found himself strongly resistant to the effect of alcohol. The more he injected into his blood, the somber he became. And because he was not drunk, he was able to recall Rin’s last moment.

In his final moment, Rin did neither scream nor cry. Even if the boy had wanted to, the swiftness of Shiki’s flawless swordsmanship would not have allowed him to utter the smallest sound. So, there was no terrible scream shouting in his head, only a stiff silence that seemed to manifest from the depth of Rin’s hollow gaze. Those blue eyes whose color was of the midsummer sky were filled with alien emotions. Emotions he could not fathom. What was his last thought before his soul drifted into another realm? Would that be of shock or fear? Would that be of hatred? Would that be of peace?

Was there peace after a person’s death?

Those eyes were vastly different from those of countless thugs he had sent to their graves. He would not remember any of those since they left no significant impact on him; those eyes, dulled by drugs, pathetically pleaded for their lives to be spared. But he was sure he would remember those eyes of his brother till the day his own closed.

Before he left the dark, muddy alleyway, he gently brought his hand to Rin’s face.

Darkness faithfully greeted him like a loyal pet once he set food in his current shelter, the rundown apartment he had randomly picked from the deserted block on the quieter side of Toshima. His status, as well as the contract he had with that perverted man was more than enough to earn him a fine room in the luxurious mansion; yet, he chose an apartment with the minimum of furniture. Neither did he fancy the extravagance nor being part of the crowd. He preferred the fierce solitary of a tiger than the company of a pack of wolf.

However, he was no longer alone. Sometimes, solitary could be troublesome and recently, he had found himself a partner. It was a young man who gave off a certain air of defiance, as if there was nothing in this world that he needed, that he wanted. His eyes, his stoic and passionate eyes, caught Shiki’s attention the very first moment their gazes locked. He would not admit he was attracted to this youth since it would sullen his pride if he did; still, he could feel a strong, primeval desire of possession arousing from the depth of his being. He wanted that youth for himself, to own him, to ravish him, to encage so that no one could ever lay their eyes upon him.

Was that only a mere obsession which would fade over time or something much deeper? For once he did bother himself with such question but he dismissed it as soon as it was formed in his mind. Why should he spend his time pondering such a trivial matter? Obsession or not, he could not careless; all he knew and ever cared was he wanted that youth and anything he wanted, he never failed to obtain it.

It did take long before he literally dragged that youth from the streets of Toshima to his dusty, rundown apartment. It took even less than that for the youth to lie on his soon-to-be broken bed, straddled, violated and eventually spent. Night after night, the same routine: cursing, fighting, beating (if necessary), dominating and being dominated.  Surprising, it was almost a month but his interest in the youth had yet to fade; it was getting stronger. It astonished him as well, to realize the he who took a liking to something very easily and got bored with it just as easily could maintain his interest in something or someone in such a long period.

Once, after getting done with the youth, in a doze of intoxication, he amused himself with a thought of what he would do to the youth when his lust for him subsided. Would he continue to keep him as he was, a caged, helpless and humiliated animal? Or would he just end his life and dump his remains at some deserted corner for those hyenas to find and take care of the rest?

He laughed loudly at that thought. Mostly because it was too lame to fit his character. The perverted man whose hand he had joined with much reluctance might agreed with such methods for he took great joy in satisfying his sadism. He was different from that man. Sadistic as he might be, he did not take pleasure in breaking the boy. He did it because he wanted it, nothing else. Of course he was not oblivious to the idea that his doings caused pain and suffering to his subject of desire, he simply paid it no mind. He had gotten used to placing his own wants above others’ needs and this time, it was no exception.

He was just selfish, after all.

That led to his extreme distaste for the idea of getting rid of the boy should he grow tired on him. Disposal was only a method fitted to trash. The boy was no trash. If he had thought he was, he would not have cut him down the very first moment of their encounter instead of dragging the boy back to his shelter. There was something special in him that made him stand out among the mindless thugs who were quick to drown themselves in this town. That very thing had caught his attention, stirring his desire. Because so, he experienced the lust to dominate and to own such a being, to keep and never let go of the boy even if he had enough of him.

He smiled. If that day did ever happen, he doubted it would be near. For he had yet to earn the boy’s total submission.

In a blink of eye, he had thought he was looking at his brother’s corpse lying in a growing puddle of his own blood. The illusion hastily faded for reality to kick in. In a mess of tangled sheet and bloody pieces of glass laid a pale, poorly covered body. That lean frame which had been trembling in his forceful embrace. That pale, almost translucent skin which had become flushed under his invasive touches. How could he not be familiar with those features? It was only this morning that he had been moaning in ecstasy; yet, at this moment, he was not much different from the corpses left on the streets except from the very faint heaving of his chest. Still, breathing as he was, there was no doubt that his life sight was a flickering light facing the upcoming storm.

His normally composure footsteps unconsciously quickened, so did his heartbeats as he proceeded to the boy’s side. In that instance when he was sure the boy’s life sight had not disappeared, he also realized that the boy meant something else to him than just a mere fascination.

He had been told that he needed to let go of all which he held dear in order to attain true power. He understood the meaning behind that saying; still, it confused him. He had no one close other than a half brother whose existence he barely acknowledged. And that said brother had also perished under his merciless sword. He should be free of mortal emotions since he was no longer bound by anyone or anything. Why, instead of power, what occupied his being was only a deep emptiness as if a part of him had been permanently taken away? And why his sword felt so heavy in his hand? When he glanced down to the naked body in a mess of blood and shards of glass, he thought he had found the answer.

This youth was the chain that firmly intertwined with his sword. This was the last attachment that anchored his soul to whatever remained of his ‘humanity’, also the last obstacle on his pursuit of true power.

His existence was bordering on the edge of death; if he were to leave the youth as he was, it was no doubt he would die in a few more hours. He could almost smirk at the irony laid out before him. As if mocking him, fate had set this up as a means to test his determination. Should he just let the current of fate wash the boy away from his life, pretending it was merely lust that had drawn them together? With that, he could probably cast off his last chain and obtain what he always yearned for. Or should he intervene and retain his chain knowing fully it would certainly hinder his way? For a person that killing was almost his nature, it did not seem a hard decision. Yet this time, he hesitated.

The hand that clad in black glove was bought to the youth’s side, not to kill him but simply to give him a soft caress on the cheek. “Stupid”, his lips murmured, the word direct to the youth or himself he did not know.

He carefully studied how serious Akira’s wound was and was surprised to discover something odd. It was a straight, clean cut on the wrist, severing the artery; an act done by someone who wished for death. But that was not what concerned him; instead, it was a make-shift bandage placed on his wound. Though only made of shreds torn from the bed sheet, it was helpful enough to slow down the bleeding which could like lead to death. Without it, Akira would have ended up a rigid corpse by this time.

When contemplating the possibilities of who had saved Akira, he could only think of a person. A person who could roam freely in the town of Toshima without provoking the Executioners, a person who could have invaded his place while he was out and left without leaving a trace behind. Who could it be but the man he had been pursuing for years? What motivation he had had in saving Akira’s life he could not comprehend. Every of that man’s thoughts, every of his actions were beyond common sense. Would it be of kindness? Would it be another trick on him? Nevertheless, whatever idea he harbored with his unusual mentality when saving Akira did not matter to him. For once, Shiki did not experience a raging aversion when the thought of that man came to his mind.

This was perhaps the very first time he ever found himself being so tender to a person. With much care, he cleaned the wound on which he would later apply a proper bandage. He had learnt the way to treat an injury back in his days of training; he even had clean bandage and a first-aid kit in his closet. Things could come in handy sometimes. He covered Akira’s body with his coat and carried the boy to the bathroom, where he could rest in the bath tub while Shiki dealt the mess he had created. He cleaned the broken shards that littered on the bed and the floor; he replaced the dirtied bed sheet with new one that he kept in the closet. But for the broken window he had nothing to replace the glass so he left the window frame bare. It would be quite cold later but he had no other choice. After all the mundane tasks were done, he carried Akira and placed the boy between the bet sheet. Judging from his condition, who knew when he would regain his consciousness?

Sighing, Shiki sat down next to the bed. He had long ungloved his hand in order to carry out the task of cleaning. His bare fingers caressed Akira’s cheeks, feeling cool.  His temperature was usually lower than that of normal people’s; especially when he often spent time roaming the night streets. He was aware if such fact when he had touched Akira’s skin; the boy’s skin was pleasantly warm beneath his fingertips. At the moment, when he caressed Akira’s cheeks, he only felt a stiff coldness. The boy’s complexion also seemed paler than usual; under the dim light, it was almost transparent.

“Why did you have to damage yourself, doll?”

Softly, he whispered into the ears that could not hear. Softly, he brushed his lips against the pair that could not feel such intimacy.

“I won’t allow you to leave my side. Even if fate wants to steal you away, I will pull you back. You belong to me, doll. Forever, only me.”

His tone, still dripped off blatant arrogance, seemed to possess an alien warmth his usual taunts always lacked. Being the cold-blooded he was, he was surprised to find that such emotion was present in his voice, that he was still capable of harboring such sentiment.

The defense he had instinctively built up for years experienced its very first crack. Whoever this frail-looking boy lying helplessly in his bed was, he had succeeded in crackling up Il-re’s heart. For such great accomplishment, he should be proud of himself. Supposed he was aware of that fact.

His hand caressed the boy’s soft silvery locks, as a rare act of compliment.

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