By: A.J. Matthews
Nakago lay the unconscious Chichiri down on his bed. He wouldn’t touch the boy for a while. Chichiri had been hurt already, and Nakago hoped that he hadn’t hurt him when he knocked him out. He removed the mask and caressed Chichiri’s soft, pale face.
“You belong to me now, Chichiri. I am the only one you will ever love.”
Nakago looked up as Soi entered his room and froze when she saw Chichiri.
“You found him, then?” she asked quietly.
“Hai. And he will stay with me forever.” Nakago made sure she understood that statement. “He is not to be harmed in any way, shape, or form.” He removed the silk cords he’d placed in his room for just such an occasion. “We must bind him, or he will try to escape when he wakes up.” Nakago thrust a rope at Soi, and began tying Chichiri’s limp right wrist to the right post.
Soi quietly began tying Chichiri’s left wrist to the left post. She moved on to his feet when Nakago did the same. His feet were bound together, with a rope looped around the baseboard.
Nakago turned to Soi. “Let him rest.” Soi nodded and followed Nakago out of the room.
After they had left, Chichiri continued to lie on the bed unconscious. He never moved an inch.
“Damn it all, we have to go after Chichiri right now.” Tasuki glared at all of the others. “Who knows what Nakago is doing to him right now!” He paced around the room.
“We don’t even know where to look,” Hotohori said. It had been a little over five hours since Chichiri had been kidnapped, and they had not managed to find a single clue as to where Nakago might take him. “Not even my parents knew where Nakago might be.”
“This is all my fault. Chichiri had told me somebody was after him; had been, for all of his life. I should’ve been prepared.” Tasuki punched the wall hard.
“We’ve looked everywhere.” Chiriko looked dejected as well as devastated.
“Hai.” Mitsukake sounded defeated. Yui sat in a chair next to him. She hadn’t said a word.
Tamahome looked at Tasuki. “I’m sorry, shin'yuu.”
Nuriko glared at all of them, except for Tasuki. “Are you all giving up!” he demanded.
They shrugged. Without any clues, it seemed hopeless.
They were all surprised when the doorbell rang.
Tasuki stumbled over to the door and opened it.
Suboshi and Amiboshi stood there, with Tomo standing next to them. Their eyes were clouded over.
Part of him tensed, yet Tasuki stood aside and let them enter.
“We just wanted to tell you two- no, three things,” Amiboshi said.
The three of them looked at the group they faced.
“First, we didn’t know who we truly were. And even if it’s true, all the past life stuff, I mean, we don’t care. We’re happy here, and don’t want to fight against you any more,” Suboshi said.
“Second…” said Tomo, brushing his long hair out of his eyes, “…we think Nakago is crazy. We didn’t even really know him then and we don’t know him now. All he’s ever done is used and manipulated us. We don’t want that anymore, either. Besides, that was then.”
“Third,” Amiboshi said earnestly. “We think we know where Nakago took your kareshi, Genroe.”
Tasuki flushed slightly when they called Chichiri his boyfriend. But he supposed it was true. “Where?”
The three exchanged looks. Amiboshi nodded.
“He has a house by the famous Kyoto river,” Tomo said. “He took us there when he told us everything. Soi, Miboshi, and Ashitare are on his side.”
“Oh…” Chiriko gasped.
“Thank you,” said Hotohori. “You’ve risked your lives to tell us this. But you should leave so Nakago doesn’t find out it was you who betrayed him.”
They nodded. “We have to go now…” The three of them walked out of the open door.
Tasuki looked at the others as the former Seiryuu Seven left.
Yue cleared her throat. “Those were the ones always most loyal to me,” she said softly, having remembered some of her past.
Miaka and Tamahome were looking at each other, having remembered kissing.
Tasuki growled, and stomped over to the door. He drew his tessen. “Lekka Shien!” A bolt of fire shot at the others.
“Watch it with that thing!” Mitsukake shouted. He’d almost gotten scorched.
“Are you coming or not?” Tasuki demanded. “I, for one, will not abandon the one I love to that bastard.”
“I’m with you,” sang Nuriko. He stood up and walked over to Tasuki.
The others stared at Tasuki openly for how he referred to Chichiri.
There was a gleam in his eye that challenged any of them to say just one word about it…
They cleared their throats and stood up to follow Tasuki, as he and Nuriko ran out of the apartment building, heading directly towards the Kyoto River. It was nearing dawn.
(Nakago’s House at Dawn)
Chichiri could hear something going on around him.
“Inject him before he wakes up fully, baka!” Soi exclaimed.
He felt a needle prick his skin. Chichiri started to feel strange almost immediately.
Nakago entered the room and gestured for the others to leave. He sat down beside the bed.
Chichiri tried to turn his head, but discovered that he could barely move. “What have you done to me, no da?” Even his voice sounded woozy. The whole room seemed to be spinning around him.
So he didn’t notice when Nakago took off his own outer and inner shirts.
(Outside the House…)
“Lekka Shien!” Tasuki burned down the wall to make a doorway. All of the others followed him.
Soi materialized in front of them and cracked her whip. “Have to get past me first, boys…”
Hotohori was stunned when a sword appeared in front of him. He grasped the sword. “Find Chichiri, Tasuki. I want Nuriko, Tamahome, and Miaka to go with him to make sure he isn’t stopped. Yui, Chiriko, and Mitsukake, assist me, please.” Hotohori was stunned to find himself taking command, but decided to let it go for now.
Soi laughed at that. “You’d better make it quick, kid. Nakago’s with him right now.”
Tasuki growled and tore up the stairs, with the others right behind him.
Ashitare and Miboshi appeared.
(Inside the bedroom…)
Nakago used his sword to cut away Chichiri’s shirt. The sword cut Chichiri, and he looked around hazily.
“Tasuki?” Chichiri whispered, hallucinating. “What’s happening, no da?”
“Nothing,” said Nakago flatly. He started cutting at the rest of Chichiri’s clothes.
Panic filled Chichiri at the moment, even with the influence of the drug.
“Tasuki!!!!” he cried.
(On the stairs…)
Tasuki heard Chichiri scream his name and fall silent. “Lekka Shien!” He flamed both of Ashitare and Miboshi, and then ran past, slamming directly into the bedroom door, which flew open.
Nuriko and Miboshi starting fighting, while Tamahome and Miaka took on Ashitare.
Nakago knelt on top of Chichiri, tying the gag tightly. His hands began to slide down Chichiri’s youthful body, which the drug had immobilized.
Chichiri was crying, and called with his entire being: TASUKI!
A brilliant red light surrounded him, and Nakago was forced to cover his eyes from it.
“What is that light!” he demanded
Tasuki burst into the room. The same light glowed around him, and grew even brighter as he saw what Nakago was doing to Chichiri and felt a burning rage come over him.
“Hands off my kareshi!!!” yelled Tasuki.
Nakago only had time to look up before…
“LEKKA SHIEN!!!” The flames that burst forth from Tasuki’s tessen sent Nakago flying directly through the walls and into the lake.
Nakago was badly burned. Luckily for him, he’d still had his pants on. Soi, Ashitare, and Miboshi ran out of the house as well. You have defeated me for today, Chichiri, but I’ll be back for you again. I made a mistake in underestimating your friends. I will come up with a new strategy. Then, you will be mine, Nakago vowed, as they disappeared.
Tasuki ran over to Chichiri. He used his tessen to break Chichiri free of the ropes, and tore off the gag. Then he embraced him hard.
Tears still ran down Chichiri’s face as Tasuki grabbed him in a hug. He leaned against Tasuki, sobbing. His head rested on Tasuki’s chest.
Tasuki stroked Chichiri’s hair and held him tight.
“Chichiri… I was so afraid that…”
“Tasuki, thank you.” Chichiri’s tears soaked Tasuki’s shirt.
Tasuki saw that Chichiri’s clothes were ruined. He quickly tore off his shirt and placed Chichiri in it. He looked Chichiri directly in the eyes.
“Chichiri, did he…” Tasuki looked angry.
Chichiri shook his head, his voice quavering. “If you hadn’t come when you did…” He clung to Tasuki, shaken and sobbing. “He would have…”
“Never,” Tasuki vowed. “I will always protect you.” He wrapped his arms around Chichiri who seemed to be in having trouble focusing. His movements were sluggish. “What’s wrong, Chichiri?”
“They injected me with something, no da.” Chichiri started to shake.
Tasuki scooped Chichiri up in his arms, holding him close. “Mitsukake can take care of that. What do you say? Shall we go home, my kare?” Tasuki smiled at him softly.
And then, Chichiri knew the difference between Tasuki and Nakago. Nakago was harsh, unyielding, and demanding. Tasuki was gentle and asked first.
“Hai.” Chichiri clung to Tasuki as he was carried down the stairs, and to their friends.
“Are you all right, Chichiri?” Hotohori asked gently. Chichiri was the second-youngest person there, which made him seem all the more vulnerable. He was also wearing Tasuki’s shirt, which went down to his knees.
“Hai, Hotohori.” Chichiri had wiped most of the tears out of his eyes. “Tasuki saved me just in time.”
Hotohori looked closer and saw traces of tears on Chichiri’s face. He was trying to put on a brave face, but he was obviously shaken and distraught. Hotohori looked over at Tasuki, his beautiful eyes asking a silent question.
Tasuki shook his head. He cradled Chichiri to him. “Mitsukake, can you get rid of the drug they gave him?”
“I can try, Tasuki.” Mitsukake walked over and placed a hand on Chichiri, who ducked his head away for a few moments.
The others shared looks of surprise. They looked at Chichiri, who pressed his face into Tasuki’s chest. Tears began to trickle out of Chichiri’s eyes. The droplets rolled down Tasuki’s chest.
“It’s ok, Chichiri,” Tasuki whispered in Chichiri’s ears. “It’s just Mitsukake.”
Mitsukake realized right then and there what Nakago had tried to do. He also looked at Tasuki, his eyes asking the same question Hotohori’s had. From the looks the others were exchanging- shock, horror, and anger, it was obvious that they knew. They all looked at Tasuki, their looks asking…
Tasuki shook his head again. The grim set of his jaw told all of them just how close it had come. If he hadn’t gotten there when he did… Tasuki shook his head and smiled down at Chichiri. It was Chichiri who needed him now.
Chichiri lay sleeping in Tasuki’s bed. All of the others watched him sleep and heard the little cries of pain that he made. Their lips tightened in anger.
Tasuki lay on the bed with Chichiri, whispering comforts in his ears. His arms were around Chichiri, because Chichiri had not been able to fall asleep alone. He’d pleaded for Tasuki not to leave him alone.
Tasuki looked over at the others.
“That bastard will come back,” he said quietly. “Next time, I will be prepared.”
The others stood around the room in various places. Because he was the shortest, Chiriko was next to the bed. He gazed at Chichiri solemnly.
Miaka looked at Chichiri with tears in her eyes. Yui embraced her close. They looked at each other, and then watched Chichiri fretting in his sleep. Miaka felt as if her heart would break.
“I will not allow Nakago to have Chichiri,” said Hotohori softly. “If I must, I will put guards around this apartment.” He watched the young boy sleep.
“And neither will I.” Nuriko’s voice surprised them. He licked his lips and looked up at them. Tears were in his eyes, which was strange. Nuriko never cried.
“Geez… Nuriko,” said Chiriko. He was amazed to see Nuriko so upset.
“Don’t you get it?” Nuriko said softly. “Remember how he was when we first met him? Shy but happy. Look at him now. He’s too terrified to let even one of us near him.” He turned a compassionate gaze on Chichiri, who still had a look of fear in his face as he slept. When they had tried to talk to him, Chichiri had hidden his face. His mask had not been found, which Tasuki personally felt was for the best.
If a hand was offered, Chichiri automatically shied away from it. The only person who could touch him right now was Tasuki.
“He’s right,” Tamahome said. “I say, if or when Nakago shows up again, we kick his ass.”
The others nodded in agreement.
Tasuki let out a tiny giggle. He pressed his finger to his lip and gestured towards Tasuki and Chichiri.
The others gathered around, and when they did, everyone smiled in spite of themselves.
Tasuki had fallen asleep as well. Chichiri was cuddled close to his side, his head resting on Tasuki’s bare chest. Both now had little smiles on their faces.
The others looked in each others eyes and nodded. They would do whatever it took to keep these two alive.
A sequel will be out shortly…