All characters belong to their respective owners.
"Why did you do it?"
Jou's half-lidded eyes snapped to attention. Standing from where he sat against the cave's wall he hurried to the vampire's side. Mai lie still in the blankets that had been tenderly wrapped around her. Her blonde locks fanned across a pillow that had been one of the items retrieved from the contents in Serenity's subspace pocket.
"Hey," Jou spoke softly, crouching down to her side. His gaze was gentle upon her, hazel irises just barely flickering with the meager firelight in the darkness.
"You're finally awake." He observed with a small smile crossing his lips. She didn't return it.
"Why did you bother to save me?" She croaked barely above a whisper. A look of anguish tinged with fury swept across her face and Jou frowned.
"I'm a vampire," she spoke the word as if she loathed it. "I wouldn't have done the same for you."
"Yeah, well that's a load of bullshit." Another voice came from beyond them. Honda stepped toward them and narrowed his gaze down to the injured woman.
"I never thought I'd see the day where a vampire would put her life on the line for a human. And for that you've earned my respect. We're all comrades on a journey to stop this thing, so stop trying to pretend like you don't feel the same. It's pathetic." The werewolf crossed his arms as he spoke. Jou could only blink while Mai turned her head away from the looming man with an angry flush lighting her cheeks.
"Mai, are you alright?" Serenity approached the small group. She had been trying to rest until nightfall but she couldn't help but continue to agonize over what had occurred that evening.
Hotaru was gone and despite all the power within her she couldn't do anything about it.
Things had quickly spun out of control from the moment she had arrived on Earth and up until this moment she had taken every challenge in stride. An innocent girl, a friend, had been lost forever. And, as if things couldn't get worse, she truly had no idea if the other half of their group would make it out of the mountain alive.
"I'm healing pretty quickly. I should be able to move around by nightfall." Mai's reply interrupted Serenity's lingering thoughts.
"I've tried to heal you but your body doesn't seem to be receptive to it." Serenity kneeled at her brother's side.
"It's alright," Mai reassured groggily, shifting her aching body within the blankets. "Like I said, I just need more time."
"Blood would help the process along, wouldn't it?" Serenity questioned softly. The moment the suggestion left her lips Mai twitched and her violet eyes swelled with ache. Honda shifted uncomfortably.
"I may be warming up to this idea of being friends with a vampire and all that, but this is a bit too much for me." With a shiver he turned away to look into the emptiness of the dark cave.
"It's alright Mai, here," Serenity pulled back the sleeve of her jacket to study her wrist. "You can bite me." Mai jerked violently with what strength she had to turn away from the fairy siblings.
"No!" She protested through gritted fangs, "Stay away!"
"Please Mai," Serenity begged as she hovered over her. "This is all my fault. If Diamond hadn't targeted me Hotaru wouldn't be gone, and you wouldn't be injured. And if Yami wasn't so damned protective-"
"Do you have any idea what he'd do to me if I bit you?" Mai seethed toward the cave wall. "Death would be preferable." Serenity's eyes widened and she reached out to lightly touch her shoulder.
"I'm giving you permission-"
"It doesn't matter!" Mai's voice was raspy as she cringed away from the other's touch.
"Then take blood from me." Jou spoke up. Before Serenity could respond with a sisterly protest, Jou had leaned forward and effortlessly pulled the weakened woman into his arms. Her squirming within his grasp was futile.
"Don't worry. Yami could give a damn about me." He reassured her with a small smile. Serenity came to stand keeping a watchful eye on the two. In her current state Mai was starved and she imagined her weakness was all that was coming between a needy vampire and what it wanted.
"So, uh," Jou swallowed, "how does this work?" He finished nervously. Mai groaned.
"The wrist is the safest," she spoke exhaustedly.
"R-right," Repositioning her in his arms, he rolled up the sleeve of his jacket under her watchful gaze. "So, uh, one more question. Will it hurt?" A sweep of pain fluttered through her eyes as she looked into his apprehensive stare.
"I-I don't remember how it felt." She spoke honestly. Jou nodded and puffed out his chest.
"That's alright, don't worry about it. I'm really tough. I just wanted to know." Serenity fought the urge to turn away when Mai sunk her sharp fangs into the other's wrist. To the fairy's credit he barely flinched and focused on the woman's eyes as the life force from his body flowed into her mouth. After a few moments the Fae Queen began to feel uncomfortable as she observed the two.
Mai's eyes fluttered shut and she released barely audible cries of pleasure of being allowed the man's blood. Jou didn't appear to be in any pain, his face displayed quite the opposite. He watched her with tranquil eyes, releasing small sighs in response to the soft sounds she was making. Reminding herself she was only watching the intimate display to ensure Jou wouldn't be hurt she couldn't help but think about her own estranged lover.
Yami had never bit her, which she had always been thankful for, because the thought of it was terrifying. But if it was in actuality pleasant rather than terrible she wondered why he hadn't ever tried. It was almost as if she was witnessing a bond that wasn't quite there before being formed between the two. The loving gaze held in her brother's eyes was one she had never seen, even in Rei's presence.
Maybe she'd never know why, it wasn't very likely she'd ever get the chance to ask Yami about such things. Even if the two of them managed to survive this quest, what happened then? It was her duty to return to the Moon after all of this for many reasons, but most importantly she longed to once again hold Rini safe in her embrace.
It had taken her hundreds of years to let go of the love she wasn't certain she felt and even longer to stop dreaming about the shape of his face or the sound of his voice. Coming back to this world only to realize that she had loved Yami all along and having to accept that it would all again be taken away was crueler than anything Zorc could do to her. She knew she needed to keep her focus on getting them back to the others safely, but imagining a glimpse of her future only showed despair. Could she really go on living without Yami again?
Mai pulled away from Jou's arm with a gasp but wasted no time in carefully passing her tongue over the wound inducing it to fully heal. The Fae Prince looked to his wrist in amazement and smiled goofily toward the woman whose face was tinged with a blush.
"Hey! That wasn't so bad. Actually, it felt pretty nice." He wobbled a bit but steadied himself with his hands against the ground.
"You may not want to stand up for a while, Jou," Serenity spoke.
"I didn't take much blood," Mai said, feeling well enough now to finally sit up without Jou's assistance. "But I feel worlds better now, thank you, Jou," she continued, flicking her gaze to him. The lightheaded fairy snickered.
"Anytime!" He grinned to which the vampire, who was now in much higher spirits, smirked.
"So what was all of that about back there?" Honda approached now that the blood-letting was over. "Though I wouldn't put it past an asshole like him, I'm guessing he didn't have us all kidnapped for nothing." Allowing a heavy sigh to escape, Serenity searched for the words to explain without the embarrassing details but Jou quickly beat her to it.
"He was after you, right, Serenity?" His smile faded as he spoke. She searched for his gaze, but it was lost beneath his bangs as he tilted his head to the floor.
"This world, the one I never knew until now was always the one I was meant to be in. Our parents gave all of that up. And for what? So that Diamond guy could rule in their place only to bully and murder the innocent?" Jou's voice carried darkly through the cave. Serenity pursed her lips.
"You already know the answer to that, Jou," She spoke quietly. Jou snapped his hazel eyes that were full of heat up toward her.
"Yeah, I know. I've heard the explanations, maybe a million times. I get that fighting and war goes against what we believe in, but that still doesn't make standing aside and doing nothing about Diamond's crimes right!"
"Jou-" Serenity began to protest but paused when her sibling came to his feet and approached her.
"You used to tell me what it was like to live in that Palace, do you remember that? In the time you lived there did the King and Queen order a single person kidnapped or killed?"
"You know that they would have never. Jou, leaving Old Land Fae was not my decision, Mother and Father they-"
"They aren't in charge anymore, are they?" He cut her off. Serenity's eyes widened in disbelief. Jounouchi had always been one to speak his mind but what he was alluding to was bold, even for him.
"I don't know if the fairies abandoning the Earth was ever the right thing to do, maybe it was at the time but what I do know now is that ain't no longer a good solution. I refuse to sit back and let that tyrant tear apart the world they used to love." Jou focused his gaze down seriously toward her. "When we get done taking care of Zorc, I ain't going back to the Moon. I'm taking Diamond down."
"That's your solution?" Serenity practically screeched with passion rising in her chest. "To fight killing with more killing? Have you learned nothing?"
"I've learned plenty!" Jou shouted. "Fighting back maybe ain't right, but in my eyes, doing nothing while he oppresses those helpless to stop him is worse."
"I'm in." Honda interjected. Both fairies flashed their eyes in the werewolf's direction and he smirked.
"The Elf King has been burning down cities and destroying lives for far too long. Last night was just the final straw. I imagine I could get a few friends to help too." He gave Jou a thumbs up.
"Me too," Mai's sultry voice sounded with a smile crossing her face. "Anything to help the Thunder God, not to mention I owe this King a piece of my mind." She added with a wicked flash of her fangs. Turning away from them a sardonic laugh passed through the Queen's lips.
Of course none of them truly understood. Abandoning the Earth those many years ago had never been about running away, it had been a sacrifice. Jou had been too young to recognize it, their grief that had been dulled by nearly a hundred years, but Serenity still recalled it with perfect memory.
Her late father had been a legendary being. It had been certainly within his power to single handedly defeat Diamond's ancestor and whatever army stood with him. And though he never said it, Serenity always believed that he wished he had.
She remembered those times she'd caught him looking out toward the Earth alone with a foreign flicker in his normally gentle and large brown eyes. He would've crushed them; struck each and every one of them down where they stood if it could have somehow undid their horrendous crime. He'd have done it even though it went against everything he believed in because they had dared to hurt his family.
It was then she realized how noble they had been in surrendering the Old Kingdom. As a pair, a force of creation and destruction, they had everything necessary to be indomitable, but did nothing because of a principle they stood by to the very end: to live on without ever harboring hate in their heart. With the image of their proud and smiling faces in her thoughts, the late Queen's words resurfaced in her head.
"Promise me Serenity, that when the time comes you will be stronger than I was."
How could she do as she asked when she and her father had given up everything for that purpose? Suddenly, the memory hit her with a blinding revelation. Her mother had been begging her to give up more. Turning their backs on the world she and the King had still retained their honor: a fairy was never to maim out of hatred or kill. Even in going after Zorc, they had aimed just to seal him away.
Letting her eyes flick to Jou she noticed they were all staring toward her as if they were expecting either a tongue lashing or a profound explanation.
"And if there is ever a time you cannot find the strength within yourself, allow him to be it for you."
The sight of the others faded from her vision and for a moment Serenity thought she was hallucinating. She saw Yami standing before her, hands tucked leisurely into his pockets with his head cocked to one side. His intense red eyes were flushed in amusement as he leaned in closer to her smaller stature. Drawing a hand forward she swore she could almost feel the tips of his fingers at her cheek, the heat of his breath against her rosy lips. A shiver racked through her when he showed his fangs to her in a devilish grin.
Could she really let this man kill for her? He already had, and gleefully so, just without her blessing or any sort of permission. Being righteous meant not picking and choosing between moral absolutes, but while basking in the presence of this provocative monster the idea of allowing Yami to vanquish her enemies while she protected her kingdom was a tempting prospect. She'd already allowed herself to be touched by his hands; hands that had ripped out hearts. And how many times had she kissed him, brushed her tongue against the fronts of those fangs knowing that they were once sunk into another's screaming flesh?
Smiling wryly, she finally returned to reality. Attempting to identify herself as a person who could even rival her parents' nobility was a farce. She had sacrificed her own fairy virtue years before, but if she died trying she'd ensure Jou and Rini kept theirs. Turning her back to them she began walking away.
"Keep your voices down. Blue Eyes is trying to sleep and it'll be night soon enough. You three should try to rest too."
"Serenity," Jou spoke her true name quietly, and she paused in her steps but didn't turn around. "I know we can defeat Diamond, but I also know the Fae Kingdom can never again be as it was meant to unless you're the Queen." Wordlessly, Serenity walked further ahead toward the cave's entrance.
"Don't struggle," Seto ordered gruffly. Rei ignored him, shifting against his chest from where she was being carted away in his arms.
"I-I'm fine," she replied unconvincingly and winced when she tried to swing her right leg toward the ground.
"You only sprained your knee but if you keep moving it like that you may do some serious damage." He growled.
Blushing and looking away from him, Rei remained silent until the werewolf finally came to a stop. They had traveled away from where they had battled and defeated the dragons within the mountain, but even at this distance the smell of blood from the massacre that had occurred still hung in the air. Since it was well into the afternoon daylight hours, they had decided to catch their bearings within the cave until it was suitable for all parties to travel to their next location. Seto leaned down and gently sat the fairy on the ground, propping her up against the cave wall. Glancing toward her arm his eyes fell upon a few scrapes that were just barely bleeding. Reaching down to the fabric of his already torn shirt he ripped off a piece in order to wrap the wounds.
"It isn't serious," Rei all but snapped.
"Any bleeding wound is serious with a blood sucker around." Seto said with a smirk.
"Where is that vamp anyway?" Anzu asked, scanning her eyes over their small group.
"Most likely off sulking," the great dragon bringing up the rear said with a slight chuckle, "I'm sure he's ready to tear down this cave as if it would help him get to Serenity any sooner. Those two are quite the pair aren't they?" He asked with smiling eyes. Rei merely turned her head away.
"Not really," Endymion spoke grumpily, just prior to plopping down on the ground a few feet from the dark haired fairy. Clearing his large throat, Ra turned his red eyes upon Seto.
"Though we won't be traveling yet I am going outdoors to find a lake of some sort." Pain swept through his eyes as he gestured to the mix of his own and the other dragons' dried blood against his golden skin. "Is there anything I can bring back for you all?"
"I was going to go myself," the tall werewolf replied. "Some bedding, food and water would do both Rei and the human some good." He said flicking his harsh blue gaze upon the fairy.
"I don't need anything," Rei spoke through gritted teeth.
"I'll go with you," Anzu stepped forward and Seto nodded.
"You'll look after Re,i won't you Endymion?"Ra asked kindly, "She's incapacitated at the moment, though I don't smell anything menacing within the cave."
"Sure, no problem," the human breathed tiredly as both the werewolves and Ra started retreating.
"I don't need looking after!" Rei screeched, the echo of her voice bouncing through the huge mountain's walls. Sighing in exasperation, she looped her arms against her one bent leg and slammed her forehead against the uninjured knee.
About an hour passed and neither Endymion nor Rei spoke to one another. Only the incessant sound of dripping water could be heard in the emptiness of the cavern.
"Hey," Endymion's voice was hoarse. "That water doesn't sound like it's too far from here. I have a canteen, would you like some?" Rei turned her violet eyes upon him and licked her lips that were on the verge of cracking from being so dry. After a few moments she responded with a curt nod. He came to his feet and revealed the small bottle attached to his hip.
"If it's too far I'll turn around. If you see or hear anything strange just yell, alright?" Rei glared at his back as he walked away.
After he had disappeared completely from her sight she looked back to her injured leg. Contorting her face in determination she attempted to bend her knee and bit back a howl of pain. Clenching her teeth she steadied her hands against the cave wall and ever so slowly used the combined strength of her arms and legs to stand. Sucking in a breath she removed her hands from the wall allowing her weight to fully rely on her legs. Almost immediately her injured knee buckled and she went tumbling backward only to fall into another's arms.
"Careful," a velvety voice sounded, "I believe Seto told you to stay off that leg. Correct?" Rei stiffened within the vampire's hold, who only smirked as he helped her back onto the ground. The fairy looked up in horror into red eyes that looked particularly devoid of any care for her well-being.
"Try not to look so tense." Yami teased as he tilted his head to one side. "We're all on the same team, aren't we? I was only trying to assist you." Ignoring his suggestion, Rei began to tremble when Yami fluidly moved to take a seat beside her at a hardly comfortable distance. Several moments passed with the two not exchanging any words. The fairy watched him out of the corner of her eye as he leisurely leaned against the rocky wall as if it was a comfortable seat.
"You should really do better to look after your health. I'm sure your daughter is expecting you to return home in one piece." He commented idly. Her face deadpanned upon him, and she quickly turned to look at her hands. Beads of sweat began to form on her brow.
"Yes, I'm making every effort to return to her safely." She babbled. Yami leaned in and placed a seemingly innocuous hand on her shoulder. Jumping beneath his touch, she met his searching eyes with a startled expression.
"You don't seem to be surprised I know of her," he calmly pointed out and leaned in toward her ear. "I thought it was supposed to be a secret." He whispered sinisterly. Jerking away from him she lost her balance and fell to her back. With lightning speed Yami was hovering over her, hands on either side of the ground beyond her shoulders.
"Rini," the name rolled off his tongue as he analyzed her horrified stare. "Pink hair and such a unique way of wearing it; it's very pretty though, isn't it? You know, she almost-" his words suddenly fell dead. His throat clenched and the sound of crumbling stone filled the cavern as the vampire dug his fingers into the ground below. Rei inhaled sharply when his eyes began to glow more brightly than their normal otherworldly hue.
"Who-" Yami nearly choked on the word and pulled his upper lip into a vicious snarl. "Who is the father?" He roared, shattering the cave's calm air with his ear piercing screech. The fairy began to shake uncontrollably.
"I-I-I…" She could only stutter as she gaped toward the terrifying man above her.
"WHO IS THE FATHER OF SERENITY'S CHILD?" He screamed. Suddenly, the clang of an object sounded into the cave, and a canteen rolled harmlessly away from Yami's back.
"I am!" Endymion announced proudly and held his unsheathed sword before him. Coming to stand, Yami glared dangerously toward the human who bravely stood his ground.
"I'll admit, the night we spent together I don't believe she intended to take me as her lover, but after all of this is over I intend to ask her to be my wife. Whatever history you had with her in the past is over. Only I can be there for our child." The Human King seethed. In a blur of speed Yami lunged but with a sickening crack he smacked into a different being midair.
Seto fell atop the powerful vampire, smashing his shoulders into the rock below and his now golden eyes glared in downward.
"If you stand in my way I will merely go through you!" Yami hissed dangerously, but his advance was again halted by the fully transformed werewolf's incredible strength. The vampire smirked.
"We both know you can't hold me here for long. You will always be inferior to me," Yami roared but Seto growled, again launching his powerful forearms against the man he pinned.
"And what do you think she will do?" Seto panted, his hold quickly fading. "When she hears that you killed the father of her child." He snarled and suddenly Yami stopped resisting. Perhaps for the first time ever, a flash of defeat came and quickly left from the King of Games' eyes. Paying Seto one last snarl, he disappeared into shadows as if he had never been there at all.
"What's going on?" Anzu came rushing into the cave, dropping the arm-load of supplies she carried. Dropping his transformation, Seto stood to regard her.
"Anzu," he spoke gruffly and flashed cold blue eyes on Endymion's. "Escort Endymion to the outside of the cave and make sure he gets there as quickly as possible." The Human King narrowed his eyes.
"I'm not leaving!" He roared.
"Oh you had better," Seto growled. "You better leave and you better run as far and as fast as you can. Because as soon as Yami comes to his senses he's going to change his mind about not killing you and I won't be there to stop him again." Gritting his teeth, Endymion flashed a glance to Rei who was now sitting up appearing near hysterics as she stared in horror toward him. Wordlessly, he fell to Anzu's side and the two quickly began rushing to the cave's exit. Making a cursory glance of the surroundings, Seto turned his gaze upon Rei who looked up to him with tears welling in her eyes.
"Is it true?" He questioned harshly.
"I-I," Rei murmured, still positively in shock. "The timing…when the humans came to the Moon…it's about right. I don't remember exactly when the Princess was born." Seto sighed.
"Well, calm down. It's taken care of, they're already outside I can hear them." He reassured her, but she failed to hold her tears back any longer.
"I am despicable." She said between sobs. "I have betrayed my queen. I am more worthless than-"
"How?" Seto snapped, catching her eyes from where they stared hopelessly to the ground. "Because some disgusting vampire broke into your brain with his godless powers? You're not the one at fault. Do not forget who here is the monster." He growled.
She was caught off guard when the werewolf quickly scooped her smaller body into his arms. Moving to sit, he propped himself up against the wall and held her against him, carefully adjusting her injured leg so that it wouldn't be uncomfortable.
"I dumped all the leaves I had collected for bedding when I heard Yami speaking to you." He explained shifting his blue eyes down to her. "You'll have to make do with me, I guess," he said with a smirk earning a surprised blush from the fairy. "Rest for now, we'll see what we can do with your leg in a while."
Serenity drew in a deep breath as she took in the night air. Though her heart was heavy and anxious it felt good to be flying. Propelling herself through the skies by the power of her own wings was a temporary diversion.
Jou flew just beyond her with Mai in his arms. His wings appeared differentthan hers. Instead of resembling that of a sparkling butterfly's they were charged with pulsing and crackling electricity as they sliced through the atmosphere.
"And here I thought fairy wings were rather feminine." Mai commented looking up at him in utter awe. "You're just full surprises, Thunder God."
"Heh," Jou smirked. "You know, that name is really growing on me."
"Show me a good time and I can tell you some better ones." The woman said with a seductive wink.
"Eh, heh heh heh heh." The Fae Prince laughed nervously.
"Woo hoo!" Honda called out to them as he rode on Blue Eye's back. "I need to get me a pair of wings. This flying thing is kind of exhilarating!"
"Mai, are we close enough for you to give us further direction?" The huge dragon's voice boomed into the night.
"Yes, that estate down there in that clearing." She pointed.
"I see it!" Jou exclaimed, and zipped ahead with the others following.
Serenity felt a wave of apprehension wash over her as the large castle came into view. She prayed with all of her heart that the others hadn't suffered any casualties. Of course she was also anxious to see Yami. She was certain he'd be angry with her for not making it back to this location originally which is what had been planned. The fairy vowed to make sure he didn't take anything out on Mai, besides, with what she was planning on telling him he may very well forget about the entire incident entirely. There was much to discuss and many fine details to go over but most importantly, with all the ugliness and horror the past few days had brought to light there seemed to be one positive truth that was overwhelming all of her other concerns. She wore a small smile at the thought. At last, she was returning to the home she was born and the arms she wanted to be in. To stay.
"Blue Eyes!" Both Seto and Ra exclaimed simultaneously when the great blue dragon and the two fairies touched the ground.
"Oh Serenity," Ra sighed heavily when he spotted her. "Thank goodness, you all are alright? What happened? Weren't you supposed to come here immediately? And wherever did they find you, son?" He turned his smiling eyes upon the light skinned dragon that was just a tad larger than he.
"We ran into trouble with some elves," Honda commented darkly when he leapt to the ground. "If it wasn't for Blue Eyes we might not have gotten out of their alive."
"Elves?" Seto sneered toward Honda. "I should have known. We're way too close to their empire for them to not cause trouble." Serenity turned to Rei who was standing reclusively to herself and tears welled in her eyes.
"Rei!" She exclaimed and threw her arms around her. "Thank goodness you're alright!" Serenity frowned when the other stiffened within her embrace.
"Where's Hotaru?" Anzu asked and silence overcame the group. Ra hung his head and even Seto let his eyes briefly close upon understanding. Scanning her eyes over the rest of them, Serenity pulled back and looked into Rei's eyes that were swollen with emotion.
"Where is Endymion…Yami?" When she spoke the last name, Rei silently trembled.
"Endymion left." Seto spoke succinctly, "And the blood sucker? He's inside. I could detect that vile smell anywhere."
"He left? Is he…" Serenity asked, horror crossing her face.
"He's alive." The Werewolf King interjected, "He just couldn't handle the journey any longer. We can send word on the loss of his companion later."
"Come on," The rejuvenated Mai tugged on Jou's jacket. "Let's go inside." Jou nodded and followed the blonde toward the entrance when suddenly she paused and turned around to the group. "Everyone is welcome inside. The Gate keep is more than large enough for you dragons as well." Mai nodded cordially. Anzu snickered.
"What's up with Blondie, inviting wolves in her house? Did she hit her head or something?" She muttered toward Honda, who raised his hand in salute toward Mai.
"No thanks Mai, we werewolves prefer the outdoors. Rest up, alright?" He called out. Seto and Anzu looked toward him as if he had sprouted a third eye.
"There's a cave nearby that will be a fine residence for us for the night. That way we can help keep watch for any intruders." Ra bowed his head. Glaring at Mai, Seto turned on heel and started stalking away.
"Disgusting," he growled under his breath.
Turning after Jou and Mai, Serenity paused to notice that Rei wasn't following. She looked as if her feet were stuck to the ground, watching the werewolves and dragons walk off in the opposite direction.
"Is everything alright, Rei?" Serenity asked worriedly. The darker haired fairy turned toward her with apparent guilt plastered across her face.
"Queen Serenity," She heaved. "I-I'm so…sorry!" She blurted out and took off in the direction of the others. As she watched her run away she began to take a few steps after her but then stopped. She would speak with her, but the anxious knot in her belly was a reminder that she first owed Yami an explanation that had been put off for far too long.
Upon entrance of the deathly silent fortress, she immediately produced an orb of light in her palm to guide her through the pitch black hallways. Narrowing her scrutiny on the carelessly unlit lanterns hanging from the walls she frowned. Something was wrong, she was sure of it. Certainly Yami was furious she hadn't been there as he had ordered, but she would have expected that he would have at least come outside when he heard their arrival. In any other circumstance the man who claimed her to be the only being he had ever loved would have greeted her in an instant.
Having wandered aimlessly through the building she hadn't a clue on how to navigate, Serenity released an exasperated sigh. Her breath escaped in a thick fog and she paused to fold her chilled hands across her chest. The temperature within the castle was utterly arctic, far colder than it had been outside. Suddenly she felt it, a presence she'd know anywhere. Like a vortex, murky and swirling with spite, she could sense Yami's aura sucking away any trace of tranquility in its company as if it were draining a corpse. Determinedly moving forward, Serenity hugged herself tighter as the air became colder and thinner. It tasted stale like she was trapped in a long forgotten mausoleum.
When it seemed like the temperature couldn't possibly become any more subzero, she finally reached the palace's great hall containing a spanning table that could seat a royal feast for fifty or more. Entering through the massive doorway, she looked to the table that was aglow in the moonlight and covered with a thin sheet of ice. Throwing her glance to the end of the room she shivered upon spying Yami's silhouette. His back was to her where he was turned to the window, looking out toward the Moon that gifted only a little light into the castle's godforsaken darkness. Dropping the orb in her hand, she tried to speak to him but found that the words were trapped in her throat.
It was as if all the world's timepieces had been turned back a thousand years, where she was little more than a frightened fairy, untrained and untested, standing before a ruthless monster that could of desired to break her beneath his fingers, just to see how it would feel. There was no congeniality in the blackness that surrounded him; the feeling she had to come to understand as his own unique expression of his devotion for her. Even with all the promises to forever love and protect her, this man was still absolutely terrifying, but now wasn't the time to lose her resolve.
"Yami," Serenity spoke his name hoarsely. Several moments passed by with him neither flinching nor responding. Pursing her lips, the fairy let her hands fall from where they were tucked around her coal jacket and she traveled deeper into the hall.
"Hotaru," She choked, a few crystal tears escaping her eyes. "Hotaru is dead. I couldn't save her." He again had no response to her confession, hands lost deep into his pockets as he kept his attention firmly focused out the window. It was no surprise he could care less about the human girl, but he also appeared unmoved with the effect her death had had on Serenity. Stopping just a few feet away from him, she gritted her teeth despite the liquids flooding her cheeks.
"What is going on, Yami?" She demanded of him, sounding very much like the Queen she truly was. "Why are you behaving like this? Does this have something to do with why Endymion left? We are all under treaty to neither harm one another nor-" He cut her off with a throaty laugh and finally turned to face her. She froze under his eyes. Their color may have been that of red hot flames but they couldn't have appeared anymore icy. His mouth was pulled into a smirk but his hollow eyes betrayed the mirth that gesture should have conveyed.
"It really is amusing that you still think my subdued behavior has been governed by fear of defying a piece of parchment." He spoke evenly.
"Fear?" Serenity asked, her fury with his insolence overcoming her distress. "No, I always believed you acted in accordance with the words of the promises you've made."
"Promises?" He repeated with a twitch of his lips, his smile never faltering. Serenity stood her ground as he sauntered closer to her, despite his steps seemingly everything but unthreatening.
"You should know," she continued, bravely keeping her blue orbs locked onto his polar opposites. "You've made plenty of them, especially to me."
"And which of those vows are you interested in me keeping?" His eyes fell half lidded as he watched her. "Even for a woman you're rather fickle, so you can understand how I can become confused." Immediately gaping at his insult she quickly snapped her lips shut and sucked in a sharp breath, but he didn't wait for her response.
"Your dear friend you spoke of, he's had all day and most of this night to make his way home." Yami's voice rang mockingly. "I do hope he's made it there safely." Serenity's skin chilled at the sinister tone of his words. "After all, humans: they tend to fall apart so easily." Serenity's eyes widened when he reached out to slide his fingers against the freezing skin of her cheek. His hand fell away when she took a step back from him; horrified accusation burning in her endless blues.
"Fairies do too, actually," he said with the beginnings of a sneer threatening his smile. "But I had always been so painstakingly careful with you."
"What did you do?" Serenity screeched, her hands balling into tighter fists and angry liquids once again threatening to spring from her eyes.
"What an awful accusation," Yami spoke, putting a hand to his chest in feigned hurt. "But don't fret Serenity; I didn't harm your little lover." His fake mirth faded fully into a snarl when her eyes flew open wide. "You really do have an odd taste though, how do you find him, the Human King? I'll admit that they can be interesting to bed, but be assured, whatever pleasure you derive from them won't last very long."
A sudden and loud whap sounded when Serenity's hand flew into the side of Yami's jaw. Drawing back the stinging appendage, the tiny fairy's eyes were narrowed and her chest heaved violently. Yami's eyes had closed upon the surprising impact, but when he opened them again they were blazing with a demonic and red glow.
"You know Serenity," his baritone words sounded quietly. He flashed his fangs to her in an ill-intending smile.
"I don't think anyone has ever struck me as you just have," he took a menacing step toward her. "And lived to tell of it." His threatening aura was pressing against her, but the fire flowing in her veins commanded her lips and the sound of her voice.
"Is that what you want, Yami? To hurt me?" She uttered, her voice trembling in ire. Yami arched one side of his lip.
"It would be a lie to say that the thought hadn't crossed my mind." He whispered venomously. A small laugh barely escaped from where it was clogged in her throat.
"Oh you poor thing, and to think you've restrained yourself all this time," She mocked him. "If hurting-killing me would make you feel so much better…." She trailed, daring him with a glare. "Then maybe you should just do it."
The next thing Serenity felt was the backs of her shoulder blades crunching the ice beneath them. Gasping raggedly, the frigid air burned in her lungs but that sensation was quickly overwhelmed with a warmer one. Digging his fingers roughly into the back of her hair, Yami savagely thrust his mouth against hers. When she yelped he devoured it, capitalizing on the opportunity to deepen the kiss by probing his fiery tongue into the open cavern. Her lips stung from the pressure he exerted on them, but the mix of freezing and hot sensations enveloping her left her feeling exhilarated.
She didn't fight him when she felt his weight pin her helplessly to the surface the table. The warm curves of her body welcomed the attention from his solid one that felt searing in contrast to the biting numbness at her back. He pressed her heavily into the wood and she could hear the tiny pings and screams of the ice shattering beneath. She whimpered into his mouth and he growled, refusing to pull back even if all she wanted was a tiny breath of air. Serenity could taste the emotions on his tongue as if he were mouthing to her clear and coherent words.
I love you…and I hate it.
When he finally released her swollen lips she breathed in sharply, with quick and labored breaths beneath him. His eyes were still ablaze and he snarled, a feral growl escaping his throat before he attacked her mouth again with lightning fast speed. She commanded her frozen arms around his neck and he responded by yanking her form viciously against him, knocking the air from her tortured lungs upon the sudden impact.
Serenity was lost in a dizzy haze, the sensations he induced in her were confusing. She wasn't sure if she wanted to scream down his throat or return this attention solely for the blissful feeling his mouth and touch left with against her body. She hadn't realized they had left the room until her back connected with a pliant surface that embraced her in a sea of rapturous linens.
She no longer cared if this was real. Perhaps this was only an illusion and he was actually greedily draining every last drop of her blood. It was worthless without him anyway, every other sensation for the past thousand years seemed like a fake attempt at a feeling when she compared it to this. The sound of her own voice rang in her ears. He had left her mouth to bring his kisses to her neck and any other patch of flesh he could reach, shredding away any fabric without care if it was in his way.
"Yami!" His name was electric on her lips. Suddenly he stopped his movements, and hovered over her panting. The glow in his eyes subsided and she could barely make out the outline of his face in the absolute black of the room.
"If this is your idea of being hurtful…then I think I should be jealous." Her voice cracked through her labored breaths. He brought a hand to her face, and leaned in close enough for their foreheads to touch.
"You could abuse; torture me all you'd like, Serenity," his velveteen voice crept past her ears. "And I still couldn't ever bring you harm." Her eyes began to water and she moved her smaller hand to cover his resting against her face.
"There is only one thing I'm going to make clear to you before we go down this road again any further." He interrupted, reclaiming his hands to firmly pin hers to the surface of the bed. "Right now, from this point forward, for however long forever should be...you are mine."
"Oh Yami…" She spoke softly, smiling to him beneath his hold. "I've always been yours." With a brief smirk he dipped his head toward her and kissed her thoroughly.
Thanks again to Dustfinger's Cheering Section for beta-ing this chapter!
And thank you to everyone who reviewed: Dustfinger's Cheering Section, Sesshy's Mistress, MichiUsa, Serena-hime, Saris Yui, Krissy, Sakura Waldorf, Cosmic-lover, Eloyse, lily2011, SailorVMoon1311815, Vee, RoseMouto2010, Rach, a1m9a8n8da, and Cataleya001200!
So…some of you are probably thinking all of my questions still aren't answered! So you'll be happy to know I'm pretty sure any confusions will be cleared up in the next chapter! I'm thinking there are only ~2 left for this story so if this seemed dramatic we're quickly reaching the conclusion of this marathon of a fanfiction!
Oh and to clear some things up that Dustfinger pointed out to me (it's nice to get a dif perspective besides my own brain!) If it seemed odd that Rei didn't warn or tell Serenity what happened beforehand it was because she was horribly embarrassed and generally mortified that Yami found out her secret because of her. I tried to illustrate that but I thought I'd point it out just in case. And if you thought it was weird that everything in the room with Yami was frozen it was playing on his ability to control his dark aura, and it was really prevalent (cold, devoid…) because he was REAL pissed off!
Ok, watch out for updates soon! If you want me to update quick…review!