Title: Straight Across

Author: Omnicat

Spoilers & Desirable Foreknowledge: Tensai Okamura & co's Darker than Black: the Black Contractor anime.

Warnings: Mild violence.

Characters & Relationships: Hei &/x Amber

Summary: If he had hurt her more, would she have shown something, anything more satisfying than momentary surprise? / coda to episode 16 / 543 words

Author's Note: Enjoy!


Straight Across

The moment keeps replaying in his head. The smug, teasing smile on her face, the jaunty way she leaned in, the poke to his chest, her surprised little gasp.

The crack of his palm meeting her cheek.

She'd looked (the age Pai was, the last time he saw her) so young and soft and innocent and normal. Liar, liar, liar, graduated from lying with every word and deed to lying with every inch. She must be proud of herself. (She must think it's hilarious to be so young again and show it off to him, while Pai may not even be alive anymore to reach the age they first met Amber at.)

When he thinks about it, he can still feel the tingle in his fingers. The ice and fire in his veins. The livid charge building behind his eyes and between every unnatural molecule of his inhuman body.

He hadn't really wanted to unleash that charge, not until Amber had told him everything he needed to know, or unless he absolutely had to. Using his power (the exact same power as Pai and he doesn't know why, Amber is still the only one who knows why) just wouldn't have been the same as slapping that infuriating look off her face. There's a sense that comes with it that feels physical in almost every way, like the electricity is just another limb, but the effort put in is all mental. He doesn't have to take a breath, or brace himself, or strain with the effort, or throw his entire body into it.

No, he'd wanted the physical feedback; the tangible evidence that he had hurt her, because the impact set his own nerves alight in return.

He wishes, now, that he'd put more force behind his blow. Closed his fist. Grabbed her by the collar and thrown her to the ground (the way she used to drag him into bed) with a knee in the gut, or at the throat. To hell with the fact that she'd have been more uncooperative the more forcefully he refused to play her game. He should've seen what happened coming. Had seen it coming. There was never any question about his galling impotence in the face of her power.

Answers were more important. Pai was more important. But god, what he wouldn't have given for the freedom to just...

If he had hurt her more, would she have shown more than momentary surprise? Would she have shown pain? Would she have shown even the barest glimmer of understanding of what she had done, was still doing to him?

Would breaking her cheekbone the way he'd broken Carmine's fingers have made her spill so much as a single drop of truth about the games she'd played with his heart even before he lost Pai?

No. Not Amber. She'd never give him the satisfaction.

But if he'd hit her as hard as he spent the last five years thinking he wanted to, at least he wouldn't now feel like the unforgivable fucking idiot who turned into a Contractor and still couldn't make himself hurt the traitor who seduced him the way he needed to to get his sister back. The way she deserved.