Title: Paper Soldiers
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Warning: there is quite a lot of non-cons implied, happening off-screen, but if
such things bother you, you probably shouldn't read this
Status/series: complete; there is a sequel - Losers and Saviors
Archive: yes, anywhere
Timing: set after the end of the series
Summary: Saionji is almost happy with his lover - when he finds out Touga's
secret that threatens to shatter everything.
The art is drawn by InvisibleInk
He didn't think they would let him go. At some moment he thought they almost
went too far - and in the end it would be easier for them to finish him off and
hide the body than to risk letting him leave. Then he lost consciousness and
stopped worrying about it.
He came round feeling sharp, unpleasant smell and jerked away from a piece
of cotton brought to his nose. He didn't go far, though - one of them was
holding him by the hair. Touga looked up at the cold, harshly lined face with
disinterested eyes and felt how haze in his mind was dispelled.
The hand in his hair guided him, making him tilt up his head.
"You'll be able to walk, won't you?"
He swallowed, his spittle tasting thick and salty with blood, and nodded
eagerly. The motion made the man's face swim out of focus but Touga hoped it
went unnoticed. He'd walk; he'd crawl if needed - just to get out of here.
He saw a steely flash of blade in the man's hand, and panicked, and felt
disgusted with himself for this fear. It mildly surprised him that he still
could feel disgusted; he thought he exhausted the limit of self-hatred by now.
The man sliced the rope that fixed Touga's hands.
A bundle of his clothes was thrown at him. He couldn't move; couldn't get
up. But he did.
They sat in the low armchairs in front of the fireplace. He could feel their
casual glances on himself as he dressed but he couldn't look back at them. His
hands trembled and he wanted to believe it was because he hurried too much.
"Look at him. The boy has the guts. I thought he'd curl up and die
"He's a fine young man, isn't he?"
He tried not to hear; it was almost possible, to hide beyond the noise in
his head. Not to hear, not to see... Sweet, peach smell reached him as one of
them lit a cigar. He felt sickness coming up, remembering his own screams as
the burning tip had pressed to his body. Not to think...
"So, boy... Tell your father we enjoyed his gift thoroughly."
"Perhaps next time..."
Not to think; stop it! One day it'd be all over. One day there would be no
His wrist was caught as he walked past one of the men. He might not remember
the face but the hands he recognized; he'd learned so well how they felt on his
"No 'good-bye' kiss? How rude."
He let the other's tongue slip into his mouth and waited while the man's
fingers twisted his nipple.
"You like it, slut." The man pushed him away, wiped his fingers
against Touga's hair.
Words didn't matter. All that mattered was the door that was so close. And
there, behind it, he'd be free and safe. As free and safe as he could be.
"So, where did Kiryuu take him?" He heard them talk, as if he
already wasn't there.
"I think adopted him, years ago. It was a fine investment, ne?"
"The boy just pays back - for everything Kiryuu-san did for him."
He stepped on the porch, feeling cold night wind catch his hair. The sky was
starry and bright but he saw his own stars, as pain shot through him. The door
behind him slammed shut and only then he really believed they were not going to
stop him. He wouldn't be able to prevent it if they wanted him back... but,
maybe, it would've been to the best. He'd finally pay, once and for all.
Moonlight and street lamps were pale stains of yellow floating in the
darkness. He bit his lip trying to concentrate, to make sure that the street
was empty. Thanks goodness for the late hour; no one would see him as he
The pavement hit his knees abruptly, making him give out a short, sharp cry.
He pressed the elbow to his belly protectively, curling over his knees. Blood
was filling his mouth again.
He waited for the lights to stop dancing in front of his eyes, then pushed
wet, sticky hair out of his eyes and spat. Blood was red and shiny on the grey
asphalt. He had to move; he had to get home - before it was too late. Before
anyone found out.
But, maybe... It made him dizzy - the desperate, ultimately weak thought
that came to his mind - the thought he had no right to have. Maybe, there was
someone who could find out - and it still wouldn't be shattering for him.
The wall felt cool and solid behind his back. He pulled out his cell phone
and threw the lid open. The little keys illuminated green seemed alive,
bouncing in front of his eyes, making it an ordeal to catch and press the right
It'd be crazy if he got a wrong number... Keiko's, for example. It'd be
crazy if he got the right one, all the same.
He listened to the long beeps. There would be no answer... good. Then the
voice broke in, hoarse with sleep and quite annoyed.
It was just a whisper. Not enough to be heard - and Touga felt glad, felt
relieved listening to the pause that followed.
"Touga? What is it? What do you want?"
Help me. He couldn't say that. He never would say that; all the rest
He looked at the talking phone; Saionji's voice sounded small and faint this
way, asking him if something happened, where he was.
Nothing happened; it was the only thing he had to believe in.
Touga closed the lid and clasped bloodied phone in his hand. It was going to
start calling now; he just knew it.
He threw it away, on the road, as far as he could. He closed his eyes not to
see where it fell - but, maybe, it didn't matter. It probably got shattered all
Never mind; he had a long walk in front of him.
* * *
A day earlier
I didn't know it was possible: to hold in my arms someone so utterly
beautiful - and something so... alien. With all the closeness of him - long
hard limbs crossed with mine; soft strands of red fallen over my chest... with
all the reality of him, of his warm smooth skin and hard peaks of his
nipples - he still didn't seem quite present to me - not quite here. Not once
during all those times. Maybe, it would always be like this. Maybe, it was
something wrong with me.
"Do I sometimes feel... strange to you?" I shifted, getting free
from under his arm thrown across my chest, turned over him and put my chin on
his collarbone. Touga's eyes between nearly closed eyelashes were splinters of
blue diamonds. Okay, I've never seen blue diamonds but I guess that's how they
might look - cold and bright and unbreakable.
"Like what?" I felt a small reverberation of his chest as he
chuckled. "Like not a girl? Like a penis instead of a vagina? Like no
breasts?" His hand flew up lightly, brushing against my chest.
How was he doing it? I bit the inside of my cheek, scared again with
immediacy and urgency of my response.
"I don't mean that, Touga. If you say 'a hole is a hole' now, I'll
His smile was pure challenge, making his face so childish, making him look
familiar for once - like a boy whom I thought I knew. Or was it always only
wishful thinking, that I ever knew him?
A shrill sound of his handy made me jump. I heard Touga laugh again, his
palm patting my back in a gesture of someone calming down a pet, before he
brought the phone to his ear.
"No, it's me. I was just listening. I love the sound of your voice.
Yes. Yes. Say it again."
I moaned and fell back on the carpet. As always. I knew word by word what
"Of course, beautiful one," I mouthed.
"Of course, beautiful one," Touga said.
"I'll be where you need me."
"I'll be where you need me. I can't wait till tomorrow. At nine,
I knew his date lines just as I knew the lines of his body: the contour of
his vertebrae as he sat cross-legged, the way to hold the phone by his cheek
against his collarbone, the red flood of his hair curtaining his shoulders. And
it made me wonder even more: where it was hidden, the ever-elusive of his,
something that I could never catch, no matter how I tried.
He switched off and turned to me, his eyes sparkling with laughter,
seemingly warm. The warmth felt worse than a knife because I knew he didn't
feel warm neither towards me nor to his recent interlocutor, whoever it'd been.
"I thought you got used to this ring by now." He was mocking me
but not unkindly - and I found it even bitterer than when he was openly
derisive. "But if you keep flinching like this, I can change the
"You can throw it away," I muttered, not happy with what I said
but not finding anything better.
"One day, Kyouichi, one day."
He stretched against me and I closed my eyes, for a moment, as the heat of
his body overcame me. He smelled with mint shower gel but in the curves of his
elbows as he put his arms around me I could feel his own smell, light and warm
Oh well... It was damn amazing how he managed to make every his gesture
something incredibly condescending - even something so pleasant as the ring of
his arms. His slightly narrowed eyes looked down at me.
"Do you at least know who it was?" I hated the hoarseness of my
voice but I couldn't help it, no more than I could help the bottom of my belly
pressing involuntarily against his, making my hardness undeniable.
"I do." He didn't specify. Arrogant bastard.
"A man or a woman?" Cut it off, Saionji; just how low can you
He fingers sneaked through my hair, touched my neck, stroking behind my ear.
"A woman, of course. You're my only one, in that aspect."
I would've been more prone to believe it if I hadn't heard the same words
said just two days ago to someone on the phone.
But do you know what? I was not sure I cared. Not if his lies meant that he
still wanted to keep me close.
He kissed me, and I kissed him back, in concentration - and as long as his
warm lips were joined with mine, his tongue learning the curves of my mouth, I
could almost believe he was fully with me; I could stop wondering whether it
would last long.
My reflection was in his pupils and I looked at my own wild,
passion-stricken face appearing and vanishing as his eyelashes fell and rose.
My groin burned, ached in impatience - so much that Touga's erection against
mine felt almost painful. He rubbed himself against me, in a deliberate
movement that made me growl and shudder.
I hit my head against the floor, nearly yelping out. Nanami's thin voice and
her fast steps approached from the door but I still caught myself on the hope
it wasn't happening.
The only good thing about Kiryuu's house was that it was so big.
"I told you we should've gone to your room!"
"Shut up." One moment I was still enveloped in Touga's maddening
warmth - and then he was gone, on his knees, gathering his clothes from the
floor. "What are you waiting for? Get dressed!"
"Why?" I sighed but obeyed. What wouldn't he make me do?
"What will happen if she knows about us?"
He gave me a haughty look that strangely didn't discord with his unbuttoned
jacket and mussed up hair.
"For a young woman as Nanami it will give a wrong impression of
I would laugh if I had more time. Having his girlfriends pasting themselves
all over her in hope to get in favor with him was good for her moral, indeed.
Touga managed to flop on the sofa right at the moment when his sister walked
in. I still had my jacket loose, so, I turned to the window quickly.
"Oniisama! Saionji-sempai!" Her voice sounded slightly puzzled but
I was not sure what caused it. "What are you doing?"
I heard Touga shift - and a rustle of glossy pages right after that.
"Hello, Nanami." At last I turned. Her face looked quite perplexed
for a few moments. Then she shook her head and made a step back.
"I'll make you some tea or something, okay?"
"Thank you, sister," Touga said without looking up.
I waited for Nanami to disappear in the kitchen and then let myself loose.
"Reading, yeah?" I took the magazine carefully from his hands.
"'Nails.' I guess it's okay but it'll make more sense if you don't keep it
Touga gave me another contemptuous look and grinned.
"You buttoned your jacket two buttons awry, Saionji."
Hmm, I guess that was it; I did notice it felt strange.
Nanami made perfect tea; as perfect as were small cookies in white chocolate
that looked freshly baked. I guess they might've been - I never had any idea
how many servants there were in the house, making the lives of two spoiled
"You have found it, oniisama, haven't you?" When Nanami had been a
kid, she had a habit to make 'oniisama' every second word in her speech. Now
she only used it once in every phrase. "The note I left you?"
"Which one?" Touga bit on a cookie thoughtfully and pulled a
strand of his hair out of his mouth. Well, he could afford making a mess out of
himself; it didn't harm him at all.
"That otosama called. Did you call him back?"
I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't looked so hard - as I always looked
at him: Touga's fingers trembled just a little as he reached for another
cookie. He never took it, anyway.
"No. I haven't found it."
"Then call him!" Nanami pouted, twisting a tress of his hair
around her index finger. "He asked you to do it urgently."
"I'll call him, Nanami." I knew that voice - the brittle, cruel
iciness of it. The iciness that made me feel as if everything, every moment of
closeness I managed to claw out for us was just a phantom.
"I just thought..." Nanami didn't pout any more, she was red and
about to cry. She jumped up just like me as the phone rang. It was the one on
the table, though, not the handy. I looked into my cup pointedly as Nanami
picked up the receiver.
"Hai! Yes, sure, I just gave him a telling-off for not calling
you." Well, I guess she couldn't find a more inappropriate word to what
she did but I left it on her conscience. "Here he is, wait a moment."
She stretched out her hand with the receiver and Touga, already on his feet,
took it. I didn't even notice how he got up; lazy-graceful and swift as always.
"Yes, father." A voice I hadn't heard from him before. Or, maybe,
I did but I didn't remember when. Subdued and quiet and full of hidden anger -
but the anger that was never to come up. "Yes, I know why you call. No,
I'm not happy. Yes, I will do it."
"Cookies?" Nanami's little hands pushed the saucer right in my
face. "Please take one more, Saionji-sempai."
I took another one - a heart-shaped one, with wavy lines of red jam on
white. How trite.
"I understand," I heard Touga's voice and his soft steps as he
paced around the room; the receiver was not pressed under his chin, I noticed
with my peripheral sight, but clenched in his hand, his knuckles almost white.
"I do remember. I know how important it is for you. Just tell me when and
I saw him make a short note on the margin of a magazine. He hung up - and
started dialing another number.
"Kozue-san? Sorry, our plans for tomorrow night have to be changed.
I'll call you back, how about it? Oh no. Have I ever let you down?"
I took another sip of tea, looking at the greenish reflection of my face on
the bottom of the cup.
"That's... that's abominable!" I heard Nanami's choked whisper.
Oh, of course, it was. That's why Touga was doing it. He knew exactly what
his words did - to me, to Nanami. I wish I didn't give him this pleasure of
knowing me so well - but I could do nothing about it, no more than Nanami could
Stupid girl... Stupid Saionji. Two paper marionettes for one manipulator:
paper dolls - a toy and a lover - both dancing as the strings yanked.
"I hope my tea is not cold yet."
I listened to his voice as he sat down on the floor next to us - and thought
that I could live with it; as long as I could be with him.
* * *
It wasn't his voice. I had heard him purr, like a big contented cat,
oh-so-dangerous; I had heard him sound cold and hard, like a blade of the sword
coming out of my chest - or through it; I knew his voice, low in passion, a
minor wordless sound that might or might not be my name as he came inside me.
This... couldn't be him. A mere rustle, with no expression in it apart from
what I could take only for exhaustion. Touga just wasn't like that. But the
name, the name he called...
In the darkness, caught in the crumpled sheets of my bed, I felt the
receiver get slippery in my suddenly wet hand.
"Touga? What is it? What do you want?"
I heard him on the other side of the line, silent; and then a soft click and
little sounds of broken connection.
It must've been a joke. Very much like Touga. I gave the receiver a
disgusted look and fell back on the pillows. Quarter to three. He has no idea
that people sometimes sleep at night, does he?
Very much like Touga. I recalled how, when we were eleven, he once put my
alarm-clock three hours ahead - and how I woke up and walked to school in
complete darkness - and then cried on the porch because the streets were empty
and I thought I'd fallen into the past, like in Stephen King's book, and the
Langoliers were going to eat me.
Yes, now it did come up as funny.
I stretched as anger and amusement dispelled the remnants of sleepiness. It
was when I almost could believe I'd convinced myself. Very much like Touga...
only his voice...
"Kyouichi." Why the fuck was it all he said?
Perhaps some girl covered his mouth with a kiss, that's why.
I sat up abruptly and grabbed the receiver. If he wanted an awaken Saionji,
well, that's exactly what he was going to have. Long beeps. He didn't pick up.
Of course, he knew it was me. I should've given up; there would be another day
and another way to deal with it... Maybe, I'd even manage an angry word or two
until he would take my lower lip between his teeth and I would forget how to
I put the receiver back - and picked up it again. Call me crazy - because
that's what I am. His home number... I just wanted to tell him what I thought
of his jokes. I just wanted to make sure it was a joke.
Oh shit. Nanami.
"Nanami, is Touga there?"
For a first few moments she must've been too sleepy to be really angry.
"Who's that? He's not at home yet. Saionji? Don't you think it's a bit
impolite to call at that hour?"
"Tell it to your brother!"
What else did I expect? Of course, he was not at home. Of course, he laid
his head on the shoulder of some little wench from the Academy.
"I just wanted to make sure he was..."
"Sweet dreams, Saionji-sama."
Beeps. Real good, Saionji. If you don't sleep, let another one not to sleep,
too. I hugged the pillow and closed my eyes. Some things were better not to
* * *
He saw the front lights of the car before it turned around the corner and
had time to step to the shadows under the cornice. The car was a red one and
moved too fast, and he was grateful for it. A sharp movement he'd made sent a
wave of pain through his body. He felt hot inside his belly and where his
fractured ribs touched his lung but the trickles of sweat on his temples were
What would anyone say if they saw him like this... Student Council
President, on shaky feet and bleeding through his immaculate white uniform.
Touga pressed the hand to his mouth, muffling laughter. It would be the end
of everything for him. Paradoxically, ne? Because he got there just because he
wanted to keep his standing, because most of all he was afraid to stop being
who he was. Kiryuu Touga, rich, successful, with oh-so-promising future.
"Remember what I'm doing for you and your sister." His
father's voice resounded in his mind; steady, almost bored voice - just as it
had been on the phone yesterday afternoon. Just as it had been every time
repeating these words. "Where would you be now if I didn't adopt you?
Where will you be if I disown you now? You still need me, my boy. Nanami still
needs me. And as long as you do, you're going to do what I tell you."
No one would say he was a bad son, indeed.
He laughed again, holding on to his ribs, and bit down the sound. It was
just too pathetic. Come on, nothing happened that he wouldn't be able to
handle. It'd been worse when he was little, when he was soft and let it hurt
his soul as much as his body.
He'd changed since then and he would cope. He couldn't afford thinking
The sight of his house was blurry but Touga thought with dry amusement that
he'd never been so happy to see this place.
* * *
She sometimes had trouble with defining who was the most outrageous person
in her life - too many contestants; but Saionji Kyouichi with his phone call at
three a.m. had all the chances to become a favorite. For a few moments Nanami
glared at the phone, then picked up the receiver again and yelled there:
"Do you even have an idea what time it is?"
She realized she was answered with a long steady sound. Yeah, sure; she'd
hung up herself. Damned green-haired idiot. To call here at night and ask for
Touga - one had to be brain-damaged for that. As if Touga was ever at home at
night. Well, she guessed he was out on business this time, doing something for
their father but it didn't change the fact that his normal company was some
Nanami huffed in exasperation. Since Tenjou Utena was gone and no one apart
from Nanami, even Touga, seemed to recall her, it wasn't so bad. In fact,
Nanami felt safer when her brother divided his attention to a bunch of losers
than when he focused on that arrogant tomboy. If it were possible to make all
those girls disappear the same way...
She sighed; one could never have everything. Still, it was nice just to
imagine it, one of the fantasies that put Nanami to sleep happily, even after
Saionji's outrageous call.
She curled in her bed and heard the key turn in the lock.
"Here he is."
Her sleepiness was gone abruptly, irrevocably. I'm not going to go down,
she thought, I haven't lost my face this much... yet. But even saying
that she already put her bare feet on the floor and walked to the door. It
would hurt her to see him as he would be, contented and tired after his date,
it would make her angry, Nanami knew it. But she wanted to see him, couldn't do
anything about herself; could never see enough of him. So what if he was her
brother? Stranger things happened here than one girl hopelessly in love with
He wasn't in the hall as she walked downstairs. But she felt him, as only
she could. She walked up to the door and opened it.
"Come on, how long are you going to stand there?"
He looked at her with unfocusing eyes of a drug-addict or a lunatic, for a
few heartbeats making her sure that he didn't see her. His mouth was bloodied
and she moved her gaze at his chest, unexplainably convinced that she would see
a stain of red spreading on his uniform, that he'd fenced and was wounded -
"I'm okay, Nanami." He must've understood what she thought. His
voice sounded almost normal, calm and level - and then he stepped in, letting
go the wall he'd been holding on to in support - leaving a streak of blood on
the stone. "Stay quiet. If you're going to squeal, I'll slap you."
She was going to; she wouldn't call it with such an undignified word as
'squeal' - but she closed her mouth with her hands and didn't make a sound. He
walked past her to the stairs, muttering:
"I just need to clean up a little."
* * *
He hadn't really expected her to keep silent; but she did - thanks goodness.
Perhaps she didn't even notice anything, Touga thought, it was pretty dark, she
might not notice. Or not notice much.
It couldn't come to his mind that she'd meet him at the door, at three a.m.
or what time it was - but he hoped he'd be able to deceive her. In the morning
he'd comfort her, he'd talk her in rounds until she forgot everything. He'd
done it before, on minor occasions - he'd do it again.
Nanami didn't have to know.
"You don't think it's your sister's turn to pay her debts?"
He recalled their father's voice, a note of derision in it. "I can
arrange it. Then you'll be free from your obligations."
Nanami wouldn't know; as long as he could prevent it from happening.
He felt elated when the door of his room closed behind him. He'd made it;
now everything was going to be okay. Now he only needed to get to the bath -
and then... then he could rest.
Touga still remembered how he reached his hand to the light switch - and
then everything turned black - and he even didn't feel hitting the floor this
He came up seeing the darkness that still was thick over his eyes but
dissipated slowly. He lay on his side, in the square of light from the open
door to the bathroom. His ribs hurt; his head hurt; he must've hit it when
falling... now could it be any more disgusting?
He pushed himself up and fought dizziness that made red and black circles
dance in front of his eyes. He didn't throw up, luckily, but he wasn't sure if
another movement would go as smoothly.
Get up. Have a shower and go to bed. Then in the morning he'd be
himself again, real Kiryuu Touga - not this shivering, pathetic creature
crouched on the floor.
He must've blacked out again because when he regained consciousness once
more, he felt less cold for some reason. Something soft and wooly covered him;
it almost made him feel good. It made him wonder where it came from.
He sensed Nanami's presence behind him before he heard her. She was dialing
"Where're you calling?"
He couldn't turn, couldn't look back, felt too weak for that but he heard
"Emergency care," she said softly.
"Don't call anywhere."
He wished it was not such an agony to argue with her. He hoped his voice
still sounded with enough authority.
"Come here. Go open the hot water to the tub and help me get up."
So, she'd noticed. Well, he couldn't do anything about it - but he didn't
need her to meddle.
She obeyed, the hem of her nightgown brushing the floor in front of his
eyes. He heard the sound of running water and nearly slipped away again. She
returned, her heart-shaped face white and obstinate, her teeth stuck deeply
into her lower lip. She knelt in front of him.
"Just give me hand, Nanami."
It was an understatement, by all means - he needed more than a hand but he
hoped he'd be able to force his body into obedience once more. After all, if
everybody else could get from his body everything they wanted - why couldn't
he? Pain hit through him as he moved, from his torn anus almost to his solar
plexus. He knew he bled more - and, trying to stay lucid, he dug his fingers in
Nanami's narrow shoulders.
Her smell enveloped him, clean and warm and somehow incredibly innocent. But
that's how she was supposed to smell, an innocent kid she was. His own smell
was what it was supposed to be: blood and burnt flesh and someone's come.
"...time for your sister to pay the debts..."
How dared his father say it?
He squeezed Nanami's frail shoulders, hearing a tiny strangled sound she
made. He must've hurt her. But he wouldn't let her be hurt in another way, he'd
do everything to prevent it. She would never be in his place.
"Okay, let me go," he said finally, not quite aware that it was
him who was clinging to her, his clenched fingers nearly tearing the thin silk
of her nightgown. "I'll get up myself, Nanami."
At this moment the door to his room flew open - and there, squinting his
eyes and with uncombed hair over his shoulders stood Saionji.
"What are you thinking, really, leaving the house unlocked..."
Touga saw the lilac eyes go wide suddenly as Saionji saw them, his face
getting pale and very unhappy. Saionji's voice went to icily cold in one split
moment and still trembled slightly as he spoke - but his eyes were blazes of
"I'm sorry, I was not intended to disturb your... intimacy."
It was disgusting! Just what a spoiled mind could Saionji have? But, maybe,
maybe, Touga thought suddenly, it was better for him to think that.
He didn't have a choice over that, however, because at the next moment
Saionji's eyes stopped on Touga's hand clenched on Nanami's nightgown - and
Touga knew what he saw... they had worked good on this hand.
Saionji didn't say another thing. He slid on his knees, next to them, his
strong arms, much more solid support than Nanami's, wrapped around Touga's
waist - and suddenly Touga thought that now he could let go. There would be
time for shame and self-hatred later. Right now, held by Saionji, he felt safe.
* * *
I'd never been scared more, I think, as at the moment when his eyes rolled
up and his head fell against my shoulder. What was with him? Was he... I looked
at his features sharpened to the starkness of bones under waxen skin, his mouth
bruised almost black and swollen. Touga's hair pooled loosely and lifelessly on
the floor around him. Blood in it wasn't really red, more brownish and sticky.
I felt it smell. It smelled all over him; and something else, something
revoltingly familiar but much worse, much more sinister, something that I
didn't want to define.
I'd never been more grateful to hear Nanami's high-pitched voice; her panic
returned me to my wits. I found the beating of pulse under his jaw, fast but
"No, he isn't. What happened?"
"I..." Her lips jumped as if she was going to cry but her face was
just flushed, her eyes too dry. "How am I supposed to know? He just
came... like... like that..."
Half an hour ago he wasn't at home. He called me from somewhere... he called
for me... Help me. He'd never said that - I'd never heard it from him.
But my body was wiser than my mind since I found myself walking to his house
before I realized I was doing it.
"Have you called a doctor?"
Touga's body sagged in my arms - and his hand still clenched on the lace of
Nanami's nightgown, his pale bloodied fingers holding on it like on the last
She sobbed, still tearlessly.
"He told me not to. He said he wanted a bath."
So much like Touga. I sighed thinking it.
"Okay. A bath, then."
His hand slipped off the silky material as I raised him. I hadn't known I
would ever be able to raise him in my arms; I hadn't known I would ever try. It
was just a few steps to the bathroom, misty from the running water.
"Nanami, do you have some pills?"
"Some painkillers. I don't know, something for the headache." She
nodded. "Then put some... three, four in the water."
I thought he would need it; but mostly I wanted her out of there.
I put him on the floor and started unbuttoning his jacket. I didn't want to
see it; I knew what I would see. Blood soaked even through his uniform on his
back, marring white with dark dirty red. It got dry in some places and he
flinched, coming out of unconsciousness, as I pulled his jacket off. My stomach
lurched at the sight. I wanted out of there, too. And I wanted to scream.
I thought I was ready - but I couldn't be prepared to see something so...
deliberate. I realized suddenly that till now, I still had some unreasonable
hope that, maybe, it might be just an accident, I dunno - a fight, a car crash,
whatever. Of course I should've known better.
I bit my lip, trying to cope with myself, and failed.
"You stupid idiot!" I shook him, my fingers gripping on his upper
arms where his skin was unmarked. "Why did you let it be done to you?"
His head lolled listlessly, his white face with closed eyes looking dead. I
shrunk back when his lips parted, his voice so faint that I barely heard it.
"Because he told me to."
"Who?" I pulled him closer, looking at his face intently, waiting
for the answer. Touga's split lips moved again.
"I'm paying the debts. For everything he'd done for me... and
"Who..." I started and couldn't finish, realization too shocking
for a sound to come out.
Touga's eyes opened suddenly, recognition coming to them and anger with it.
"Saionji? What are you doing? What are you prying out here?"
I'm here because you called for me, I wanted to say. But I knew he would say
he didn't call. I knew I could repeat my question but he wouldn't answer, now
when he was lucid enough. So, I just said:
"I'm getting you into the tub. I think you wanted to wash."
He stared at me for a few seconds, his eyes unbearably dark. I almost didn't
hope he would submit - but he did finally - or, maybe, his body gave up as he
closed his eyes again.
I felt an agonizing grip of pain on my heart as I pushed his hair away from
his forehead - and I didn't know what hurt worse, pity that I felt suddenly
towards him - or anger. Damn Touga... why didn't you ever tell...
What? He hadn't told me anything - he would never tell.
On his wrists there were raw stripes of abraded skin. He let himself being
tied up... just as he let someone...
Then, in the bedroom, when I'd taken him from Nanami's arms, a suspicion
flashed through my mind, prompted by the alien smells clinging to his body. But
it couldn't happen... not with Touga...
Of course it was exactly that - there was no doubt any more as I looked at
the purple imprints of teeth on his shoulder, his swollen bruised nipples.
Much milder, lighter traces I found on my own body sometimes after our
lovemaking. A mark left by him on my collarbone - or a too tender nipple, a
mere touch on it bringing me on the verge of climax at the memory of his
fingers pinching and pulling it. What had been done to him was not lovemaking,
of course - not even sex. It'd been done to hurt. And they succeeded in it.
I held his head in the cradle of my arm, unable to look away from his face.
His eyes were closed and even though he seemed unconscious, his eyebrows were
drawn together in a frown of pain. I thought suddenly I had never held him so
close for so long before... He always called the shots, told me what to do, did
what he wanted...
I placed him on the floor carefully and stood up to turn off the water. The
tub was steaming, almost full. I took a few deep breaths. I didn't want to do
what I had to do. But what the hell... Who else?
I unzipped his pants and pulled them down; I turned my face away slightly.
It felt somehow bad, I couldn't explain it, to see him naked like this, despite
all those hours I spent with my nose buried in the soft curls of his groin.
I remembered it so well...
"Now get on your fours, Kyouichi."
"You meant to say 'fuck me'?"
I remembered blinding pain, and blinding pleasure, and the grip of his hands
on my hips - and the warmth of his pelvis against my ass... and how I felt
complete at last.
He didn't have his underwear on; there were some rags, blood-soaked, stuffed
between his legs. I tried to take them away and had to pull them and knew they
were partly shoved inside his body. Some more blood leaked out of him. I
waited, in terror, but there was not much of it. He almost stopped bleeding.
Damn him, he should've seen a doctor. He was a madman... and I was a madman
that I went along with his wishes. But I knew he would never forgive me if I
Perhaps he would never forgive me as it was.
I picked him up and lowered to the water carefully.
His eyes snapped open, widened in shock and black with pain. His hand
clasped on mine convulsively as he shivered. I let him hold on to me. Then he
pushed my hand away as if he disliked touching it; the movement splashed a good
deal of water on me.
"Leave now, Saionji. I need some privacy."
"I'll just wash you," I said. "I don't touch you."
I didn't know if he trusted me.
* * *
Unconsciousness rose and ebbed over him; and in a way, it felt good, because
it stopped him from wondering how he managed to get out of the tub and back to
his room. He knew, of course, how - Saionji; Touga could feel his presence
somewhere near, even when he felt nothing else. Saionji's face was blurry - but
heavy soft curls of green hair that brushed occasionally over his cheek were
real. Saionji's hands were real, warm and strong; feeling these hands made it
so easy to fall - because they promised to catch him.
He didn't want to be caught; he couldn't afford to fall. Touga shook his
head but it didn't clear the haze, just brought a wave of dizziness. He
clenched his teeth not to moan. He was such a failure, couldn't manage
Another fragment of reality; he was in his bed now, on his back, with his
wet hair raised on the pillow under his head. He was pretty sure he hadn't done
it himself. He felt warmer now even though he could feel slight draft of air on
his bare chest.
Saionji was still there; when will he go away... Annoying fool. Touga didn't
want his care, didn't want him as a witness. By now Saionji must've known
everything. Known the truth, you mean?
"Shh," Saionji's voice, bright, confident, returned him to
reality. "Don't get up." He didn't know he tried to. "It's okay,
These words were almost comforting - even though Touga knew it was not true.
He looked up, at the ceiling where the shadows floated in front of his eyes
as his eyelashes rose and fell, a longish shape of Saionji easily recognizable
"What do you want from me?"
There was no time for answer; Touga heard the light steps approach the room.
He didn't want to see her, to meet Nanami's eyes, so, he just lay and looked
up. Saionji's shadow moved; Touga felt a sheet fall across his hips, covering
the lower part of his body. He felt more gratitude to Saionji for that than he
wanted to admit.
"Here." Touga heard Nanami's soft whisper and then clinking of
The shadow play above him continued, Saionji standing, waiting for Nanami to
leave. Then a brink of a glass pressed to Touga's lips.
"Here, drink it."
He did; the water seemed sparkling and he thought it must've been some
soluble painkillers, Panadol or something, Saionji had asked Nanami for.
"You don't want to see a doctor, right? Well, I'm no doctor. Then bear
"I appreciate your help. But there's nothing I can't do myself any
more." Touga tried to muster his normal voice, the voice that didn't leave
a chance to disobey. It wasn't easy - his throat felt sore and tender, for some
reason... he hadn't even screamed a lot tonight, they'd put a gag in his mouth
The pause was long enough for him to hope that it worked.
He sat up abruptly, trying to deceive his weakness - and gasped in pain.
Rest made him almost forget how really clumsy he was. Through haze, he saw
Saionji's face very close. He raised his hand to slap blindly.
His wrist was caught - and as he lost his balance, he was caught, too, in a
grip firm and surprisingly gentle. Why would be Saionji so gentle with him...
He, Touga, had never spared him - not in fight, not in bed, not in betrayal.
Why did Saionji... What did he want?
"Bear with me." Saionji's chest was warm and solid and it felt so
good to lean against it. Dangerously good. It almost made him feel as if
everything could be all right. Stupid thought...
"You're wet," he said and felt Saionji chuckle.
"Guess who's got me wet." Touga's hand in Saionji's fingers was
turned gently. "It's gonna hurt a little."
He felt sharp smell of disinfectant - and something like liquid flame
splashed on the back of his hand.
"Shh... It's okay, it's okay."
Why did it come to Saionji's thick head that he needed to be comforted?
Touga closed his eyes and let Saionji lower him back on the pillows. The
stinging touches of alcohol made him wince slightly. He could've relished the
thought of being cleaned, completely, at last - but he knew it didn't clean
him. It never did.
He waited for Saionji to talk - for inevitable questions. Of course, he was
not going to give any answers. But Saionji was silent and Touga looked at his
face at last, through nearly closed eyelashes. Kyouichi's wild hair was even
more messed up than usual, making almost a curtain in front of his pale, frozen
I'll miss seeing this face, Touga thought suddenly and thinking it
almost made him scream. I'll miss seeing him as he is sometimes, under me,
when our hair mix on the floor around his face - and his eyes, darkened with
passion, so strangely innocent at the same time - and I see not only my
reflection in them but also upturned castles and roses and crowns. I'll miss
these moments he makes me feel as if I am the only one for him, his prince, his
invincible, unblemished one.
Princes don't get fucked from both ends on the floor and don't get
cigarettes stubbed against their balls.
"Here, turn face down."
The words sounded mildly but he panicked all the same, too recent memories
flooding him. He clenched his teeth and waited for panic to ebb. It was Saionji
here, with him, nothing threatened him... Digging his fingers in the pillow
He felt Saionji's fingers and wet piece of cotton touch his back. Sometimes
pain almost felt good - it didn't let him concentrate on anything else.
He caught Saionji's hand as it moved lower.
"I have to."
Once, many years ago, he knew how to cry. He had lain hugging the pillow and
let tears slip over his cheeks. It actually must've felt good; one more thing
that he missed. One more thing that he'd lost.
He'd lose more, after this night.
Damn Saionji, do you know what you have done? Why do you have to be so
supportive, so sensitive... so obstinate? Why did you have to come here - and
destroy it for both of them?
It was so much to pay. Losing Saionji was not in the contract - not in the
agreement he had with his father. But... what did he expect? Life was not fair
- just as he'd never been fair towards Saionji.
"Now it's almost over."
He felt a wet strand of Saionji's hair slide against his ribs and ached -
not with physical pain but knowing that it was for the last time he felt it.
"Yes." The voice was heartbreakingly soft - just as the hands that
turned him and put him on the pillows again, so carefully. Who'd ever known
that Kiryuu Touga could be treated like a porcelain doll? He saw Saionji reach
his hand, so slowly, tentatively, as if giving Touga a chance to push this hand
away. He didn't push it away, he felt rough fingers plait through his hair,
brush against his temple. What he was going to say would be more cruel and
final than pushing away.
"Okay," Saionji said obediently and waited.
"I never, never want to see you again." Here; he managed it.
Light and shadows trembled through the web of his nearly closed eyelashes -
and Saionji's face seemed so distant this way - so distant that Touga couldn't
discern the expression on it.
"I know, Touga," Saionji said, put a blanket over him and walked
* * *
Nanami was in the living room, in the same one where Touga and I had made
love on the floor yesterday... the day before yesterday. She looked even tinier
now in her dressing gown; a woman-child with too huge eyes on a pale face.
She got up from the sofa as she heard my steps. I saw her lips move as she
was going to say something - and at this moment I particularly wanted to be as
far from here as possible.
"You... you need to change your clothes, you're wet," she said.
"I'll bring you something from oniisama."
I threw a glance at myself in the dark glass of the window.
"I... I'll make you some tea."
I caught her thin wrist to stop her, likely hurting her with my grip. She
looked at me with her enormous violet eyes - and I felt a pang of shame in my
"Do you think..." she started again, "I should call otosama?
"Don't call," I shook my head. "Not unless your brother tells
I didn't think he ever would.
"Why?" Now she sounded a bit more like Kiryuu Nanami. Perhaps it
was not such a bad thing to get her angry. At least she wouldn't be so...
crestfallen. "No one will help better than otosan! He'd find whoever did
"Trust me," I smirked. "Ask Touga first."
He'd tell her nothing happened; he would repeat it on his deathbed. If I
were her - if I were her, I would never mention anything that happened again,
would live just as before - and then... I wondered how many things we'd managed
to forget this way. Nanami still had her chance to get back to as it was
before. I had lost mine - I'd known it would happen when I held Touga's limp
body in my arms; I'd known he'd never forgive me for seeing him this way.
But of course leave it to Nanami to make her own mistakes, whether I wanted
to help her or not. I did want - we were so much the same, after all - in our
I expected her to continue arguing but she didn't. Instead of it she made a
sobbing, convulsive sound and asked at last:
"Will he be all right?" She must've postponed this question as
long as she could.
"I think so," I said. He didn't bleed any more by the time I left
and his fever was going down.
"What..." She gasped again, as if she couldn't breathe - and in horror
I saw the signs of approaching hysterics. Well, she'd held out longer than one
would expect. "What did he say?"
"Nothing." It wasn't even a lie. Anyway, she didn't need to know;
she wouldn't believe... "Can I have a drink?"
Nanami looked appalled, then nodded, pointed at the bar. I poured almost
half a glass of whiskey. There was no ice but I didn't care.
"What will be now?"
"I don't know," I said.
"I hate you!" she yelled suddenly. "Why can't you tell me?
Why don't you tell me anything? I want nothing to happen, I want everything
back, as it was before! I don't want it to happen!"
I looked at her red face and clenched fists - and I thought she didn't know
how much I wanted the same.
I slapped her - hard enough for my palm to sting. Brief surge of pleasure of
hitting her surprised me and changed to shame. The blow made her fall back, on
the sofa, and she sat holding her cheek, staring up at me. Her eyes filled with
"How dared you?! You think I'm Himemiya Anthy or what?"
"Who's Himemiya Anthy?" I asked.
She glared at me some more.
"Baka!" she hissed at last. "Alcoholic!"
I stepped towards her, caught her shoulder and pressed the glass to her
lips. She swallowed convulsively.
For a moment she looked like she was suffocating, her eyes full or tears as
she pressed her hands to the chest. Then she inhaled full lungs and I sighed in
"That," she whispered, "that was actually not bad."
"I thought so."
"Saionji-s..." Her eyes suddenly misted, alcohol hitting hard and
fast. I caught her as she started falling on her side.
She felt so different from Touga in my arms, so light and frail. A precious
broken doll in ruffles of lace and silk. I put her on the sofa carefully and
adjusted a strand of her hair that fell across her cheek.
"Sleep... paper soldier."
Nanami sighed, curling, drawing her little feet under the hem of the
dressing gown. I knelt at the little table heaped with glossy magazines and
started looking through them.
Here it was - the address written in Touga's messy handwriting. I smiled and
tore off a strip of paper from the page. That was all I needed. He wouldn't
have to know anything; I'd take care of everything myself.
I picked up the glass and raised it, looking at my reflection in the dark
window. A green-haired man smiled at me wryly from there. I toasted.
"To you. To everything I've lost. To everything I'll have to live
Go to the sequel - Losers and Saviors