Ch 20: Into the Lion's Den

I jolt out of the half-doze I have fallen into at the sound of the cell door creaking open loud enough to grate on my eardrums.
Some people have no manners.
"Hey, we're trying to get some rest here," I call impudently, my voice a little hoarse. Damn, I'm thirsty.
"On yer feet, brats," a gravelly voice growls as a shadowed figure steps into the dim lantern light coming from the open doorway. I raise an eyebrow, lifting chained hands for inspection. "Yo, blubberbutt, forgettin' some--" The chains suddenly fall from my wrists with a loud clank, and I blink in surprise. Across the room, I hear the cuffs doing likewise with my friends, opening of their own free will and falling to the ground. "Move it," the creature snarls, snapping a whip. I wince, climbing to my feet and rubbing my raw wrists. "Yeah, yeah, keep yer pants on," I mutter, glancing up as my friends walk over. ~~Best to cooperate,~~ I warn them silently. ~~Maybe he'll take us to Heero.~~
--lead the way, maxwell--
Trowa only nods, but Quatre doesn't even look up, eyes trained on the floor as he sticks close to the Beast Master. I frown slightly at this obvious change in him, but flinch and move obediently when the whip is cracked once more, dangerously close to my ankles this time. "Sheesh, give us a minute, will ya? We're comin', we're comin'!"
"An' no funny business," the huge man who greets us outside warns, his beefy fist curled around his whip handle. "Now git movin'!"
I shrug nonchalantly, taking the lead, ignoring the tension humming in the mind-link, murmuring a melody under my breath, trying to act like my normal carefree self. Anything to bring Quatre's eyes up.
"Everybody nice, everybody nice..
ashita no kagayaki wo shinjiteru
Everybody chance, everybody chance..
kono te ni tsukamaeyou carry on..."
"That's enough out of you!" The whip snaps overhead, and I duck instinctively, shooting a glare over my shoulder.
"Oi! Watch where you swing that thing!"

A hand reaching desperately for mine. Feathers fluttering everywhere. I'm running.
I can't run fast enough..
"Shini!!" An evil snarl, full of fangs; a long claw slashes downward, choking off a scream.
In the background, I think I recognize Irdarr's laughter.
I shoot up in bed, breathing harshly, sweat soaking my shirt. I look around, slowly coming back to the present. Why such drab surroundings? The smell of mortals fills my nose... I inhale deeply, partly to regain my scattered thoughts, partly to calm myself. I remember, now...
Last night... finding the boy alone amidst the rubble of an old church, sobbing over the body of a bloody nun. Walking up to him..
~~Do you want to die...?~~
His look of fear quickly changes to one of distrust and fierce defiance that strikes a chord in me. That one so young should look upon me so fearlessly...
~~What is your name?~~
He scrubs at his face, the words tripping from his mouth, the sobs still shaking his body, though his voice is suspicious and furious. "Duo! Who are you?!"
He does not know me... And yet I know for a fact this is one of my followers. I can sense it in him, tug a memory from his mind of the nun asking him about God and his bold return about his belief in Shinigami. The God of Death.
I kneel beside him, staring deep into his angry wet eyes. ~~I can stop the pain. I can make it go away.~~
He glares at me distrustfully. "Sister said.." he chokes, and after a moment regains his voice. "Sister said not...not to die."
~~Aa..~~ I turn my eyes on her limp form. This was no natural death.
He wipes tears away once more to see me better, his eyes slowly widening in sudden insight. I arch my wings over him protectively, cupping his round face in my palms, staring deeply into violet orbs.
~~I will protect you. I will make you stronger. Join with me.~~
He blinks slowly, shuddering slightly, but there is no fear in his eyes, only hesitation.
~~I will give you your revenge.~~
His eyes spark with immediate interest. "Shinigami-sama," he breathes, and I do not wait any longer, but envelope him in my arms, my wings wrapping around us both, hiding us from the world.
I look down at myself, pulling the braid over my shoulder to see it better. This will stay. This will definately stay. Not only because Shinigami always preferred his hair long... but in memory of those who died.
I have great things planned for you.

I blink rapidly, my eyes watering as a pair of large double doors is thrown open, ripping me out of my memories as we stagger into a large antechamber, light flooding into our eyes.
"K'so!" Wufei hisses, turning his head sharply and squeezing his eyes shut. I wince, clenching my own eyelids shut. Trowa and Quatre seem unaffected by the light. Well hell, they're not used to living in darkness like dragons and, erm, Shinigamis do. ^^;;
"Get movin', worms!" We stumble forward at the order from the guard behind us, our shoes echoing as they slap the cold stone floor. We finally halt a few meters before a crude stone throne, where we are ordered harshly to kneel unless we want the whip. We do so without speaking, lifting our heads to finally face our captor.

Irdarr sits languidly on his throne, sucking on a bone, his silver eyes glinting with triumph as he watches us kneel before him, his thick fur robes spilling over the sides of the throne, spread open to reveal a spotless white silk shirt and leather leggings that fit him like a second skin. He lifts the toe of one bitch-boot in a mock greeting, reaching up with his free hand to brush his flame colored hair from his face. He removes the polished bone from his mouth at last when the door slams shut, two guards standing ready behind us. A smirk stretches his sensuous mouth, and I feel burning hatred touch my gut and flare.
Don't get too comfortable on that rock of yours.
"Well well...if it isn't my little cousin, come to visit me." His voice carries well in the near-empty room, the threadbare tapestries doing nothing to muffle his droning.
I offer him a cool stare. "Where is Heero?"
"What have you done with Relena?" Trowa asks quietly.
Oh forget her already.
I want Heero.
Irdarr tilts his head slightly, grin widening. Gorgeous but deadly. "Ah, your little friends...they are in good hands. Mine."
"That's what I'm afraid of," I growl, glancing around. "Kisama, if you did anything to them.."
A low chuckle. "Oh, not yet, not yet.." He runs one long finger up his cheek, leaning against it and watching my reaction. "Though I plan to have *plenty* of fun with them later.. Especially the boy."
I snarl, but manage to keep myself from leaping for his throat. I don't fancy a spear through my back. "Baka yarou.."
"Temper, temper," he tsks, eyes dancing. "I'll let you watch."
This time Wufei has to grab me to keep me from springing. "Omae--!!"
"Duo, yamero!"
"I'm gonna rip out that lying tongue of yours and *feed* it to you!!" I shout.
"Shin-chan!" Quatre pleads, and I hear the guards moving to strike. I settle down, allowing Wufei to pull me back, but never take my heated glare from my cousin. One line runs through my head in a continuous loop.
I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you.....
"Now where were we...?" He looks up to the ceiling as if for inspiration, a small grin on his face. "Ah, yes...I remember, now." He turns his mesmerizing gaze on us. "Shinigami. Duo. Whatever you are now called. Stand before me." His voice booms in the hall, and I rise to my feet without my own free will, though my muscles quiver with the effort to disobey.
"Silence." He waves a hand airily, and I snap my mouth shut quickly before he decides to paralyze my vocal cords, seething inside. I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you....
He smirks at me, never taking his gloating eyes from me as he motions to a goblin guard standing by a far wall, gnarled hand resting on a lever of some sort. At his master's sign, he quickly leans his full weight on the rod, giving a liquid grunt. A loud creaking fills the room, causing us to flinch reflexively. Slowly a trapdoor near the goblin opens, and a platform rises up. I draw in a sharp breath on seeing its contents.
Heero. And Relena (but never mind her..).
They are tied back to back, a thick rope entwined around their slim waists, keeping them close together, their hands shackled before them, both their heads bent in either pain or exhaustion. Or both. "Heero.." the whispered word filters from my lips before I can stop it, and the evil grin that splits Irdarr's face makes my knees quake.
Holy shit..
"So this is the one you care for, truly. Do you think nothing for this girl? She is quite valuable, you know."
Fuck. I can't let him know Heero is my weakness!
I try to shrug nonchalantly, turning my gaze on Relena. "You'd better not have hurt her, bloodheart. I'd hate to have to kill you. Actually, no I wouldn't. I take that back," I say thoughtfully.
He merely chuckles unpleasantly. "You're not fooling anyone, Shinigami," he hisses, clenching his fist and grinning fiercely at me. Immediately a handful of goblins swarm out of the shadows, reaching for me with their claws.
"Shin-chan!" Quatre cries desperately, but I ignore him as I battle fiercely, trying to avoid their clawed hands. A word from Irdarr makes my body go rigid and useless, and I curse in a hundred different languages inwardly as cold hands clamp over my arms and drag my unwilling form towards the two figures tied together.
My heart is thundering in my ears as I am positioned right before Heero, with goblins set to grab me should the spell wear off.
Oh my god.
They want me to watch as they...
What are they going to do to him?!?!

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