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Bruises

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Bruises


The worst part is… well, Kureto is just getting started.


Shinya can’t find it in him to fight when he feels himself being moved by two men Kureto invited in. Though he doesn’t have to look… he knows that the entire time, Kureto has been watching him, watching them.


Somehow, he can’t wake himself up from this nightmare.


He can feel warm hands on him now, groping mercilessly. Fingers tearing at him, heedless of his privacy and sore muscles and sweaty skin, sadistically rubbing salt into his open wounds. Shinya bites down hard on his lower lip, all too aware of Kureto’s gleeful presence hovering while he systematically takes the last shreds of his brother’s dignity away.


As the strangers’ hands move down towards his still half-erect length and the aching and bleeding mess behind it, Shinya’s eyes fly open against his will.


No. Not again. Please don’t.


He can hear himself begging, silently for now. He’s refusing to meet Kureto’s eyes because that would mean acknowledging the ultimate humiliation at his brother’s mercy.


When one of the men that loom above him roughly grabs his ass cheek, something in Shinya snaps. Gone are the haughty posture, the eloquence, the sniper cool that is usually easier than breathing. Gone is the constraint. In fact, any sense of rationality floats a long way off in the distance, taunting him that he is no more than a whore now. A cheap harlot for his overambitious, revengeful bastard of a brother. You even liked it, didn’t you? Remember how you nearly came for him? Whore.


“No! Hands off!” The shout rips from his lips with vehemence, doused in thinly veiled desperation and a surprising amount of fire. His blue eyes burn brightly with fury and unshed tears, a highly combustible mixture. And the men are well beyond the line where mercy could be offered. Without thinking, just screaming soundlessly inside, Shinya launches himself at them. Utterly uncaring whether he feels stitches rip as he tears into them with the power of a cornered animal, he braces himself on his hands as he flips onto his stomach and thus dislodges the fumbling fingers. With the momentum of the turn on his side, he kicks out and hears a loud crack as heel meets nose and heel wins by a large margin.


Nevertheless, Shinya is not even close to finished. The raging voice inside him that got loose when he felt himself tear inside screams for destruction and blood. And that is exactly what it will get. Arms that still tingle from the returning blood flow push him up and his right fist flies at the second assailant before either of them can blink, lethally finding the man’s weak Adam's apple and crushing it in one single blow. The nameless minion tumbles to the floor and chokes on his own pulverized cartilage. Shinya doesn’t even spare him a glance before he jumps for the small key that presents the most powerful weapon in the room, his best chance to wreak more havoc and destroy everything around him, perhaps even himself in the process.


He’s mere centimeters from the precious demon-infested metal when Kureto’s well placed kick knocks him straight off his feet and into the white hospital wall. Upon impact the world goes black for a moment until he finds himself on the ground, wheezing. But he isn’t done yet. He can’t be.


Blood trickles into his left eye, coloring his white hair dark red, yet he can’t let the pain stop him, neither his ringing head nor his swimming vision nor the other, unnameable aches located far deeper inside. Grunting, he tries to lift himself onto his elbows only to be stomped down again by an emphatic boot on the small of his back. This time he can’t suppress a moan of pain as his breath is taken away and the pressure eases forward onto the vulnerable skin right below his neck. Kureto is one move away from breaking his spine, ending him then and there. Shinya absently wonders whether that might not be the more pleasant option.


Guren.


He’s the reason why Shinya can’t do it. A disbelieving giggle makes its way up his throat only to get stuck somewhere in the unbearable pain and devastation he experiences as the cold chains snake around his wrists like long lost lovers, pressing until he imagines that he can actually hear his bones groan beneath the onslaught.


“Do you have enough yet, little brother? Is it enough?”, Kureto asks, his voice unhurried as if they were talking about the weather. When Shinya remains stubbornly silent, Kureto sighs and casually tightens the chains, which breaks all the bones in his captive’s left wrist. That finally loosens Shinya’s tongue, causing him to scream hoarsely.


Bastard. Bastard. I bet you’re smirking now. Freaking bastard. I hate this. I hate you.


But he needs his right hand to shoot, so he grudgingly obliges, panting and squeezing his eyes shut in a futile attempt to lock out the agony. The floor below him is slick with sweat as he lays his forehead on it, forcefully letting go of the tension that has kept him taught as a bowstring. “Yes.”


“What was that?”


“Yes sir!”


“Good.” There isn’t a hint of regret in Kureto’s tone, only dark contentment. Slowly, bit by bit, the older Hiiragi releases his bodily hold and turns his charge around to face him, courtesy of the iron manacles biting into pale skin. They glare at each other, waging a battle of wills that has lasted for more than a decade and will certainly be the death of one of them at some point. Today, though, it has only brought Shinya to his knees. His eyes flicker treacherously as he sees the slightly rumpled trousers of his enemy and remembers exactly what has been done to him. He winces, minutely, but it’s there and Kureto notices immediately, smirking and hoisting Shinya up without touching him until he is suspended just like before. Only then does the triumphant glimmer in his eyes make room for the cold nothingness that is his trademark expression. He turns away from his shivering, helplessly uncomfortable victim to address the surviving man in the room.


“Get up, Takishida. Continue.”


Shinya gulps, tries his best not to show his mounting panic and hopes that he will pass out from blood loss or sheer exhaustion before things get too far. Again.


The inquisitively fondling hands return to his backside and Shinya squirms despite his best efforts. He’s raw and that man, whose rancid breaths are huffing into his ear, is not gentle with him. Instead he pries him open and those too sweaty fingers go where they have no right to be. It hurts. Without the cruel but direct incentive he is dry and unprepared for the intrusion and it hurts. God it hurts so bad and he can’t contain the tears that are leaking from his white lashes.


He hates himself for crying and he hates himself even more for wanting the chains to move back and arouse him so that he won’t be in as much agony as the man probes and probes. Most of all he hates Kureto who is standing right in front of him, witness to every single second of his torture. He’s left his throat free this time, no doubt waiting for his little brother to start begging. And he’s so close, dammit, so close to breaking even though he knows it will gain him nothing.


“I would stop moving if I were you”, the man suddenly says, leans in close as he speaks his warning. He uses the newly gained proximity to playfully, disgustingly lick the outside of Shinya’s ear as he presents him with a thin kunai that the captive can get a glimpse at before it is trailed down the muscles of his back with relish. Although he can feel the cold steel, he doesn’t notice the burn of a new cut and surmises that Takishida must be using the flat of the blade or perhaps his senses are finally overloaded and can’t record any new trauma. Down, down, down the blade wanders into dangerous territory.


His own breath hitches as the man’s free hand returns to wrench him open, guiding the blade. Oh shit, no. Rapid pulse beats thunder through him, urging him to spring into action and struggle. Move! But the man is right. Move now and be impaled in the most painful way imaginable. So he stays as still as a statue even as the chains tauntingly give him a tiny bit of leeway.


Cold metal teases his entrance and this time it’s the blade’s edge that nips at his flesh like teeth. Without warning, he’s cut. Not inside, but close and deep enough that it tears another scream from him, this one borne out of helpless frustration and surprise more than pain. That comes a heartbeat later and he gasps at the stinging sensation. By that time, the man has already stepped back and said something to Kureto, but Shinya is too far gone to register what it is.


Breathe, you idiot, breathe. You’re still alive and I’m coming for you.


Guren.


The sarcastic yet serious mental reassurance had sounded so much like him and now served as a precarious anchor against the riptide that is threatening to swallow him whole. He blinks, realizes he is no longer spread-eagled and that his hands are tied behind him now. Still chained like an animal, though, and about to be muzzled like one, too. Takishida is wedging a black slip of cloth between Shinya’s teeth, followed by a strip that is knotted behind his head.


For a moment, he chokes on the foreign material in his mouth that slips down his throat, blocking off the airway. He coughs, panics, eyes wide yet unable to make a sound louder than a low moan. His gaze settles on Kureto’s entertained form and that gives him the needed strength to push the cloth as far as it would go to the front. He would not die here. Not like this. Icy blue eyes stare daggers at his tormentor even though his body is trembling with fatigue and shock.


Kureto doesn’t comment. He simply takes hold of his foster brother by his hair and pulls him along to the door, which is opened by the ever so helpful Takishida. Shinya stumbles while his broken mind plays catch up. What does that monster think he’s doing? Violating the rules behind closed doors was one thing, but dragging his dirty laundry out for the world to see? Then again, who was left to oppose the tyrant with Guren gone and him… in this state? Whore to the Hiragis.


Kureto presses Shinya’s head forward so that he is almost bend in half while his brother walks comfortably. Hair dangling in front of him, he can only see the clean floor tiles as they march, him barefoot and naked while whispers rise in their wake and in front of them like the bow wave of a warship.


He doesn’t care much where he’s taken. All he can do is stay upright to spare himself the degradation of being hauled along like dead meat. However, the wound on his legs that originated from the chains makes every step challenging and he falls a few times, yanked up by his hair impatiently every time. There are bloodstains wherever they step.


Voices in front of them signal a destination and at once Shinya knows where they are. The clinking of china is a giveaway, as is the wide hallway and the hundreds of footprints on the gray floor. They are in front of the mess hall and he just knows that it must be dinnertime. Wonderful.


A tired smirk plays on his lips as the double doors are opened with a bang and any conversation stops mid-utterance. Eerie silence engulfs them, interrupted only by the sounds Shinya’s feet make on the tiles. So you think you can humiliate me like this? Wrong move, brother. I’ve always known where I stand. This means nothing, he tells himself steadfastly and is mildly surprised that it is true. He is not ashamed to face his former comrades, beaten and bloody as he is. They’ve probably seen worse on the battlefield anyways.


That is until he remembers the thin but very obvious line of blood that marks a line down his leg, right up to his naked bum. Sneaky bastard. Things fall into place as he is positioned on the speaker’s platform and made to face the audience. He stares at a sea of shell-shocked, horrified faces.


Nerves tingle in his stomach, but Shinya straightens as far as his bindings allow and peers right back at them. Fuck you, Kureto, you can’t hurt a dead man. And this realization actually gives him a weird sense of power even as he finds the remains of Guren’s squad. Mito’s red hair has acted like a lighthouse, inevitably catching his gaze like a moth drawn to the flame.


Her lips are trembling but she returns the look and doesn’t flinch away from his shaking form. Shinya can see her balled fists and knows that she’s on the verge of forfeiting her life in an ill-timed rescue attempt. There are too many guards in the room and he’s not sure there is anything left worth saving anyways, so he shakes his head ever so slightly. Don’t you dare get killed for me.


Norito Goshi still has a smile on his lips, although that one has slipped quite a bit. His brown eyes linger on the wounds all over Shinya’s body and the sniper knows they are drawing all the conclusions. Yoichi’s eyes are as wide as saucers and Shinya can practically hear the kid’s idealistic world view crumble like Pompeii. Kimizuki trembles like a leaf, probably reminded of his sister.


He burns with anger and shame now, too. How could he have been so weak? So careless? How could he have allowed Kureto to do this to him? And then put him on display like a fucking toy! Shigure alone seems unshaken, her small frame erect and controlled. Shinya settles on watching her as Kureto begins to speak.


“As you all know, the traitor Guren Ichinose is still at large!” Oh, no introduction? That suits him fine, Shinya thinks as he is uncertain how much longer he can manage to stay conscious.


“Even though it is proven that he is responsible for many deaths of your friends and colleagues, none of you have come forward to turn him in. That is why I will wait exactly 24 hours before I order a repetition of the pain I put this man through.” He points straight at Shinya, who rolls his eyes in annoyance. Kureto has always had a soft spot for the dramatic and right now he is setting himself up as the hero of the narrative or at least as less of a villain. So you are sacrificing your own flesh and blood to lure in the traitor, is that it? How fucking generous of you.


Whoops. There is a sword on my neck. He blinks lazily and follows the length of the elegant weapon to Kureto’s hand. Oh. As the edge draws a trickle of blood, Shinya begins to feel really cold. Likewise, his brother’s voice has lost any warmth. “I am aware that some of you are able to contact Ichinose, so I suggest you hurry before he looses another dear friend.”


Shinya’s eyes flick unbidden away from Shigure, measuring the men and women he judges most likely to have remaining ties to Guren if there are any. Norito Goshi, master illusionist but unable to hide the worry that casts shadows on his face. Mito Jujo, quivering with barely suppressed anger. Kimizuki Shiho who is as pale as a sheet of paper and Yoichi Satome with open yet silent tears streaming down his young face.


Which one of them had the ability to inform Guren? Would they? Shinya is suddenly very glad that Sayuri and Yuu are still in the hospital wing and won’t witness this charade. Those two might actually break and give that damn bastard brother of his the satisfaction to trap their only hope. Unfortunately, that inevitably leads to the conclusion that hopefully, nobody would tell Guren what had occurred here, which for Shinya meant… He blinked, determined not to show the bottomless pit of fear in his stomach at those truly black prospects of his future.


This scheme was one big gamble for his brother and it would definitely pay off for him one way or another, Shinya notices in a detached manner before his legs finally give out and Kureto has to swing away the fucking sword before his captive accidentally commits suicide.


Shinya Hiragi doesn’t feel the impact, only the tender embrace of darkness that soothes his agony. Yet even while unconscious he radiates a tension which declares that he’s forever lost something innocent and that some part of the fallen Hiiragi prince knows that he will only wake to a nightmare.