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Nessun dorma<5>

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"Hey ... wake up ..."

Ocelot noticed that Snake was beside him. Snake was looking at him with wet hair and a white gown, looking a little worried.

"...Oh..."
" The sun will be up in a few hours. Don't stay naked all the time. Or shall we have to stay one more night?"

Ocelot cringes at the words. It seemed that he had fallen asleep for a little while. Still, Snake's physical vigor is impressive. It's more than that, it's appalling. However, Ocelot didn't feel bad when he thought that this meant that Snake was lusting after his sleeping figure.
Thinking that he had only a few hours left to be with him, Ocelot hurriedly dressed himself. He wanted to talk a lot of things with Snake. Recently, how Mother Base staff has been doing, how Venom has been working, even about himself. What he's been doing, where he's been. No, it's not. He'd like to talk more about the old days and the future that he didn't know, and he'd like to spend all night like that, like he did when they were younger. But Ocelot himself knew that would not be possible.
When he returned to their room from the bathroom, Snake was slowly puffing on his cigar. The smoke that was blown out in a huff took the form of a small mushroom cloud before vanishing into obscurity.

"It's ironic that you found the first bug in the AI(God), Adam."
"It's not a bug in "him". It's just that we caught the first person who tried to steal the fruit of wisdom from "him"."
"Still, it's ironic."

They laughed. Moreover, it is also helping "him". There was nothing more ironic than that.
When Ocelot sit next by him, Snake's body was still hot. Ocelot looked at his face in disbelief, and he was looking at him too. Ocelot looked away nervous. And he could see his snake scar through the chest of his gown. He heard Snake exhale another puff of smoke.

"Maybe a little ...... self-hypnosis effects too much ......."

Snake was feeling a little dizzy. He shook his head frequently, blinked his eye and rubbed between his eyebrows.

"Self-hypnosis? Oh ...to change personality? Are you okay ...?"
"Hmm ... a little bit before I get into the country. I wasn't sure I'd be able to be a jack. But I didn't think it would work this well. Is it because I'm so simple?"

Ocelot laughed, saying no way, but he didn't deny that he was simple. Sure, he can be simply fooled. It was no wonder, Ocelot thought, that the self-hypnosis was working to some extent too well.

"I'm not good at this sort. They say I'm terrible, too. But you ought to know better at your age, be more careful."

Ocelot doesn’t know what he's trying to say. Ocelot stared back at Snake with a dubious look. Snake smoked his cigar again.

"The Cardinal said that the source of the information in 'The Patriots' was a former staff member of Mother Base."

Indeed, that was what the Cardinal had said when we were listening to the conversation. Ocelot instantly realized his mistake. It was his own fault that he had let him be dragged to this place.

''I must apologize for my mistake...''
"No. The soldier you dismissed was indeed low ranking and your handling of him was perfect. I'm sure you were."
"Ah... yes. But why would a soldier like him even go to such information ......"
"How did he get there? I think I can see it now for me. Don't you understand?" 

That's what he is asked, Ocelot was at a loss for an answer. He wasn't able to understand. The dead man was a normal or lesser soldier. In Ocelot opinion, he's more like a civilian. A soldier who was brought into the country, dressed in a field uniform and armed with a thin veneer of technique, just that, very close to a civilian.

"You are slow too."

"I don't wanna be told that by you."

"I said 'too'. I get that a lot too"

The two fell silent. To Ocelot, Snake seemed to be thinking about something. When Snake was relaxing, he had been more slowed and enjoying the smoke of his cigar, but for some reason, he seemed to be very busy now, putting the cigar in his mouth and spitting out the smoke. Ocelot wanted to know what he was thinking about.

"It's going to be busy in that country tomorrow. One of the cardinals is missing. Besides, this is the month of important events."
"Is that the Feast of the Sacred Heart?"
"Yeah. From what I’ve heard that the city is going to be full of roses. Was Zero really ...... No, let's not."

Snake said and exhaled smoke again. His body was still hot. Ocelot wondered if he was tired. He said that he's been two weeks since he arrived in that country, but since his unexpected meeting with Ocelot this week, He's been in physical contact with him day and night after day. He doesn't know which route he followed from which country, but if they're going to be fleeing the country from now on, neither Snake nor Ocelot will be able to follow the proper procedures.
If that's the case, it would be better to rest for a little while until morning. Ocelot urged Snake so. Then Snake said that you're really dull, too, and began to laugh with showing his teeth. Then he laughed and put his cigar out.

"I shouldn't have tried to hide my embarrassment,"

His eye, which had been smiling, quickly changed color as he looked at Ocelot.

"Be careful how you treat your men. You have the power to make your men adore you. Ever since you were young. You'll keep the morale of the Mother Base intact if you're around. But Sometimes any subordinate doesn’t stop at just adoring you."

Suddenly, talking went back to very much. Ocelot thought. It was true that in this case, that was exactly what happened, and that was why we didn't know what kind of people were among the soldiers gathered a lot. But they were all soldiers gathered by Venom's charisma.
"Ah ...... yeah, you’re a lot older now than you used to be. and ...... above all, you became a beauty."
"That would have nothing to do with"
"It's relevant......"

Snake touched Ocelot's cheek and he draped his hair over his ear. His hand was still pregnant with heat. Ocelot suddenly guessed what Snake was going to say. By any chance, he braced himself for another sweet word to come out of his mouth. That always upsets his heart.

"You are old enough to know better. Talk to your men. I'll give you. It's a good luck charm."

But it was much more intense than the few words of love Ocelot had in mind.
Snake held out a small velvet box. It was an elegant gray, with the brand's name in the center of it, waiting for the lid to be opened him on Snake's palm.

"What is this?"

Ocelot almost lost track of what he was doing. He was almost choking and breathing hard.

"Can't you see?"
"You're kidding me."
"It's not a joke."

Ocelot couldn't open it very well, Snake changed his words, as if he was in trouble.

“Well, here's the deal, then. Make sure it doesn't happen to your men again."
"Is that your order?"
"Do I have to order you to take it?"
"It's ...... but ......"
"Aren't you happy?"
"Yes!"

There was nothing he wasn't happy to get from him. It's just that he had never been convinced that there was anything like this between Snake and himself, or even a relationship that could be established through the medium of this mundane object.

"For your birthday."
"Huh...?"
"It's the month of the Sacred Heart."
"My......"

No way! Ocelot thinks. You're telling me this guy went out of his way to buy my birthday present? There is no way this man can remember someone else's birthday. Ocelot begins to wonder if the snake scar seen earlier on the chest of the gown was a fake or a phantom.
Could he really be John? Maybe Jack is still a large part of him. This is the persona of a mere man who lost his ex-wife and child to war and chose to abandon his country and his faith.
Ocelot finds himself unconsciously avoiding calling him by his real name. Perhaps if he called him John now, he might immediately regret doing such a ridiculous thing.

"Can I open it?"

Snake's rugged fingers opened the lid of a small box as Ocelot stared ahead. There was a silver ring in the box. The ring glowed silver, and he had always heard that it mediated the hearts of many people on this earth.
However, Ocelot himself had never thought that he had anything to do with such things. Ever. And always will be.

Snake's knobby fingers lifted the little light with the delicacy of glasswork. And his jaw moves in a small way, as if to ask for Ocelot's hand. He held out while his hands shakily and sloppily.
Ocelot stiffly looked at Snake's face. Then He was smiling bitterly. Ocelot wondered impatiently if he had done something wrong himself. He gently avoided his right hand and gently grabbed Ocelot's left hand. He could see his lashes blink as his eyelid was downcast. The silver light stopped on Ocelot's finger without any resistance.

"A little loose?"

Snake laughs as he says it's cheap because it's not order product.

"Not at all."

But there was something Ocelot desperately wanted to make sure now. Indeed, whether Snake is John.

"Keep it on you whenever you need it on duty. Everywhere. Of course, on Mother Base, too. It'll keep the bugs away."
"Bugs ......"
"Don't underestimate the fact that they're just bugs. Some of them are unpredictable, you know. And be a little more aware of yourself."

Ocelot tried to call his name with trembling lips. But it was blocked by his lips.

"Adam..."

Ocelot could smell the aroma of cigars on his breath.

"Adam..."

He was being called by name, again and again. It was as if Snake himself was refusing to be called names.
I want to be Jack for a little while longer. Don't make me miserable now. Don't put me out of my mind. Don't wake me up, while being repeatedly kissed on the mouth he felt like John, of all people, was telling him.
The back of his throat trembled as he kissed him. The palms holding Ocelot's shoulders, the thick arms around his waist. Snake's passion is hot and rambunctious.
The intensity of it all made Ocelot think that it was enough.

*

The Mother Base was bathed in brilliant sunlight, as usual. The staff greeted Ocelot upon his return and saluted him hurriedly, surprised at the sight of the instructor, dressed in a fine suit and missing his beard.

"I've been away so long. Is everything going well?"

When He called out to the staff who greeted him, there didn't seem to be any problems during his absence. Even Code Talker, who usually sunbathes on the rooftop, was standing on the deck, enjoying the sea breeze. It's nice to have peace at home.
When he looked ahead, he saw an unfamiliar sight. Venom is working hard on his gun training against his staff.
Venom interrupted his training, as if he has noticed him. And he walked towards Ocelot, lightly raising his prosthetic hand.

"You're late."
"Yeah, I'm back now."
"Your beard ...... what's going on?"

No offense to Venom. Ocelot laughed a little and said.

"It's like a change of pace."

He thought about it for a bit, then said simply, "Hmm." and laughed, saying that he tried to imitate you, but it was pretty hard to do. He laughs, saying that Ocelot "I guess so." too.
Telling someone what they are doing unconsciously is also a skill. True to these words, there is no way to tell someone what they are doing unconsciously because they are not conscious of what they are doing. Ocelot had been taught that a long time ago by him.
Ocelot asked Venom something that had been bothering him for a long time.

"By the way, what was that all about?"
"Huh?"
"That's the one I carried. You said it was a work of art."
"They didn't let you see it?"

Not only was it not shown, but Ocelot thinks it may be doubtful that they will be paid properly this time around. But reluctantly, Ocelot helped 'him' out, so he's sure he'll get his due from the right place.

"I don't know what it is either ... but ..."

After the preamble Venom said.

From East Africa to parts of Central Africa, the story of a certain demon is believed to be true. It is said to be a demon in English, but in the local language it is closer to a "Nature spirit".
At any rate, it is said to come in the middle of the night, crying out like a domestic animal, to get the souls of people. But, according to a local doctor, the art work is in the shape of a man and has a mirror at its belly. And the mirror is able to keep the demon from coming to their home.

"I mean, what ......"

Venom didn't seem to get the point as he explained himself.

"So, it's like a horseshoe lucky item, or a Hamsa to ward off evil eye?"
"No, no."

A hoarseness voice came from behind them. An old man who was photosynthesizing on deck was coming towards them.

"It doesn't keep it out, it leads people."
"Lead?"
"Quite so. It let bad things to bad places and a thing that leads the good to the good place. Those who have it will be guided by it in their lives and will be able to avoid evil. And he who does not have it cannot avoid disaster."
"Then it's an art work, or rather a curse."

That would not be appropriate for a place called a church. In their words, should we be called it Herem? Ocelot was relieved to feel that he somehow understood the true nature of the uncomfortable feeling he had felt in that box. But that turned to tension at Venom's next words.

"It will. Actuality, that's what happened a few months ago, there was a skirmish between a few small villages, and it almost wiped out all but the one that didn't have this."
"What? No way!"

"I heard something like that happened. I heard that the children who had that were a survivor of a village that was wiped out. Well, I guess that was a stolen article."
"Isn't that the ravings of a children?"
"That's not it either. The simplest way to describe it is as a bug repellent, and a charm against evil."
"A bugs repellent...?"

Ocelot thought he had heard that phrase somewhere recently.

"It's made from a tree. The tree has a lot of oil in it, and the oil has a fragrance that repels bug. People who carry it purify their bodies and offer prayers to it. So, the bad things flow into the water and the good things stay in the people. In other words, if it is in a house, there are few bug and people are clean. That is exactly, people are less prone to infectious diseases and epidemics. However, the wisdom is passed on by local doctors. They won't be able to get it in areas where there are no doctors, or in villages where they can't pay the doctor. The area in question would have been riddled with infectious diseases. And there is such a thing as conflict between villages everywhere."

The old man's story was nothing out of the ordinary. What had seemed so strange to him before, now that he said so, seemed so easy to understand.

He said, "We just don't know because we don't go inside."
"I see, so that's why they were saying, 'It doesn't work on white people.'"

Venom said, as if he'd made up his mind

"It doesn't work on white people ......?"
"Yeah, they told us so, that their curse would have no effect on the white men."
"That's right. You and their live differently. They live in different environments. If people live in different environments, the bugs they bite will be different, and the diseases they carry are different. So, their curse will not work on you."
"I see .... Their faith is kind...."

As he listened to the story, Ocelot thought about the Western beliefs that are taking root in this African land. It seemed to him that it was trying to swallow a large number of people, regardless of their skin color, and all the small cultures with great force. How many people would be saved by it? And how many people would suffer?
And then there's the thing within that little country. A "code" that only they can follow, their own way of life. It is, in a sense, a faith that only they, no matter how admirable and beautiful and historic they are, have access to Isn't it?
They are far too diverse to be lumped together in a single word.

"The bugs repellent ......"

Ocelot touched his necklace through his tie. It was now hanging around Ocelot's neck through that silver ring. As expected, he was hesitant to continue wearing that thing at Mother Base. It was inconvenient to hold the gun, and he didn't want the staffs to question him for every single thing he had to do. But he can use it whenever he wants.

This is an important talisman.

A talisman to protect me from bad things.

Someone important gave it to me after saying that.

Already Ocelot no longer knows who it was.

However, it will always save my heart.

Just like a faith.

【END】