nightcenturymountain: (tell me a story)
[personal profile] nightcenturymountain
Happy New Year, people. It's time for some New Year Porn, or something like that. This fic was another of those razor-toothed rabbits that bit me on the ass for no goddamn good reason. It features the previous incarnations (I think that's the right sort of descriptor) of two characters (Xemnas and Vexen, to be specific - in this fic, Xehanort & Even) and slaps them into bed with nary a thought for the consequences. Actually, I'm lying about the 'nary a thought'. I put more thought than I'd like to admit into this, and several days worth of editing. So enjoy, if you like, and heed those warnings. They're there for a reason.

WARNING: XXX for sex, violent sex, moderate bondage, humiliation, and general unpleasantness.

Hero Worship

It was often difficult, even at this late date, to justify the manipulations and mutilations his test subjects had to endure in the name of Xehanort and his theories. When they begged for mercy, in particular, Even had to close his heart and damper his sense of ethics and remember that it was for the sake of the greater good. He carefully reminded himself that Ansem was not correct in attempting to stop the tests – science must always prevail, would always prevail. He didn’t enjoy it, however, and when with a distressed subject he was almost grateful for the occasional disruption.

One deliberate winter evening, expecting no visitors, he was in the middle of a set of unpleasant blood tests with one of the involuntary subjects (he couldn’t think of them as people anymore; not after their discoveries regarding the nature of life after succumbing to darkness) when he heard the quick, precisely heavy footsteps that characterized the only man he considered his superior a good ways down the hall. He was still frozen over the subject's outstretched arm when the man opened the door and stalked in with all the force of an electrical storm. Ienzo followed, a poor wisp of cirrus drifting in his wake. Even glanced up, syringe in hand, and tried to smile.

"Xehanort? Is there some problem? This subject is showing some promising results. The data requires some refinement, but I'm sure that–"

"Ienzo will be taking over this particular experiment; I've already given him your notes on the previous series of tests. Instruct him on anything he needs to know, and then we shall go to my personal laboratory, Even. I've got some...new information for you."

There was nothing to say. Even replaced the syringe on its tray, removed his gloves, and handed his notebook to the younger man. He’d never had a deep fondness for Ienzo; he’d always seemed a little too eager to participate in the less pleasant experiments, a little too concerned with things that ought not to matter to him. Also, if he had to be honest with himself, Even thought he was too young to be as important to the founders of the study as he was.He’d been twenty-five before he’d been allowed to participate in the significant experiments, and it galled a bit to see this child being told to take over one of his tests without a blink. Still, he couldn’t really argue; the boy's intellectual prowess was almost legendary, if somewhat less organized than his own.

"I've already completed the processes detailed on pages thirteen to seventeen, the results for those are on pages nineteen and twenty, and I was just starting on this one, page twenty-four. Be sure to loosen the bindings every twenty minutes for proper blood flow, but do not allow the subject to escape, under any circumstances. If the darkness seems to be spreading faster than is indicated by this chart, call Braig immediately; he's had the best results in slowing the process."

Outside of myself, he thought, with no small amount of pride. Even did not consider himself an arrogant man, but he felt justified in his knowledge that he was one of the most efficient and knowledgeable of Ansem's disciples. Outside of Xehanort, of course. No one superseded Xehanort except Ansem, and even that was beginning to be suspect. He gave Ienzo brief instructions as to the precise methods he had been using, and then resolutely entrusted his laboratory to him. Xehanort was waiting for him just outside the door, eyes blazing with some unknown furor.

Even didn’t know why he came to him in these moods. He'd asked a few mildly leading questions of his colleagues, but not a one of them had displayed any recognition of this particular series of behaviors on Xehanort's part. A suspicion had grown, and though it resulted from patchwork theories rather than solid empirical evidence, he felt certain that Xehanort considered him worth special attention, and his heart had filled with a secret joy.

He dared an inquiry, wanting to be certain of the outcome of this particular interruption.

"Superior?" It wasn't a required title, but he thought it fitting. "May I inquire as to what the source of this information was, that it was so important that I leave my lab immediately?"

"No." An atypically flat response, but his voice sounded amused. Even dared further.

"May I inquire as to the nature of this new–”

"Even, you know what it is that I have to tell you. My only desire is that you walk silently with me until we reach my rooms, at which point I will share my information, and you may share your observations. Until then..."

He trailed off, point made. Even fell silent, chastised into submission. He trailed Xehanort through the halls, up a staircase, and down another. This was a surprise – there was a much faster route from his lab to Xehanort's chambers, though it did run directly past Ansem's favorite classroom. Perhaps Xehanort was trying to be more subtle about his errands, unsurprising, given the rather inordinate (if necessary) levels of secrecy by which they were performing the current round of experiments.

They reached their destination quickly enough, a dim hallway far from the light-filled corridors that named Radiant Garden. Xehanort opened the door and gestured, somewhat grandly, for Even to enter. He did, braving the darkness inside despite a brief worry of stumbling on something and looking foolish. He hadn't been here so often as to know the layout of the room perfectly. He stopped at what he judged to be approximately the center of the room, and Xehanort closed the door behind them, shutting Even into total blackness. The room had no windows.

"...Superior?"

Warm hands touched his shoulders, plucking at the collar of the lab coat, and then drifted to his hair, bound as usual in a long plait to keep it out of the way. (The one thing about his physical form that Even was proud of was his hair, nearly waist-length, heavy, and the color of fine tea with cream. It served no purpose to wear it as long as he did, but it was his most beautiful feature and only honest vanity: he was not a handsome man, and knew it.) Xehanort, tugged lightly at the end, then undid the ribbon and carefully unwove the braid. Unused to being touched, Even felt his heartrate increase, noticed his breath catch, and distantly observed the first hesitant signs of arousal within his body. He froze, trying to decide if he should do anything in response.

"Superior?"

"Even. First, I'm going to remove your coat and shirt, then my own, and then I'm going to turn on a light. You may speak freely until the light is on. Proceed."

"Thank you, Superior. Is this, that is, are you going to...ah, as you have before?"

Xehanort swept one hand down Even’s arm, tugging at the sleeve of his coat. Even shifted immediately, moving to enable him to pull first one off, then the other, then heard a soft shuffle as his coat was discarded somewhere on the floor. Xehanort moved to his shirt, undoing one button at a time, letting seconds pass in silence, before deigning to give a response.

"As I have before. An interesting question, indeed. The answer is yes, I believe, though if you want a full answer, you'll have to be significantly more specific. Aren't you a scientist?"

Xehanort's voice was low, mocking, almost laughing, and dreadful with some negative emotion Even couldn't quite place. He tried to reply as Xehanort undid his cuffs and pulled his shirt away from his trousers, then off entirely, but no words sprang to his dry mouth. It was answer enough.

"Even, haven't you got anything to say? Aren't you the one who is so often referred to as an 'opinionated motormouth' by Braig due to your floods of words during meetings? Isn't your data always so verbose as to require careful editing by Elaeus before it can be published? And yet here you stand, silent."

"I –" Sounds of movement indicated that Xehanort was removing his own coat.

"Only my shirt left before you are stricken, Even. Last chance."

A sudden burst of terror fireworked in Even's mind.

"Why me?"

"A brave question, but a moment too late. Lights on."

It wasn't a bright light, just a desk lamp that left half the room still in shadow, but it was enough to see that Xehanort held a wide strip of cloth in one hand, enough to see that his smile touched only his lips. Xehanort caressed his cheek, eyes glinting, ran his fingers through Even's long hair, then grabbed him near the scalp, dragging the cloth over his mouth, an end clenched in each fist. He shoved Even forward, bending him so that he could tie a knot at the nape of his neck. A gag? No wonder Xehanort's voice had held that note of laughter. This was new to him, and he blinked uneasily at Xehanort when he was allowed to stand straight again, eyes owlish and a little frightened. He was met with another falsely congenial smile and a coil of cord, probably stolen from the laundry. Even had a moment of panic, flailing his pale arms as though trying to keep the other man at a safe distance, but one firm touch of Xehanort's hand to his shoulder calmed him. As though I were an unruly animal who responds only to its master's hand. Am I so pathetic?

"I'm changing the pattern just a bit from 'as I have before,' Even. You may have noticed. I feel just a little more transgressive tonight, but I'm sure you won't mind. You've always seemed to have a hidden sense of the dramatic. With this surplus of hair," he gave it a quick yank, pulling Even's head sharply to the side, "and your endless supply of adjectives to describe the subjects and their reactions; I'm sure I'm not wrong. The indications were there."

He paused.

"I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a temper just now. I thought I'd gag you so you wouldn't feel obliged to respond to my every statement with a question. I don't think I could refrain from beating you senseless if you persisted in that particular habit. But don't be afraid. I value you."

Xehanort wound his arms around Even, pressing his body close. Even inhaled his scent, shadowy and unfamiliar, and tentatively returned the embrace. He's only gagged me because he doesn't want me asking questions. It's all right. I'm the only one he comes to like this; there must be some reason. He flexed his fingers against the smooth skin over Xehanort's ribs, enjoying the sensation of the muscles moving on bone, the connective tissues quietly straining with each breath. The other man moved his hair out of the way enough to tongue his neck, then to bite, gently, drawing blood towards the surface. Even blinked. The sensation was pleasant, but something in it worried him.

Then Xehanort laughed. "Don't get too comfortable. This is scarcely the beginning of what I intend to do to you tonight." He grabbed a handful of Even's hair and pulled steadily back, drawing the slighter man away and swinging him around to throw him onto the bed. Startled, Even let himself fall. He landed badly, hitting one shoulder on a bedpost, and stared up at Xehanort. This was considerably unlike him, even if he were somewhat out of sorts; this was darker, colder, and almost to the point of uncaring. What could have caused this sudden shift in temperament? He wrapped his arms around himself, a little afraid.

"No, Even. Don't hide. I would like to see your pale skin, all of it; I have colors I want to see you turn, bruises I'd like to watch form. I want to see your eyes wide, your hair twisted in my fingers. You gave up your option to turn away when you walked from your laboratory. Here, you are in my kingdom. Am I not your Superior?" With these last words, Xehanort placed his fingers under Even's chin and forced him to look into his eyes. All but hypnotized by Xehanort’s powerful presence, Even nodded. Xehanort smiled, almost kindly, and stroked his bruising shoulder. “Then we are as we should be."

Even had no argument, and simply waited for his next order, which came swiftly.

“Remove your boots and trousers. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Still gagged, still a bit frightened, but willing to lay down every molecule of pride he had for this chance to prove himself loyal, to prove himself useful to this man, Even obeyed, stripping down to what he considered the most embarrassing level of nudity: his underwear. Xehanort was rummaging around in some drawer or chest, just a darker shadow in the poorly lit room. He had set the bundle of cord down on his desk. Even glanced at it, curious and incurious at the same time, then his gaze moved on, settling on some papers – some with Ansem’s name visible on them – that lay on the bedside table, pages folded in places and unreadable notations made in red ink. Xehanort returned after a moment or two, an unmarked bottle of clear fluid in hand - Even had seen something like it before, no, more than that, he'd used one exactly like it during experiments; it was a lubricant of some sort, very useful stuff - along with a few clanking metal objects wrapped in a handkerchief and a hairbrush. Even shivered, and Xehanort laughed.

"Your underclothes leave a certain something to be desired."

Even fought back an angry retort with the realization that it would come out only a whiny mumble. He hated being naked, hated his thin limbs and too-broad shoulders; it was one of the reasons that he all but worshiped Xehanort – his inhuman beauty astonished even the most jaded of scientists, a perfectly formed young Adonis amongst men more comfortable with panels of delicate instruments than the fragile curves of a nude woman. It was a form of eroticism, all those glass tubes and strange shining metal tools, and he would admit it if pressed, but right now, with Xehanort looking at him, it wasn't much of a consolation. The man seemed to be staring right through him. He shrugged eloquently; what do you want? White briefs are the cheapest things going.

"Take them off." He did, and sat on the bed, trying to find a way to feel safe within this new dynamic. "A good start, yes. I want you to lie down, Even. Face down, and put your hands slightly over your head. Yes, yes—just so. And close your eyes."

Unable to see, Even sharpened his ears, seeking as much data as was possible to glean from the slight noises Xehanort was making. That shuffing noise, that was surely the cord; those two disparate clicks, the bottle and the hairbrush being placed on the bedside table; now he was sitting, probably, the scraping of the chair implied movement, perhaps removing his boots? Twin thumps, then bare feet on the floor -- good hearing, Even; you guessed correctly -- nearer, nearer, here. Then hands, sweeping down his body, creeping under and lifting his hips to slide a pillow under them. What? Short, neatly clipped nails dragging across his skin, gentle, gentle, harsh. If he moved, a whisper: "Be still, or I'll beat you." He tried to be still, but there was always the cord to consider, still unused. He could feel his body warming to Xehanort's careful attentions, skin sensitizing, pupils dilating; could analyze the processes of sexual arousal but not understand them.

A subtle clinking told Even that he'd picked up one of the small metal things. He waited, suspended on the edge of Xehanort's whim.

Prickling, that was how it started. Delicately, across his shoulders and back, an initially unidentifiable metallic needling that grew until he felt certain Xehanort was drawing blood. He winced, fearing punctures, and lifted his head, curious as to what was being used on him. Xehanort understood and showed him – a small metal wheel with pins around the edge, attached to a handle – and Even recognized it. He'd used one of these on a subject once, testing how nerve reactions changed as the darkness grew. He'd even used one on Xehanort during the initial round of testing, but clinically, abstractedly, merely part of the procedure. Not like this, not this deliberate, absorbed attack that seemed intended only to distract and tantalize. Xehanort pressed his head lightly back to the pillow and continued his quiet ministrations. From fingers to arms to shoulders again and down the back, across his buttocks, down to his thighs, back of the knees (Even couldn't help but squirm), feet, he took unimaginable minutes on each section, teasing, touching, then sharply pricking, threatening to cut. And though it stung almost to the point of serious discomfort, Even couldn't argue that his senses were being drawn up, heightened to unreasonable levels; it was intriguing, nearly fun. He began to relax.

Then Xehanort hit him – one sharp blow across the thighs with a hard object, (hairbrush, his brain supplied him, ineffectually) then another. He screamed as best he could through the gag, and tried to roll over, to hide, to flee that momentary blinding pain. Xehanort wouldn't let him, used his greater weight to hold him down.

"None of that. Give in to me, Even." Xehanort's voice was taut and heavy, waiting for defiance. Even struggled a little, more because it seemed to be expected than because he really desired freedom. "Apparently, as you don't seem inclined to listen, I'm forced to tie you in place. Be still!" He shivered and lay quietly, submitting to having his wrists bound, neatly spread, one each to a side of the bed frame. "Now, if you twist too much, your shoulders will punish you for it." Slim fingers traced the stripe of pain that the hairbrush had left. "Very nice. You mark easily, and the skin is already beginning to rise. This will be easy."

He struck him once more with the hairbrush. Even fought to remain quiet, to not give voice to his rising panic. "Still, be still. Let it overcome you." Xehanort's voice soothed him strangely, allowing him to relax somewhat as the beating continued. Steady, Even, count prime numbers, one, three, five, seven, nine, no, nine is a multiple of three, eleven – he tried to think of other things than the pain: multiplication tables, the circulatory system, the paths that darkness took as it spread through an infested heart, anything. Every time he felt as though the sensation was beginning to lessen, Xehanort would find a different place to hit him, or a different tool to use: the back of the brush, sometimes the front (boar's bristle; it scratched and stung like a thousand needles digging into his flesh), what felt like a very small series of whips (he thought, perhaps, that they were bits of leftover cord) that left welts on his sides and back, and interspersed with all of it, Xehanort's hair trailing over his shoulders and arms and his hands, adjusting his body gently when he wanted a different angle. On some levels, Even knew he was being brutalized, knew he would be paying for this for days afterwards, but the pain blacked out every worry, and eventually he was beyond caring. When he went limp, Xehanort stopped.

"Ah, there are those beautiful colors. These spots," he touched Even's thighs, "these are turning purple already. Here," fingers traced across his lower back, "quite lovely, pink and reddish mixed." Hands on his ass, limning out fading lines of pain, digging into the muscles to cause fresh agony. "You'll be hard-pressed to sit properly for a little while, I suspect. How are you feeling? I'll remove the gag so that you may tell me."

Even gasped as Xehanort peeled away the cloth, now soaked with sweat, spit, and unconscious tears, and set it aside.

"I…I'm…This is not what I expected…" His voice was choked and dry, and water would have been more than welcome, but he felt that it was impossible to explain. It was too difficult to form words through the endorphin haze; he trailed off.

"Your eloquence astonishes." Silky, amused and cruel, Xehanort's voice slithered into his ears. He played with Even's hair, knotting it around his fingers and tugging lightly as he lay on the pillow trying to breathe. "If you've got nothing more to say for the moment, I'll gag you again. I don't want you screaming; though it's not an uncommon sound in these halls, it might make Ansem fret." He retied the gag, crushing Even's face into the pillow.

Even drifted further from his body, hiding from the pain by disappearing into it, distantly noting that Xehanort had moved away from him again. He heard a popping sound, a bottle being uncapped a short distance from his head. Xehanort returned, sat by him and petted his head, toying with a lock of hair. A soft, slick noise distracted Even, and he tried to lift his head, but Xehanort would not allow it, holding him in place with one hand. He spoke, softly, absently:

"Today Ansem commissioned a portrait of me for his study; did you know that, Even?" Xehanort's hand moved down Even's body, thoughtlessly tracing the marks he had left. "He values me beyond what is seemly." His breath caught, and he paused, "He wants to turn me into him, and rediscover his lost youth through me." He moved slightly, and Even could feel the bare skin of Xehanort’s thigh against his hip. "And yet, he is afraid of me, of my discoveries." A wet sound, liquid being poured. "Of my potential." Xehanort's fingers slipped down his ass, one curling under, pushing against, then invading his body. "Of the experiments." It wasn’t especially painful - Xehanort had been generous with the lubricant - but it was an unusual sensation. Even closed his eyes, trying to just feel for a moment, trying to wrap his mind around what he suspected Xehanort was going to do to him. I will do what he wants me to do. I would never allow this with another person. Another finger, stretching him a little wider. "Of what we might find, there beyond that door." What door? Tentative thrusting, then harder. Still just fingers, Even reminded himself. “Of what other worlds might have to offer." I thought we were studying hearts? A sudden burst of pleasure shocked him, caused him to gasp against the gag. "Of what we might do, if we found a way to escape this tiny world." Warmth filled Even's mind and body; he'd always been so curious about Xehanort and his wants, his feelings, his memories, and finally he was hearing some of those desires spoken aloud. He moved his hips a little, briefly relishing the thought of being close to the strange young man.

Xehanort wrenched his fingers out of Even with a low, bestial sound, got up on the bed and knelt behind him, lifting Even's hips and twisting his shoulders. Even cried out as best he could, suddenly conscious of how potentially dangerous his position was for what Xehanort was obviously intending; he was completely vulnerable to serious injury to shoulders or wrists. He tried to move his hands, tried to give some indication of his worry, but the other man gave no sign that he was at all concerned about harming him. He placed his hands on Even’s hips, holding him still. Even closed his eyes, afraid. Xehanort leaned forward, pulling Even back on his erection, grasping fiercely at his hips, his waist, his chest; bending over him until he covered him entirely. Even bent his head to the pillow, exhaling strongly, trying, trying, trying to allow this. Trying not to struggle, trying to relax, trying to tell his heart to stop racing, his pulse to stop pounding in his throat. It still didn't precisely hurt, though the raw skin of his back burned as Xehanort slid in and out of his body in time with his breath. He could feel some distant pleasure beginning to build, and wondered at it.

"He…" Xehanort gasped out. "He doesn't understand anything!" He grabbed Even's hair, using it as a grip as he drove himself deeper. "He's a foolish old man with no—ah! No imagination!" Even lay quietly under his assault, arousal vaporizing under the weight of sudden understanding: this had nothing to do with him. A few moments later, Xehanort shuddered and came, breathing guttural curses into the back of Even's neck.

He lay there for a moment, then rolled off him onto the bed. He took a moment to untie Even's aching wrists, then stood, grabbing a towel he'd placed on a chair.

"I'm going to have a shower, Even. I expect that you will still be here when I return. If you are not, I will find you, and we will have words."

Even sat up slowly and removed the gag, head bowed in obeisance.

"Yes, Superior."

Xehanort discarded the towel, opened a door that Even had not noticed in the darkness, and stepped through. Soon the sound of water running was the only noise left to him outside of his own heartbeat. He scowled at the strip of cloth, threw it to the floor. Disgusting, covered in fluids…

Was he describing the gag, or himself, he wondered, and buried his face in his hands, hating the way that his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat; the way that his shoulders burned as he moved his arms. He picked up the towel and briefly attempted to remove some of the slime from his body, but found that it stung uncomfortably to run over the contusions that Xehanort had left. He dropped it, and instead picked up the hairbrush and looked at it with some bemusement, then began to methodically brush his hair. He gave up halfway through, unable to summon up the sense of equilibrium that such normative actions usually gave him. The words to describe what had just happened were there, but the feelings they inspired made no sense. Intercourse. Sex. Love was discarded before being fully born. There was no love here. It was something like worship, something like wanting to honor Xehanort's wishes, but there was no fulfillment, no gratification in it, because Xehanort seemed to want only to denigrate him. This, on some levels, matched his own feelings of being inextricably lower than the man he called, unblinkingly, "Superior."

He shook his head slowly, wondering at the way Xehanort's hands had felt on his body. Wondering at the strange joy he had taken in being taken in that way. He'd never felt any particular attraction to men, and, he reflected, this was the first time he'd been seen fully naked, much less touched sexually, in the fifteen years since he had been in school and fumbled about with the co-eds from the girls' college, before Ansem and his special study groups had distracted him so thoroughly from the world outside his laboratories and study rooms—before the darkness; before the hearts and subjects and tests, when his science felt more pure, and less like an experiment gone horribly awry.

Xehanort opened the door again, and called to him, relieving his distracted mental writhing.

"Even. Come here, you need to clean yourself off."

Even got up, finding new pains with each movement, and went to him. He smiled, and Even thought, he looks more his age, somehow, with his hair slicked back. Younger. Less arrogant. His face is still so soft. Xehanort grabbed Even's wrist, heedless of the slight rope burn, and drew him in. Even caught a glimpse of his back in the partially fogged mirror and stifled a gasp. It looked awful, purple-red and bruising in patches, with red stripes here and there as if for contrast. I've only seen damage like that on corpses.

"Stand in the shower; I'll hold your hair off of your back and shoulders."
"Xehan—Superior. Is that what you...?"
"Yes, Even. Now get in the shower."

True to his word, Xehanort twisted Even's hair into a rope and held it well away from his body while Even washed, carefully soaping his tender skin. Xehanort's soap had very little smell, it seemed, which meant that the scent he gave off, that peculiar shadows-and-empty-space smell, was all his own. He never smelled of anything so human as sweat. Finding him somewhat distracted, when he thought he could manage it, Even stole glances at Xehanort. He'd never seen him properly nude before, and the sight was worth appreciating. Contrary to some opinions (Braig), the tan of his skin appeared to be completely natural, not some gift of the sun, and his musculature was pure, refined, and beautiful. When at last he was done washing, and had been given a towel to dry himself with, Even looked hopelessly at Xehanort, a thin smile papering across his lips.

"What now?"

A greedy smile was the quick response, followed by a tug on his hair. Even was led back into the room, stumbling along behind the stronger man. Xehanort shut the bathroom door, and pulled Even back to the bed, indicating that he should sit, though he did not settle himself, instead choosing to pace fitfully.

"What, indeed. I have a few ideas remaining, but first I want to talk to you a little. I wanted to ask," Xehanort picked up one of the lab coats, twisted the top button. "I wanted to ask you what you feel at night, when you’ve completed your work for the day. When you’re sitting at Ansem’s table, enjoying his largess, and knowing that he thinks we are wrong. That what we are doing is amoral, unethical, that we should not be attempting to carry this study to its logical conclusion. Aware that if he discovers what we are doing, what you are doing, you will be flung from his graces, probably expelled from his castle. How do you feel, knowing that he has been transformed from our patron, practically our father, into an adversary?"

Startled, Even shook his head. Xehanort had once been Ansem’s most faithful student, his foundling that he hoped to one day make a prince. To hear him speaking like this was practically sacrilege. Something holy between the two had been broken, and it seemed beyond repair.

"I. Well, that is, to be truthful, I rarely think of it in those terms. I perform my part in this study because it is necessary, for the sake of understanding the world and bettering the lives of the people in it."

“Really.” Xehanort arched an eyebrow.

Slightly affronted, Even continued. “Yes. I am a scientist, first and foremost, and that Ansem proposed a line of study, then closed it off because he suddenly feels it is wrong, with no clear reason for it, well, it seems, at best, strange. Perhaps suspicious. But not worth destroying all we have worked for.” He bit his lip. “Do you think he would really throw us out, Xehanort? Surely not. Chastise us, certainly, but he has never given us any indication that he would end our studies here entirely if we disobeyed him.”

“Have you ever disobeyed him, Even? On this scale? I think not. You’ve enjoyed being his ‘good son’ far too much for that.”

Even scowled. “My feelings regarding Ansem are irrelevant, particularly those which involve my studies with him.”

"I disagree, Even. Your feelings are of great interest to me. You've been his disciple for the longest period of time; you've worked with and for him for years with no sign of recompense in money or power. Why? And why betray him like this, if you love him so? Why follow me? I am nothing. All that I have has come from him. Each fragile shard of memory that has been coaxed from my past is the result of you and he working tirelessly to bring it forth. Why, Even?"

"Xehanort, I…you are, that is, that...is. I do not consider it a betrayal."

"But it is. You are deliberately going against his wishes."

Even looked away, unable to meet Xehanort's clear gaze. It was true, damnably true. He stared into space for a moment, the moment stretching thin and taut.

"Yes. I suppose that is the case." He looked back, mouth set in a near-grimace. "We are betraying Ansem for your sake. I cannot claim to speak for any of the others, and I hope that what I say to you here will never leave this room, but there are reasons."

"There are always reasons." Xehanort threw down the lab coat, stopped pacing, and came to stand near him. It was distracting to have him there, still unclothed, still his Superior in so very many ways, and Even shifted nervously, licking his lips with a dry tongue.

"Yes. Yes, yes. There are reasons. You are…so many things that Ansem is not. You have the strength to withstand the tests that you ask us to perform on others, innocent people whose only crime was a having a touch of darkness in their hearts, something we are all guilty of. You have the genius to seek further answers into the questions that are raised by this research. You have imagination, to devise new tests, new theories. You draw us together in ways that Ansem never did -- you ask more of us, and give greater respect to our words than he has, at least of late. You, you, well—I mean no disrespect, but you are like Ansem the Wise, as he was years ago. I repeat, I cannot claim to speak for any of the others, but my loyalties are shifting. I believe that you are the stronger leader, and worthy the title Superior."

Scarcely able to believe the truths that poured from his mouth, Even shut his eyes, covered his face with his hands. Xehanort had fascinated him since Ansem had found him wandering in the street, wounded and empty; he had been jealous of him since he had surpassed him in all of Ansem's thousands of exams. When had that all changed? When had fascination become loyalty? When had envy transformed into reverence? He ground his palms into his eyes, wanting to be that young scholar whose loyalties were clear, who loved his work and his professor with his whole being. Ansem. I wish I could lie to myself and adore you still...

"Enough, Even. I can see that this distresses you." A hand came to rest on his head, stroking the fear away. He leaned into Xehanort's hip, taking solace in the knowledge that this choice had been made some time ago, even if he had not wanted to admit it to himself. "You are correct, of course. I am a stronger leader, a stronger man. I have higher aims than to be ruler of this country—the only thing he ever wanted to allow me. I want to investigate the entire universe!" He spoke quickly in his excitement, and he turned, leaning down to give Even a wide grin. It was infectious, as his feelings always seemed to be, and Even found himself smiling. Xehanort briefly kissed his cheek, then pressed his hands deeply onto Even's shoulders, dragging him off the bed to his knees.

Shocked out of his brief enthusiasm, Even stared at him, jaw slack. The floor was cold.

"Oh, Even. You didn't think that I was quite done, did you?" Xehanort smiled. "This you will like a little more, I think, or you have in the past, at any rate. At the very least you haven't complained. Come here." He sprawled as decadently in the desk chair as if it were a throne, and Even stared at him, understanding bringing the blood to his face.

Xehanort laughed at him.

"Even, don't blush. You've done this before. Now come to me, and," he gestured to his erection, smiling with a sardonic tilt to his mouth. "Make me come."

No words, he had no words left. Even huddled on the floor, hair falling around him in a heavy curtain behind which he might hide his humiliation. Xehanort sat, tapping his fingers idly on his thigh.

A minute passed, slower than any lithic age, then another. Even sat up, still staring at the bare stone of the floor, examining each tiny crack for a way to escape his skin. Xehanort was only a few feet away, but the distance between them was overwhelming. He lifted one hand to move his hair out of his face, and accidentally met Xehanort's half-lidded eyes. A subtle, commanding nod was all it took. He glanced down at his hands, noting how ugly they were, how large his knuckles compared to the slender fingers, how ragged his bitten nails, and stumbled towards his Superior, gracelessly floundering along on his knees.

Even eventually knelt in supplication at his knees, and Xehanort received him kindly, pulling him up by his hair with a beatific smile and kissing his forehead. Even stared at his mouth, at the sharp white teeth and pleased cupid's bow lips, and did not blink as his head was inexorably pushed downward. A light fingertip pressure on each side of his jaw informed him that he was to open his mouth. He paused a moment, then did so, and then Xehanort's erection was velvet against his tongue, the shape familiar against his lips, and his motions were clear. He closed his eyes, closed his mouth around the other man, and began the process of following orders.

Other times, this had been all that was asked of him. He had been brought here, pressed to his knees, and told to open his mouth. No ceremony, no questions, just Xehanort, hard and warm, sliding into his mouth, thrusting until he reached silent orgasm; his fingers clawing into Even's shoulders, his clothes still mostly on, only a few buttons undone, and Even himself practically untouched. Those experiences, while unusual and a little nerve-wracking, had been something close to fun, processes that seemed to draw him closer to Xehanort each time. He had fantasized that they meant that he was Xehanort's favored cohort, as he had been Ansem's favorite, and his earlier teachers' favorite.

This was nothing like those times. This was his back, raw and bruised, and Xehanort's hands in his hair, forcing him to a steady rhythm. This was humiliating and wonderful in unequal parts, the sensation of Xehanort thrusting too deeply, causing him to gag a little, then pulling back, teasing him with the prospect of a rest, then resuming, spasming a little, stopping, flinging him back on his heels with a sound like a cough, like a shout –

"Ah, Even! Not so fast. I have one final test for you. I want," he was nearly panting with interrupted desire, "I want you to toy with yourself. You've gotten precious little joy from my little exercises, and I want to watch you come, using your own hands. And this." He tossed him the little bottle of lubricant. "It'll help, I'm sure. To make it a challenge, I want you to keep at your previous task. You can go slowly at first to be certain of your movements. It'll take some manual dexterity, but I think you, with your surgeon's training, will be able to accomplish it."

Even paled. He looked at the bottle, at his hands, at Xehanort, who still smiled down at him, eyes cold and cruel and compassionless. How much further would he ask him to go? How much further would he be willing to go? He had thought that Xehanort had given him the ultimate question of faith, and now he found that there were still gates beyond which he had never dreamed of trespassing. It had been all right as long as it was a form of worship. This request brought the acts down to the realm of animal sex, rendered him unable to ignore what was going on in favor of treating it as a metaphor. He smiled a little at himself, at his own sense of drama and his refusal to look clearly at what he had already acquiesced to do. His choices were made. Why, why, why did he persist in being shocked? He shook his head, stopped thinking, and followed his leader.

He opened the bottle, briefly unable to meet Xehanort's eyes, spread some of the lubricant on his hand, and began. It was a little difficult, he had to admit, to manage to arrange himself over Xehanort's knees in a way that allowed Even to return to his previous ministrations while stroking himself fully erect. He managed to find a comfortable position, and fell into a surprised near-trance of gratification and distraction. Xehanort's fingers tangled in Even's hair, encouraging him to certain movements, certain angles. It became a study of pleasure, and his self-consciousness fell away, melting back into a sexual rush. Too soon, Even felt the telltale shivers that afflicted him before orgasm – he always felt so cold, just before, then a solid flush of heat just as it took him. Thankfully, he could hear Xehanort's breathing falter, could feel him trembling in his mouth, and knew that he, too, would reach climax soon.

One moment, two, and then Even was coming, gasping and shaking, spilling semen over his hand and stomach, and Xehanort was yanking back his head, hoarsely telling him to close his eyes, and instead of spurting into his mouth, instead of the silent spasms and clenched fists Even was used to, he came screaming harshly, low in his throat, spattering Even's face and hair and brutally exposed neck with warm salty-sweet fluid. A drop rolled slowly down his cheek, almost as if it were a profane tear. He stared at the ceiling, mind empty, body cooling. There was no warm afterglow, as he sometimes felt after one of his infrequent bouts of self-pleasure, only a dim pervasive chill.

Xehanort sat back in his chair, sated, peace slipping unwarranted across his handsome face. A short while later, he rose, toweled himself off and then returned to where Even sat, hands on his knees, face resolutely turned to the floor, eyes carefully blank.

"Go take a shower, Even, then return to your lab and see what Ienzo's done with your experiment. If he's completed the tasks you left him and returned the subject to the cells, then find Braig and assist him in whatever task he's appointed himself."

"Yes, Superior."

Even washed quickly, barely minding the hot water stinging his bruises, brushed and braided his hair, and stepped back into the room. Xehanort had dressed and gone, leaving his clothes folded on the neatly made bed. He put on his underwear, his trousers, his socks, boots, buttoned his shirt, slipped on his coat, and stood in the center of the room, considering.

This was what it felt like to be used, to be destroyed. This was what it would be like to serve Xehanort, to adore him and obey him -- to call him Superior. This was pain and fear and adoration woven into a shroud for not only his followers, but also the world; possibly more than one, if his hints were true. And yet, he had given his allegiance and could not bear to rescind it; his word was his pledge, it was how he had been taught.

He gathered his pride and left, returning to his lab, where Ienzo would surely glance at him askance but ask no questions. He would continue the experiments until his devouring god was satisfied, if necessary, until all the possible worlds grew dark and cold and still.
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nightcenturymountain

March 2010

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