Rating: R – allusions to m/m sex, rape. Dark themes.
Summary: Muraki/Tsuzuki. A twist on the Nagasaki arc.
Notes: Because when you first watch the series, Muraki/Tsuzuki seems like an obvious, interesting pairing, in a fucked-up way. And then you get on ff.net, and it's all happy endings and marriages and children and immortal gods, guardians of the heavens, being used as babysitters. And Hisoka in a dress. This is... a lot different from my usual style, so I'd really appreciate feedback. Please?
A million thanks to clari_clyde for the preread.
The morning light in Nagasaki was bright enough to hurt. It seemed to come from everywhere, scattering through the mist hanging over the sea and reflecting off of the low-lying clouds and scouring away every single shadow and it still wasn't quite enough to hide what was missing. Everything was radiant and sharp-edged, and even the faded concrete of the streets glittered like broken glass. Tsuzuki's familiar city was a stranger, an overexposed photograph with all the colors lost in a glare of white.
He watched mutely while the pool of his partner's blood soaked into the ground, gradually fading to the brown of ashes and dust. The splashes on his shoes had cracked and peeled like paint. The sun rose up from behind distant hills and burned like a splash of bleach to sleep-deprived eyes. Anger required something to do, someone to lash out at; despair was much more suited to these hours of wasted time. He held the cellphone in his hand, afraid of not hearing it ring if it was tucked away in a pocket. Afraid of it never ringing.
He prayed without meaning to, a repeating litany of please and not so soon and I won't do this again, but the gods he knew had never had any particular interest in keeping him unscarred.
Muraki threw something at him, and as it fell through the air it unfolded into a white handkerchief marred by a pure red stain. It seemed to hang suspended for a moment, floating before Tsuzuki's face like a bird, and then it was a crumpled heap on the floor before he’d even begun to move to catch it.
Muraki's mechanical eye twisted the lines of his face, tainted his studied expressions with madness. Behind him and on either side, the light spilled from the stained-glass windows in red and orange and pink, the jangled tumble of a rainbow, and on the floor all around him were the distorted reflections of martyrs and crucifixions and sacrificial lambs. He moved, and the long white trench coat swirled around his legs like a pair of folded wings.
"I've been watching you for a long time." He stood too close to speak, close enough for Tsuzuki to see how startlingly red his tongue was against pale lips, to feel the deep bass purr of the words inside his chest. Everyone else was so careful of Tsuzuki's space, too polite or frightened or unwilling to touch him. "I want you." Tsuzuki shoved him away, and even at that he didn't flinch, curling an eager hand around Tsuzuki's own. It was the clearest sign of affection he'd seen in years.
Muraki laughed. He looked human only in the most superficial of ways, only when Tsuzuki deliberately forgot reason and focused on the tiny things, the creases at the corners of his eyes when he smiled. He was beautiful. He touched the fringe of Tsuzuki's hair lightly, with just the tips of his fingers, and in each small movement there was the stillness of a spider and the dance of a fire, things like him, things dangerous and violent and forever amoral. Tsuzuki understood moths, knew how to love life and relinquish it in the same breath. Muraki looked like a god of death. Tsuzuki had never quite managed anything more than a crumpled and clumsy compassion.
When Muraki proposed the deal, he agreed without hesitation.
The ornate flourishes of a foreign religion enclosed them, and Tsuzuki understood nothing of it except the sacrilege, the sickening wrongness of this action and place. The pew was hard under his back, more stone than wood. It hurt his elbows and spine when he moved; his bones were too close to the surface to press against such solidity. And Muraki was stone too, smooth pale marble in the shadows, and it hurt to touch him, like skinning hands and face, like flesh scraped raw against rocks. He did it though, touched Muraki over and over, because when had he ever deserved comforts, when had he ever been worthy of a love better than this? "No protests, Tsuzuki-san? No last defense in honor of your virtue?" Muraki had said, and in memory that low voice sounded like a knife, like sharp, tempting pressure. "But of course not. It's perfectly acceptable- you are rescuing an innocent, after all." The words hadn't mattered. Heavy with grief and horror, Tsuzuki had heard a meaning only in the tone, in the tiny pause before Muraki put a hand under his chin and tipped his face up, in the sudden, resigned clutch of his hands at broad shoulders. He hadn't bothered to deny the accusation.
Muraki tasted like cigarette smoke and soap and a musky cologne, flavors that lingered in Tsuzuki's mouth even when he tossed his head back and pressed his lips closed to silence the noises he would have made. "Quiet," Muraki said, his normally cultivated voice rough and out of breath. "So quiet." His hair fell light as cobwebs against Tsuzuki's neck and collarbone, and Tsuzuki shivered from that softness, his breath shuddering audibly. He couldn't hide how his muscles tensed with pleasure, and it made Muraki grin and trace delicate patterns across his chest. "The boy was loud. He fought much more than you, Tsuzuki-san," Muraki whispered, the carefully polite words a susurrus of air against Tsuzuki's cheek, and understanding uncurled in the back of his mind like something cold and awful.
"No," Tsuzuki said. "Please..." Muraki lifted one elegant shoulder in a disdainful gesture. Tsuzuki closed his eyes to not see it. Silent, he didn't cry or scream or recoil, but felt himself break, become hopeless. Muraki kissed him, and he turned his head to follow that touch mindlessly.
Tsuzuki was very careful not to touch Hisoka. He told himself that was enough to shield his partner from the worst of his thoughts and memories.
The wind pushed the rain into sheets, flickering patterns of white spray that slid across the ground and disappeared. Hisoka spoke to Tsuzuki without meeting his gaze, staring out at the sea as if it held something important and forgotten. He was so small already; hunched in against the cold, his hair plastered flat to his skull, he radiated anger and misery. It closed Tsuzuki's throat to watch his curled shoulders and bowed head. Hisoka spoke and Tsuzuki nodded that, yes, he understood. He didn't try to say anything. Hisoka glanced at him as he turned to leave, and his eyes were very, very green in the grey of the falling water. The roar of the rain muffled his footsteps.
Tsuzuki leaned out on the railing and clenched his hands together so tightly that his knuckles hurt and the tips of his fingers turned pink. He waited for someone to come and tell him to go inside, that it would be okay, that he could be forgiven; and he would smile at them and say nothing of suicide. After a while, the rain turned cold enough to sting.