Promises Under the Influence
by Uru-Chan

"Hidoi. Hidoi ne?" Elegant fingers toyed with the grooved curve of a tumbler, spinning in slow pensive circles. Light flickered rapidly before him, the monitor casting a pale blue haze upon his flesh. The general's right hand traced the plane of the braided boy's face, mouth a fine line of displeasure.

"Yet another shooting star. They burn so brilliantly, these tragic young soldiers. They struggle valiantly for a little while, only to plummet from the sky in a blaze of fire, beautiful, defiant to the last." The dull clatter of glass on burnished wood shattered the silence in endless cycles. Terrible, the expression on that boy's face. And next to him, my young dragon, proud, defiant, unshakable... It could so easily have been him. Treize flicked the monitor off with one finger, disgusted with his own impotence.

"You have grown soft, General," the man lamented to himself, a thick sigh escaping his lips. His gaze drifted to the tumbler, almost amused at his lack of discipline. He'd abandoned fine wine in favor of hard liquor, desperate to cleanse the taint of guilt and dishonor from his memory.

"Iie. Even in this, there will be no release." Lamplight penetrated the rich liquid, staining his wrist with crimson. Dark liquid sloshed about the rim, splashing his fingers with fine sparkling drops. Treize gazed thoughtfully at the tiny, scarlet beads, drawing his finger to his lips. Burning and bitter-sweet.

A faint scuffling issued from the corridor, startling him from his reverie. Unconcerned, Treize raised his glass between two fingers, tilting it leisurely to his lips. Hmm. It isn't Zechs or Une... Well, I'm in no mood for visitors. If he knocks, I'll send him away. The door swung open without warning, and a slim bitter smile crossed his lips. Okaeri koibito.

"Back so soon?" Treize questioned lightly. "You disappoint me. I thought surely you'd hold out longer this time."

"Don't patronize me," the Chinese pilot retorted, poised motionless in the doorway. He stood ready, sword in hand, yet powerless to approach his opponent. "I'm your enemy General; I'm not your plaything." The smile tightened slightly as Treize swiveled in his chair, eyes cool with disapproval. The blade trembled slightly in Wufei's fist, the aristocratic face flushed with anger.

"A rematch then," Kushrenada sighed wearily. "Couldn't it wait until morning? I'm in no shape for sparring, as you can see." Although I'd gladly spar between the sheets, he thought lecherously. The older man gazed thoughtfully at the Shenlong pilot, moistening his lips with his tongue.

"You're drunk," Wufei hissed, sword dangling helplessly at his side. "God-damn you, you're drunk!"

"And what if I am?" Treize challenged quietly, swallowing a mouthfull of scalding liquid. The glass clattered gently to a halt against the table. "A man may do as he likes on his own time." Wufei flushed at the expression on the general's face, fingers worrying the hilt of his sword. Treize rose slowly, advancing gradually on the Chinese pilot.

"Iie!" Wufei stuttered, blade darting between them. "Iie. You won't seduce me again."

"Seduce you?" Treize laughed softly; "Is that what you call it, Dragon? Is that what you believe?"

"I challenged you in the name of justice," the Chinese boy argued, "and you-- you defeated me. The day was yours. I begged you to end my life, to honor me in defeat, but you refused me that. You poured me your wine, fed me with promises, decieved me into your bed! You've dishonored me Kushrenada, and you do so again, denying me justice because of this... this--" Wufei's sword leapt in a sharp arc, shattering a dwindling supply of liquor. Treize gazed at the glistening shards of glass, observing in silence as crimson liquid seeped into the carpet. He glanced up abruptly, features lax, emotionless save for the harsh line of his mouth.

"Have you forgotten what you were Chang Wufei?" he questioned softly. "How it was when you came to me, spouting that tired rhetoric of honor and justice? You were miserable in your solitude, desperate for companionship, pleading for death, not for honor as you say, but for release. I gave you what you asked for, Dragon," Treize murmured, tone softening with remembrance. "You needed comfort, and I held you. You asked for companionship, and I devoted myself to you. You wanted someone to love you, and I-- "

"Iie!" Wufei bristled suddenly, mouth curled in a snarl of contempt. "You didn't. You lied to me. You used me. The guilt I've suffered for you, Kushrenada, the humiliation... " The Chinese boy's gaze fell briefly to the floor in thought, face expressionless.

"Are you ashamed then, Dragon, to be my beloved?" Abruptly the boy's eyes flicked back to Treize, smoldering with fury.

"You don't love me, General," he snapped angrily. "You want me. And even that's not enough to keep your eyes from straying. I've seen the way you watch that young officer." Surprise washed briefly over the older man's face, replaced by a condescending grin.

"Well then, which is it Chang Wufei?" he asked leisurely, folding his arms across his chest. "Did you leave me for principle--or was it jealousy?"

"Jealousy?" Wufei sputtered out, lips parted in outrage.

"Come now," Treize sighed wearily, realizing he'd pushed the boy too far. "Do you really think so little of me? Nanase my proud one, my lonely one. Betrayal was furthest from my thoughts. Perhaps I did consider Zechs, if only for a moment, in your absence. It's a man's nature to look, after all. And besides, Dragon," he noted almost playfully, "it's my duty to be aware of everything." His face fell immediately at the sudden pallor in the boy's cheeks, the whiteness of his knuckles.

"Are you, then?" the Chinese boy whispered harshly. "Do you really know the business of every unit, every officer, every prison cell in your command? I hope, for your sake, that you're mistaken." Treize gazed in momentary disbelief at the boy before him, startled by the unbridled hatred in his tone. Comprehension flicked abruptly across his face, escaping in a thick sigh of regret.

"Aa," he murmured cryptically, sinking into the comfort of a nearby chair. "The boy."

"Is that all you have to say?" Wufei challenged, features wide in disbelief. He glared at the side of Treize's head, willing him to turn his face into view. When the man complied, he was startled by the general's vacant expression. "Tell me," the Chinese pilot demanded softly, voice tinged with desperation. "Tell me you didn't know. Convince me you didn't just let it happen!"

"You yourself demanded I treat you as an enemy," Treize began, fingers reaching involuntarily for a non-existent glass. "The telecast was necessary. I know your strength, Dragon. I knew you could withstand the ordeal; there was never a doubt in my mind. Afterwards, it was a simple thing to aid that boy in his gallant rescue. I had no intention of damaging you, any of you, unnecessarily."

"Iie," Wufei ground out bitterly. "It isn't enough. You failed Treize. You allowed that bastard to break him to the point of death, to violate him repeatedly, until I couldn't even wake him anymore. Every time he cried out in his sleep I promised myself that you were ignorant of this, that you'd be the one to save us, that General Kushrenada would administer justice. So," the Chinese boy concluded expectantly, face flushed. "Administer it. Give me the man who abused my comrade. Let me punish him myself."

"Honorable to the last," Treize mused bitterly, fingers tracing patterns in the shattered glass. "But I'm afraid I cannot allow it. The officer you seek is on leave, and won't return for several weeks."

"Give me his name, then, and his whereabouts. I'll find him myself!"

"Nanase," the older man replied placatingly. "Better to be patient and let him return on his own. Rest assured, Chang Wufei, he will be executed. Justice will be done." The Shenlong pilot glared briefly in disbelief, mouth working in silent syllables. Gradually, his arm relaxed, sword dangling at his side, eyes fixed to the soiled floor. Red liquid trickled in sad little rivulets from the table, dropping soundlessly to coagulate on the carpet below. Duo... So much blood, I couldn't make it stop... Wufei's head jerked up, dark eyes suspiciously moist.

"Why?" the Chinese boy whispered brokenly, features drawn and helpless in defeat. "Why do you deny me everything? Is there nothing you can give me?"

"Hai," Treize replied softly, rising from his chair. Long, aristocratic fingers grasped at the boy's sword, pulling it gently from his fingers. The blade clattered softly against the table.

"What then," Wufei questioned as strong arms enfolded him, burying his face in the older man's shoulder. "What can you offer me, Kushrenada?"

"Come to bed, my Dragon," Treize murmured soothingly, fingers tracing patterns on the boy's back.

"Everything is just as it was," Wufei choked miserably, clinging to Treize nonetheless.

"Hai," the older man lamented softly. "I offer you all that I am, and the illusion of everything else."

On to part seventeen. Back to part fifteen.