Title: Crown of Thorns
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Warnings: Sex, Language, Incest
Rating: PG-13 (NC-17 in some chapters)
Pairing: AoixUruha (main), ReitaxRuki (side), KaixUruha, ByouxUruha
Summary: Aoi lost his father and his friends in a violent and cruel manner. To make-up for his insufficient place, he lived his life searching for that person who coldly changed him. Once again, the hole in his heart was filled with happiness by the stranger who saved his life. But the eyes of his past won’t let him get away that easily, to what extent Aoi could give for the sake of the one he loves?
Comments: Enjoy :)
Chapter 9: Ether
He was once a man of dreams and believed to the enigmatic promise of Eden. He, who was once a son of light, was eaten by the darkness of fallen hopes. He once believed and was broken. That’s why he strived to be the person of his present. The sky was not the beauty he anticipated. Holding to the embellished promise of yesterday, he shaped his new life.
Aoi’s plane safely landed at Narita Airport, an hour delayed to his original flight. He stood up from his seat and grabbed his two large baggages and went off. It was a quiet trip with Kazuki. He was walking with him casually as if they had no connection except the deep black clothes they’re wearing. It was accessorized with black hat, sunglasses, and the cross necklace.
Kazuki kept an eye to the last.
It had been a year of continuous battle and struggle, through all of the hardships, Aoi never removed it. He never let anyone to borrow or even touched it. Even in the most dangerous mission he had in Middle East, he was living his life stuck with it. He wanted to know the whole story behind that necklace but he could never bring himself to ask. After all, they were nothing but acquaintances that accidentally had the same goal.
“It came from Uruha in case you wanted to know.”
The truth is he knew it ever since before.
“Ah, you noticed,” Kazuki paused for a while. “Do you trust me Aoi?”
“We’re friends, right?” Aoi stopped to face him and extend his hand. “We can do this.”
Kazuki smirked and grabbed his hand, “Stupid. Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, motherfucker?”
The twisted feelings he had was keep in the facade of being friends.
Reita and Ruki were waiting for them at the gate. When both parties met, they seemed to be fathoming each other’s strength. Looking at each other’s figure and how coldly their ways changed, Reita and Aoi passed to each other with an aura of strangers.
“He changed dramatically,” Reita held Ruki’s shoulder as they walked away.
“I wonder if Aoi knew that Kazuki is...” Ruki held the other’s hand. “... brother.”
His final words blended with the noises of landing and departing planes.
“Who betrayed Jesus Christ in the Bible?”
The azure sky was bearing holes to their beginnings. They knew each other’s pain. They threw all the solace and moved on. They continued to stretch out their hands believing on each other’s grief. They’ll be fighting for a new world, to defend what’s precious, to save him, for the hope of finding their own happiness.
“The truth is, who’s the one wanted to be saved?” Ruki asked himself.
He’s still a part of the Crown of Thorns so the access to the facility wasn’t really a problem. Reita was formally promoted in the I ranks. They were both great assets to Aoi’s plan. Three months ago, he called them opening up the truth about his fake death but after that Aoi did not contact them until today announcing his arrival. Though there were no plans for meet-up, they wanted at least to see him. Little that they expect that Aoi would change the way they could no longer recognize him.
They had never seen Uruha for a year. It was about that time Aoi disappeared. Kai took him in the emperor’s main house at Tokyo. Ruki had already tried visiting him but his request was never granted. He had no choice but to stay at Tokushima and wait for a miracle.
Uruha noticed the abnormal reaction on the 7-inch LED screen. It had never shown any response over a year. He accidentally discovered that the Magdalene’s Cross was a form of a tracking device. It has a port that once connected to an imaging device could locate someone’s position. The red light continued to flicker, randomly changing from one location to another and it was getting closer and closer to him. It’s a wonder for him. It seemed like a thick line of red thread was connecting him to someone.
He kept the device on his bag. It’s getting late. He was supposed to meet Kai for dinner. Ever since the preparation for their wedding began, Kai had been busy that they rarely see each other. It was good that Manabu would occasionally check him up. Ever since he woke up and lost his memories it seemed like he forgot how to let his voice out. It’s a mystery for him. He could not understand the feeling that both were hiding something from him.
“You’re late,” Kai briefly kissed him on the cheeks.
Uruha smiled at him and held his hand.
“Okay, I won’t be angry,” they continued inside the restaurant. “Hey, it’s not like I have something bad at my stepbrothers but I think it would be better if you don’t put yourself too attach on them. After all, we’re leaving that house as soon as we’re married.”
“Liar. Rui told me you don’t get along with them,” he typed the message on his phone and showed it to Kai. “Do you hate them?” he added.
“You understand our situation, don’t you? I think it’s natural to feel that way. Don’t trust them.”
Uruha nodded and ate his food.
“Is this... wasabe?”
Realizing it was his hated food, Uruha ran to the bathroom. Kai loved to play pranks on him. He realized that Uruha did not even remove his bag before he ate. He did not change since then, still clumsy and innocent. Who would have thought that this man had killed so many? Who would have thought that this lie would turn out to be this beautiful and kind? Who would have thought that Uruha would love him in such a way? It must have been the life Uruha wanted. It must have been the dream he needed to be human.
“Kai is so terrible! He’s a son of an emperor but he acts like this!”
He closed the faucet and was finding his handkerchief when he noticed the flickering red light standing next to him. He looked at his surroundings finding the man that’ll match the signal’s movement. He searched left and right, wanting to see that person, unraveling the writhing feeling in his dream.
“When I was gone I thought you’ll be hurt, that you’ll be crying back at me when we meet again.”
A man wearing in full black came behind him. He was a bit surprise seeing that person was not like he expected. His deep dark eyes frightened him. The man removed his hat and his short black hair flowed to his shoulders. Uruha’s head ached a little with random pictures on his mind.
“I really like your silver hair.”
“Until we are parted by death…”
“I love you... Aoi...”
“Are you okay?”
Uruha was about to bring out his phone when Aoi grabbed his hand forbbiding him to.
“Are you going to call him?” he raged.
Uruha shook his head fearfully. Aoi calmed down and let him go. He was surprise on his reaction, even more on how his body turned out to be very fragile like he’s going to break with so little force.
“Are you Aoi?”
“What the fuck Uruha?”
He smiled, “I’m sorry. I have speech impairment.”
Kai became impatient and started to look for him.
“Speech impairment? What happened?”
Uruha remembered about the Magdalene’s Cross and showed the LED screen to Aoi. He smiled pointing to the two red lights corresponding to both of them. That was the only time Aoi realized the true form of the necklace.
The other nodded. It was inevitable for him to wonder what kind of person Uruha changed into. He had that kind of gentleness ever since before but this kind of degree was worrying. He looked at him. His form, his expression, his acts, they were too crystal-clear as if not knowing any pain or grief. He knew the sadness incorporated with him won’t be erased. It’s something that won’t fade on his heart even if its shell started to forget.
Aoi wrapped him on his arms.
“I don’t understand but.... no matter how cold of a flame I’m burnt with, as long as I’m with you, I think I’ll be able to move forward.”
Uruha’s head ached more that made him fell.
“What kind of witchcraft you did to him, Kai?”
Aoi noticed him ever since he arrived.
Kai walked towards him pulling Uruha over him.
“You too, burying me to hell, you’ve changed. Are you enjoying this moro-moro?”
“It’s nice,” Kai carried Uruha. “Will you go? I want to see you in my wedding… tomorrow.
“It’s funny how you act like that. Now I’m on the side of evil and you on the nice side? Which one do you think is better for Uruha?”
“I’m stealing what’s mine.”
“Go and try. You don’t have to steal if it’s really yours.”
Their ways separated in silence. Both knew that this wasn’t the right time for the final act. Uruha won’t really be happy even if he won against Kai considering how attached he was to him. He has to bring the old Uruha back, the one he really loved and loved him.
He travelled the night to Tokushima. Time’s running and he would not waste a single second for sleep. His skin was itching to hold him once again. His inner was trembling just to kiss and have him on his side. He has to see him, the man behind this play.
“Manabu,” Aoi came from the shadows of his room. “Or should I call you I0209?”
Manabu was busy simulating the neurological response of his new drug to bring Uruha’s speech back when he came. There was not a bit of shock given as if he was really expecting a visitor that night. Even though Aoi came with a gun aimed on his head, his focus was not easily distracted. He stayed on his study completely ignoring the threat that arrived. Aoi smirked because he knew Manabu would act like that. He didn’t care for anything except to the things that catch his interest.
“You lured us in this mess that’s why I think I have to thank you.”
He didn’t get a reply.
“He knew my name and yet I feel that he didn’t really know me. What happened to him?”
Manabu looked at him with fixated eyes, “He called your name?” He was buried on his deep thought.
“Finally got your attention,” he sat next to him.
“Okay, I’ll tell you. I’ve used a drug to erase his memories and its effect seems to be wearing off. Ah no, Kai should have called me if that’s the situation. He partly... remembered you? First is the speech impairment then this... I didn’t foresee that the Skull series could affect in such a way.”
“What do you mean?”
“It has a binary result, say 1 or 0. He either has his false memory or the truth but to affect him in such a way, it’s kind of dangerous. He would suffer more complications as loosing his other senses if I’m right. It’s turning into a virus.”
“Then make him remember for god sake!”
“It’s impossible. He must remember it by himself.”
Both heard the door opened and the sound of footsteps was echoing towards their way. Aoi hid himself in the wall 270 degrees from the entrance. He prepared his riffle in case he was noticed. A man, wearing casual clothes, walked inside. Manabu stood up showing a mild expression, showing he was completely please to see him. Aoi realized he could be him.
The man turned to him.
Even Manabu was surprised with the sudden development. Aoi did not wait and held him on his arms. He hugged him tightly with tears that he did not shed over a year. He patted his hair, his back, his face. It all seemed to be yesterday. Being married to him, it all seemed to be a continuation. He grabbed his hand and ran with him. They’re connected, they should be able to go wherever they wanted.
The road seemed to be endless, inside his car, all through the night, they were together till they found the place where they should be. Far away, looking at the river and the city, the stars shone. Aoi covered him with his coat as they both leaned on the hood of his car.
Aoi, once again, embrace him with all his might.
“I wanted to see you so much.”
Uruha returned the same warmth he received.
When their bodies departed, Uruha held Aoi’s hand and to his palm, he wrote a word.
“Wait, what,” Aoi laughed as he wiped his tears. “You remembered everything?”
Uruha did not speak again and continued to convey his words as if carving them to Aoi’s skin.
“Mm I see... I wish they’re all good memories...”
Uruha smiled and nodded. He had seen through him and wrapped his scarf to Aoi. Aoi held his hand in return, fingers intertwined. It didn’t really matter if it was only due to the coldness but their faces are tinted with red. The breeze was humming a mellow song of the two of them.
Aoi shook his head and imitate Uruha.
“Happy,” he wrote on his palm.
He surely changed but no matter how he turned cold to everybody, he would always return to his old self if he could stay by Uruha’s side. Both of them were murderers. Both of them became selfish. It would be funny hearing such story. Because of love, Uruha let go of his sword. Because of love, Aoi held his gun. They were traveling the thick borderline of evilness and good in search for happiness. And no matter how it pained them to carry each other’s crosses, through the stations that they’ll meet, there would always be a smile left for them.
“To...kyo,” even in difficulty, he tried to speak.
“You’re going to do it? Will you... marry him?”
Aoi sighed and averted his gaze.
“Of course I don’t want that. I think I’ll be able to win against him now.”
Uruha shook his head.
“You think I couldn’t?”
Uruha started to cry and was shaking when he took his phone and typed his message to Aoi.
“I want Nii-san to remain the way he is right now. I want him to be happy.”
Uruha immediately hid on Aoi’s chest.
“Is this your own decision?”
Aoi sighed deeply.
“Even if it’s like that, I would be here to protect you. Even if... it’s like that, I’ll... stay with you,” Aoi was trying hard to stop his cry. “Even... if...”
Aoi pushed him away and stayed far from him.
“It’s unfair! I... I did so many horrible things for you. I climbed this cliff to be able to stand next you... And... and now... and now that I feel that I’ll be able to win, you... you’re leaving me. It’s... unfair.”
Both of them were looking at each other, no one seemed to be able to make a move.
“I’m sorry,” he repeatedly said. “I’ll give you a ride back.”
When I look at you, I hope, it pains you to leave me, that you'll be crying back at me. All the more, it seems I can't see you again. I can't see me in your eyes. Please don't hesitate to come to my arms if your heart called me. I'll hug you like I did before.
That was the longest trip he had. He knew when morning comes he’ll totally lose all of him. It’s not something easily accepted. He should be strong. It’s just a ceremony. Uruha was first married to him. He has his heart. Even with all of those consolations, why won’t his tears stop from running? The pain should be over. He should not face the same weakness he had a year ago. It’s Uruha’s decision. He told himself that what he was fighting for his freedom. Even if it’s not with him, as long as his happy, it’s enough. It should be like that but sometimes he wishes that it’s him.