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On to Chapter 2.

Author: Amy the Evitable

Author's Note: Many thanks to my prereaders, The RCK and my husband Kevin. Without them, I don't think I'd ever manage to say what I intended to say. I'll warn you one last time: This is dark. Character torture, slash, non-consensual sex, and blaspheming of the Catholic Church will all be forthcoming. Maybe even some naughty language. This is still a draft, and subject to change upon my whim. Feedback of all kinds is welcomed.

Last updated:  17 December 2002

Confessional

Part 1: Fiat Lux

It was the strain on his arms that dragged Kudoh Yohji out of unconsciousness. He was hanging by them; not from above his head, but out at the side, in what would have been a ‘t’ shape if he wasn’t sagging. Pulled tight,  the muscles of his upper arm were beginning to ache, the biceps and triceps and whatever the hell those muscles in his shoulders and under his arms were called. The was a sharper pain in the shoulder joints, where ligaments and tendons held the bone of his arm into the socket joint of the shoulder

He opened his eyes and let the dimness come into bleary focus. He faced a row of wooden crates, maybe three meters in front of him. There were customs stamps and labels reading ‘Fragile,’ but nothing else he could make out from this distance. He looked up, and saw fluorescent light fixtures, emitting quiescent pale beams down from  an impenetrably dark ceiling. The place was echoing and huge, almost certainly a warehouse.

A visual check confirmed that his arms really were bound out to either side of him, leaving him suspended. The very tips of his toes, bare, just brushed against the chilly cement floor. He flexed his feet as much as he could, and tried to transfer some of his weight to them. After only seconds on tiptoe, they began to cramp fiercely. En pointe, he remembered it was called. He’d slept with a ballerina once, years before. God, she’d been able to contort into the most amazing positions. He hadn’t thought a woman’s body could do that, and something about the angle of entry had made the sex unbelievably good.

He also remembered her refusal to remove her socks, even in bed. She’d claimed her feet were too ugly to let him see. He’d asked why. She told him it was from being en pointe so often. Curious, he asked if it hurt. She’d said it did, always. But you got used to it, she’d said. You just had to get up en pointe often, and do it a little bit longer every time.

He let his ankles relax and sagged back into letting his arms support him. Fuck, that hurt. In a little while, he’d try his feet again. For longer. He could get used to it. He could get used to anything. Stealing, smoking, nightmares, failure. Even killing. He could build up a tolerance to anything. Even learn to crave it.

It looked as though he was suspended between two racks of huge shelves that had been cleared of crates. His body was hung in the aisle between them. Rope, thick and coarse and dirty, bound his arms to the splintery boards that supported the shelves. And supported him, too. Couldn’t forget that.

The ropes wound three times around each wrist and were tied off with a knot he ought to be able to name. A second set of bindings were wrapped three times around each forearm just below the elbow. He tested the bonds systematically, flexing and relaxing the muscles, using every trick of escapology Kritiker had taught him. All he accomplished was driving plenty of splinters into his arms and a getting a good start on rubbing his skin raw beneath the ropes. His trenchcoat was missing, and the crop-top he had on was sleeveless. Now that he thought about it, it was pretty damn chilly in here, too.

There was a sharper line of pain in his forearm. Craning his head, he could see the crust of dried blood which was being pulled apart by the strain on his arms. It was bleeding slowly; there was a dark puddle staining the cement beneath it that suggested it had been doing so for some time. He could also see a slice on his right side across his ribs. It wasn’t currently bleeding, or at least it wasn’t bleeding much. Probably ought to have stitches, though. It had been messy, but someone had cleaned up most of that mess already.

Who the fuck had done this to him?

He remembered vivid flashes of the mission: infiltration; taking down the security forces; Bombay’s call for backup, suddenly truncated. He remembered the knife slashing down into his arm, aiming not at it but at the anchor for the wires that had held the madman prisoner. Who’d have though the gaijin could have concealed a knife that big in such a place?

He remembered thinking that without the element of surprise, the wire wasn’t worth shit in close combat with Farfarello. After that observation, he didn’t remember much. Like, for example, what had happened to Bombay.

He craned his head further to see behind him, and his heart jerked in his chest.

“Omi!”

Oh, fuck. Oh damn. No.

But it was Omi. He lay on a dirty mattress, curled on his side, hands folded beneath his cheek like a sleeping angel.

But sleeping angels shouldn’t have a matted clot of blood marring the silky fall of their hair. A matted clot of blood over what looked to be a sizable lump on the back of his head. Sleeping angels shouldn’t have those almost-praying hands linked by handcuffs. Or legs tied together at ankles and knees with yet another length of dirty rope.

“Omi! Omi! Bombay!” He was shouting, wanting more than anything -- even more than he wanted to be able to rest his weight on his feet for just one damn minute -- for Omi to stir, to show any signs of consciousness.

Any signs of life.

He kept calling, shouting, cursing, as tears began to drip down his face. He couldn’t have failed Omi like this. He couldn’t have let him die. Not like Asuka. Not like...

Maybe failure was something he couldn’t get used to. A hollowness, like an actual black hole in his gut,  was sucking the life, the heat, out of him. He’d known it before. Twice before. What it had sucked out of him then, he didn’t think he could get back. A third time just might suck him completely dry, completely empty.

He would have shouted himself hoarse --what else could he do, bound like this? -- but he heard the groaning, rattling cacophony of a garage-style door being opened and closed at the other end of the warehouse. Then footsteps.

And over his shoulder, Kudoh Yohji watched the madman emerge from the darkness. He carried a long white taper in each hand, the flames flickering madly in the air currents of the warehouse. He was dressed in black: polished black leather shoes; glimpses of black socks beneath the black trousers; a short-sleeved button-down black shirt. The shirt collar was the only departure from black; it was a white band around his neck.

The sight brought back ancient memories of going to Mass with her. The heavy smell of incense, the brilliant fall of light from the stained glass windows, the tuneless chanting of the priest at the altar. He’d been too young to recite his part in the ceremony, too young to pay attention to the homilies, but the images of the spectacle had remained within him.

“Farfarello,” he said. Heavy with challenge, his voice was a little bit raw from the shouting. Shit. It wasn’t just him in the hands of the Irish Schwartz member, and Omi looked utterly helpless. Yohji couldn’t afford to set the madman off. He tried for a careful neutrality this time. “Or should it be Father Farfarello?” Play along with him -- that was the thing to do, right?

Beneath the black eyepatch, Farfarello smiled. It was a peaceable, almost beatific smile, lips closed, symmetrical. No smile lines appeared around the one golden eye that was fixed upon him, but the scar on the cheek stretched.

It was the most chilling expression Yohji had ever seen. He closed his eyes, let his head fall forward, and remembered one more thing from those childhood Masses. The man nailed to the cross at the front of the church, an image so lifelike, with eyes so full of pain, that Yohji had screamed and cried the first time he’d been brought close to it.

There was no cross here, and there were no nails -- but he had been bound in the crucifixion pose.

The dimness eased still more, as Farfarello set the candles on the floor, to either side and slightly behind Yohji. The steps moved away; Yohji turned to see Farfarello crouch down next to Omi.

“Get away from him! If you hurt him, damn you, I will make you pay. I’ll find a way to make even you hurt. I swear it, Farfarello.” He almost didn’t recognize the guttural, growling noises that came out of his mouth. That couldn’t be him, everyone’s Kudoh Yohji, couldn’t be the same voice that cooed compliments, crooned encouragement, and whispered sweet farewells to the parade of beautiful lovers. So much for not antagonizing the madman.

But Farfarello didn’t seem angered. The smile slipped not one notch as the man laid fingertips across the smooth angelic throat, as he brought his scarred cheek close to the soft pink lips. ‘Checking for pulse and breathing,’ said a part of Yohji’s brain that seemed utterly disconnected from the tumult that was the rest of his mind. At least that meant Farfarello hadn’t killed Omi already.

Yohji seized onto that thought. He might not have utterly failed Omi yet. Might not have let die the comrade he’d killed Neu -- Asuka -- his only hope for redemption under any name -- in order to save.

Ruthlessly, he pushed any worry for Ken and Aya from his mind. Siberian and Abyssinian had to have gotten clear, were no doubt searching for their missing teammates even now. If he let himself doubt that...

That way lay madness.

There was the crackling hiss of a match flaring. Farfarello moved directly behind Yohji, out of any line of his sight. After a moment, Yohji smelled the heavy perfume. Incense. The madman was lighting incense.

Preparations apparently complete, Farfarello stepped closer, standing right behind Yohji. Close; too close. The madman’s breath stirred the hairs on the back of Yohji’s neck. The madman’s body gave off dry heat like an oven, like a desert.

“What do you want, Farfarello? Tell me what you want. You have to want something, not just to kill  me, or you wouldn’t be doing all this -- all this ritual. Let Omi go, and we can do anything you want.” There was  no answer. Yohji twisted, needing to see the face, see what expression might stir across the scarred cheek and single eye.

There was the rasping hiss of steel emerging from a leather sheath. Yohji kicked behind himself frantically. Bare feet collided with cotton; lacking any leverage, Yohji realized he couldn’t get enough force behind the kicks to do any damage. Switching tactics, he twisted his leg back, hooking his foot around Farfarello’s knee. Trying to brace himself by his bound arms, Yohji jerked the foot forward, hoping to knock Farfarello off balance.

Yohji’s arms screamed in protest, tendons pulled almost to snapping by the force of his motion. Farfarello grunted, the first vocalization he’d made since entering the warehouse, but the leg remained braced. In agony, Yohji’s vision dimmed to black and he heard only a rushing noise in his ears. The world faded for a moment.

Yohji came back to echoing pain, a coating of cold sweat across his body, and a knife slicing through the back of his crop-top shirt.  It moved to the shoulders, making neat cuts though the seams, and the shirt fell to the floor.

The pants, of course, were next.

Then the underwear. Yohji considered kicking, fighting back again, but... Hell, all he’d accomplish would be damaging his shoulders further, and he sure as hell didn’t want any accidents with the knife down there. He held himself still as the knife slit the satin boxers, the point running down his ass ever so lightly, a parody of a caress. Holding still was an act of pure willpower. The thought drifted through his head that the crucified figure in the church had been left at least a loincloth. Half-hysterically, he told himself that they certainly wouldn’t have allowed the sculpture into a church, of all places, without some form of underwear. Pity Father Farfarello here didn’t have such delicate sensibilities. Sliced open, the underwear fell without the slightest pull from the madman.

From behind him, Farfarello spoke. “Fiat lux.”

“What?”

“Let there be light.”

What the hell kind of response should he make to that?, Yohji wondered.

Farfarello stepped past him, ducking beneath Yohji’s outstretched arm. He stood in front of Yohji. Suspended as Yohji was, with his head falling forward, hair falling around his face, Farfarello’s face was right in front of his downturned gaze. The scarred face bore the same blissful smile as it had before.

Yohji found it no less chilling close up.

“I will bless you, Kudoh Yohji, for you have sinned.”
 

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