Claimer: All products of our twisted minds :D
Rating: Hard R
Warnings: TORTURE! Not for the weak of constitution :D;; as well as that, a bit of yaoi, and yuri, and all :D;
Beta: Everyone bow to the awesome S-chan. XD Just kidding. ♥ <-- yomimashou wrote that. XD;;
Donavan and Faustino were seated opposite each other in one of Perceval’s many sitting rooms, and were enjoying late afternoon tea. Donavan had been explaining to Faustino the mechanics of pistol, and showing him how to take one apart, clean it, and put it back together. He heard footsteps approaching down the hall, and Donavan quickly leaned forward and scooped all the pieces into a bag and stuffed it under the sofa, grinning quickly at Faustino before sitting back up and taking a sip of his tea. Perceval had told him not to do anything that would stain the furniture, and Donavan knew his cousin would automatically accuse him of breaking that agreement if he saw a dismantled gun on his gold leafed Persian coffee table.
However, it was not Perceval who entered the room, but a servant, who bowed very low to each of them before straightening up to deliver his message. “Master Rousseau will be arriving shortly. He wished to change after work before entertaining." Donavan nodded and dismissed the man before turning back to Faustino with a smirk; an idea had just popped into his head.
“Faustino,” Donavan spoke with a stage whisper, “Let’s both try to finish our tea before he gets here. Then, we’ll stand to leave, and that’s when you should try and pickpocket him. Do you think you can do it?”
Faustino nodded quickly. "I'll try my best, if you can distract him for me," he whispered back, then sat back to again sip at his tea. It was very nice tea, much better quality than he was used to, but he dutifully drank it quickly, and was just setting his cup back down when the door opened again, this time to reveal Perceval, who didn't look particularly pleased. Faustino took a deep breath and thought through his plan of action. He knew Perceval kept his purse in his right jacket pocket, and when Perceval shifted his weight to the left the way he did when he was annoyed at Donavan, his jacket would fall slightly away from his body on the right side. He trusted Donavan would do what he needed for him, and smiled confidently. He could do it, he would do it. To please Donavan, he would be perfect.
Donavan stood up quickly and made his way over to Perceval, bowing politely before stopping just in front of him. “Well cousin,” Donavan said sadly, “I’m afraid we’ve both just finished our tea.” He reached forward and patted Perceval’s arm kindly, and Perceval jerked away abruptly. Donavan put on a pouty face and withdrew his hand. “I’m so sorry you weren’t able to join us today. Perhaps tomorrow?” Perceval glared at him and shifted his weight, folding his arms.
“Donavan,” he said sharply, “You’ve been staying here for almost two months now, and you’ve been nothing but rude.” Perceval puffed up slightly with indignation as he continued, “You’re only my guest for as long as I can tolerate you. Do not over stay your welcome,” he said harshly. Donavan looked hurt and turned solemnly to Faustino.
“I don’t think my cousin is in a very good mood today. Shall we go out?” Perceval shook with anger; he despised being ignored, and Donavan knew it. Donavan turned back to Perceval with a regretful smile and wrung his hands. “I think it’s best if we leave. I understand you’ve had a rough day, and we don’t want to be any inconvenience, right Faustino?” Donavan asked, calling the boy to his side. “I hope you enjoy your evening, cousin.” Donavan said kindly as he lifted Perceval’s right hand and kissed it, lingering over the hand for a few seconds extra to lend Faustino all the time he could get.
Faustino knew his chance when Perceval crossed his arms, and moved into position, waiting until Perceval's attention was completely towards Donavan before striking. It took him less than a second to get in and out of Perceval's pocket, and, with the coin purse in hand, he quickly tucked it into the waistband of his knickers, in the back beneath his coat, so, should his pockets be searched, nothing would be found. He then smiled up at Donavan, to let him know that he was done.
Donavan released Perceval's hand and bowed extravagantly. When Perceval returned the gesture with a curt nod, Donavan took Faustino's hand in his and lead him from the room. They walked slowly down the hall, feigning innocence, and they were almost to the main entrance when they heard the sitting room door swing open with such force that it hit the wall.
"Donavan!" Perceval shrieked as he started walking very quickly towards them. Donavan turned and flashed him a grin as he gave Faustino's hand a light squeeze and picked up his pace, breaking in to an all out run for the door. They burst through into the open air and didn't stop until they were off the expansive property and back into the city.
When they'd both at last caught their breath, Donavan ruffled Faustino's hair fondly and asked with a sly smirk, "So, how much did you get?"
Faustino pulled out the purse and unclasped it, peering inside. When he saw the contents, his eyes widened; the purse was practically filled to the top with gold coins. "A lot," he said with a grin, looking up at Donavan. Surely he would be pleased, and Faustino was pleased with himself for succeeding so well. Smiling proudly, he extended the coin purse out to Donavan.
Donavan pressed the purse back into Faustino’s hands. “No, you keep it.” He smiled. “Whatever you work to get is yours to do whatever you like with.” Donavan nodded. “I was thinking though, that we could go somewhere to celebrate your first big-time successful lift.” Donavan skipped ahead of Faustino and walked backwards to face him, grinning. “Do you like candy? I know a really great confectionary store.”
Faustino's face lit up at the mention of candy. "Do you mean it?" Though Faustino worked hard not to want expensive frivolities that his mother couldn't afford, he couldn't help but like candy. He didn't get it very often, and he didn't mind, but the thought of having as much as he liked simply made him ecstatic. "I'd love that!" He smiled brightly at Donavan, barely able to believe that it was true. Donavan was just so kind to him, it made him only want to be even more perfect.
“You’ve been doing so well with everything, you definitely deserve a treat.” Donavan smiled and slowed to walk next to Faustino again. The candy shop wasn’t far, and they arrived after only a few minutes of walking. It was an expansive shop that was noted for catering to extravagant parties, and Donavan had learned of its existence through his cousin’s parties. The confections it contained were high-quality delicacies, but it also carried a multitude of simple treats, and Donavan was looking forward to seeing what Faustino picked out. “You can get whatever you like; it’s your money to spend how you see fit.” Donavan grinned.
Faustino was overwhelmed with the sight of so many treats, and took a moment just to look around. "Anything?" he asked excitedly, smiling delightedly at Donavan. "Thank you so much!" He took his time to look around, carefully examining all the different types of candies and cakes that the store carried, but finally decided on a small bag of simple chocolate candies. The purchase didn't even make a dent in the money, however, and an idea stuck him. Trotting back over to where Donavan stood, he smiled up at him. "What kind of candy do you like? I want to get something for you, too. It's no fun to eat candy alone."
Donavan smiled with pleasant surprise. He hadn’t expected Faustino to be so minimal or generous. He didn’t really care for candy in general, but with the look Faustino was giving him, he could bare to turn him down. “I like the fruit-flavored stuff.” Donavan said with a grin. “The sourer, the better.” He added as he took a step towards the section of the store that contained most of the fruit confections. “Surprise me with something, and we’ll share it.”
Faustino grinned back for a second before returning to search the shelves. After looking through all the choices, he found an expensive sour candy that was carefully shaped to emulate miniature versions of real fruit. Though it was almost twice as expensive as what Faustino had chosen for himself, there was much more than enough money to pay for it, and he wanted to get the best thing for Donavan, and he knew this was it. After buying it, he returned to Donavan happily with the purchase. "Here you go!" he announced with a smile, holding the bag up to Donavan. "I really hope you like it!"
“Thank you.” Donavan accepted the bag with a quick smile and peered inside eagerly. “Oh how nice! These look really good!” He grinned and shut the bag as he looked back at Faustino. “I can’t wait to try them out.” Donavan felt a little silly to be showing so much enthusiasm for something so petty, but Faustino’s excitement was contagious, and he was genuinely looking forward to sitting with him and enjoying the simple pleasures of candy. “There’s a park not too far from here, do you want to go there to eat them?”
"Oh, yes, please," Faustino agreed excitedly. He was happy to have made Donavan so happy, and he couldn't keep a small smiled off his face as Donavan led him to a nearby park. The park was very nice and green, and there were lots of trees and bushes around it. The weather was warmer than it had been recently, which added to the nice atmosphere of the park as Donavan and Faustino found a bench and sat down. Faustino smiled at Donavan before opening his own bag and taking out one of the wrapped candies. After unwrapping it slowly, he took a bite. "These are very good," he remarked, looking to Donavan. "Would you like to try one?"
"Yeah, thank you." Donavan took the candy and popped it into his mouth, allowing it to melt slowly on his tongue. "That is really good," he commented with grin. "Mine are excellent too, good choice." Donavan said as he finished Faustino's candy and picked out another of his. "I don't think I'll be able to eat them all though, so help yourself to as many as you like." He extended the bag to Faustino and held it open so that he could pick. "The green apples are the best," Donavan added with a nod.
Faustino peered into the bag and picked out one of the green candies, smiling at Donavan with a, "Thank you!" He took a small bite out of the candy, chewing it before looking back at Donavan. "These are good, and I'm really glad you liked what I chose for you." He grinned before finishing the piece and going back to his own candy. Though it was a simple thing to be doing, just sitting here like this and sharing candy with Donavan made him especially happy.
Donavan got about halfway through his candy before he decided to stop and save the rest for another peaceful afternoon with Faustino. He tied the little bag into a knot and, seeing that Faustino was done with his candy as well, got to his feet. “I was thinking that I should buy you some new clothes. Would you be up for getting your measurements done today?”
Faustino looked up at Donavan disbelievingly. "New clothes?" he asked excitedly. He hardly ever got new clothes, so long as his old things could be mended, and when he did he usually got whatever his mother could make for him from her job as a seamstress so that it was less expensive. The prospect of getting new clothes was especially exciting, and he could barely believe it. "Y-you mean it?" He suddenly realized, however, that it wouldn't be right of him to let Donavan spend that kind of money on him, so he quickly added, "I mean, you really don't need to, I wouldn't want you to have to spend so much on me, especially since you're already being so kind as to look after me..."
“No, don’t worry about it.” Donavan smiled. “Don’t worry about the money; it’s better spent on you than left sitting in vaults.” He took Faustino’s hand and started walking in the direction of the shop. “Besides, it looks like you could use some new things anyway. The place I like to use is a little ways away, but I think we can walk,” Donavan added with a grin. Since his head injury, he hadn’t been doing much, and he was using this outing in part to stretch his slightly atrophied muscles. He had some business to attend to tomorrow, and he had to be prepared.
They arrived at the small corner shop and stepped into the darkly lit room. The shop was owned by one of Donavan’s favorite tailors, and his little place in town acted more like an emporium and workshop. Much of his cloth and lace was finery imported from various parts of the world, and all of his clothes were elaborate masterpieces. Donavan was a great admirer of fine clothing, and intended to spend as much as he could on something extravagant for Faustino.
Donavan rang the little bell that sat on the front desk, and a man wasted no time in scurrying over to them. Donavan exchanged a few friendly words before instructing him with what he wanted. Faustino was made to stand on a small stool while the man got out a measuring tape. He was so accustomed to his work that it took only minutes for him to take the measurements before he had Faustino hop back to the floor while Donavan ordered the specifics, taking a few glances at Faustino and grinning, as if already imagining the new clothes on him.
Faustino was somewhat overwhelmed by the whole experience, but was excited nonetheless. Looking at the pieces of fabric that were set out around the small shop, and the few example jackets that were displayed on tailoring forms, he was amazed at how pretty everything was. Everything was decorated with lace and brocade, and Faustino simply couldn't imagine having clothing of such high quality.
He was nearly bubbling with excitement as Donavan finished with the tailor, and, as they left the shop together, Faustino smiled up at him brightly. "Thank you so much!"
"You're welcome." Donavan smiled back down at him. As they started walking again, with no particular destination, Donavan turned back to Faustino and grinned. "You know, I don't think Perceval will let us stay with him for a while." Donavan laughed and ruffled Faustino's hair fondly to make sure the boy knew he was proud, before continuing. "I was thinking we could both go to stay at your mother's house while she's away. What do you think?" He had no desire to pull Faustino into his work just yet, and he didn't want to return to his father's house, but he figured Faustino would have no qualms about staying in his mother's manor, and Donavan was confident that arrangements could be made should she return early.
Faustino grinned as Donavan ruffled his hair, glad that he had done so well. "I'm sure that would be fine. We have plenty of room, so you're welcome to stay," he replied with a smile. It was going to be fun to have Donavan staying with him, and he felt excitement bubble within him again. "Even when she gets back, I'm sure she wouldn't mind you staying. You're so nice, I'm sure she'd like you." He smiled up at Donavan with unwavering affection.
“You think so?” Donavan asked modestly. Faustino’s growing attachment was obvious, and Donavan took a moment to feel pleased with himself. Everything was going perfectly, and Faustino was even better than Donavan could have even dreamed. “I’d like to meet your mother someday,” He added after a few minutes with a thoughtful nod. “Perhaps when she returns from Hispania.” Donavan smiled before his tone became a little more serious. “Is there anyone there who can look after you for a little while? I have to do some work tomorrow.”
Faustino thought for a moment. "Well, I guess our maid could, she looks after me when my mother goes to work. What do you have to do tomorrow?" He was a little sad that he wouldn't be getting to spend time with Donavan, but he knew whatever he was doing must be important work, and he knew he shouldn't get in the way. He tried to put on a smile and not seem sad as he looked up at Donavan curiously.
Donavan smiled brightly, almost pleased that Faustino had asked, and unconsciously ran a hand over his now generally healed bullet wound. “Oh, just some personal business… I have to return a favor.”
The sun was just climbing over the height of the assorted hovels in Viorica’s neighborhood as she started on her way to work. She’d left early again, before anyone else was up, to see Corrine before work, and she was in high spirits.
Viorica was just getting out onto the main street when she thought she heard something behind her. She spun around quickly, assuming the defensive position Dragomir had taught her, and glanced around. It appeared that nothing was following her, so she shrugged and turned back. It must have just been a stray, or something, she reasoned. Just as she was about to start off again however, she heard something, and before she could react, something hard connected with the base of her neck and she lost consciousness.
Corinne paced back and forth outside the medical building. She had been waiting for Viorica for almost an hour now with no sign of the other woman. It was unlike her to be late at all, but to miss entirely seemed so out of normal that she couldn't help but worry. It was almost time for her to be going to work, but she couldn’t help but wait a few more minutes, hoping for Viorica to show up, for some explanation for her absence. None appeared, however, and so Corinne forced herself to leave for work, hoping that Viorica had just fallen ill that day, or that she had overslept.
Arriving at her desk a few minutes later than usual, Corinne got out her paperwork and tried to work, but she couldn't. She felt agitated. What had become of Viorica? Why hadn't she been there? She knew it was probably no big deal, but she couldn't help but worry something horrible had happened to her. She decided to ask Hirlea when she got the chance, but before she could do anything, there was a knock on the door.
After knocking, Perceval pushed open the door and stepped inside regally. He waited as everyone got to their feet and bowed before glancing around the room slowly. Perceval then took a few steps forward and turned to face Lt. Colonel Delancy. “There has been some new Berceuse Malheureuse activity of late, and naturally, our unit needs to be on high alert.” He handed her a small stack of papers, and smiled congenially. “I’d like you all to work on organizing this paperwork. It contains some witness information that may be pertinent to our cause.” With a final polite smile, Perceval turned form the Lt. Colonel and strolled casually through the room. As he walked, he clicked his tongue critically before stopping in front of Niles’s desk. “Warrant Officer,” he said sweetly, “It looks like some of your officers are running low on ink. Why don’t you go get some?” Perceval phrased it like a request, but his tone made it evident that it was a command.
Niles bowed hurriedly and scurried out of the room with a "Yes sir!" As stupid as it sounded, he was horrid at fetching ink; he always tripped and spilled it all over the place and it took him two or three trips to manage to get it back to the office. He was worried that the General would still be there to be critical of him when he returned, and so he spent all his attention on trying to be careful. He didn't even notice the footsteps behind him until it was far too late.
It happened very fast, Niles felt arms wrap around him, pulling him back off his feet. He flailed and tried to cry out, but before he could make any noise, something heavy was impacting with the back of his head, and everything was going black.
Dragomir thumbed through the few papers he’d received and pretended to be reading over them. Where was Niles? It had been ten minutes since Niles had gone out, and General Rousseau had already left. Dragomir needed help going through the papers, and he was beginning to be mildly concerned. It usually took Niles a while to fetch ink, but it had never taken this long before. Sighing, Dragomir got to his feet and sauntered over to the Lt. Colonel’s desk. “I think I’ll go check on Ni-Warrant Officer Christian, sir. I think he must have spilled the ink or something.” Dragomir laughed shaking his head slightly. “And since I’m out myself,” he lied, “I can’t do any work until he gets back.” At the Lt. Colonel’s bemused look, Dragomir added quickly, “I’ll be right back, I swear. I just want to check on him.”
At the Lt. Colonels seemingly reluctant assent, Dragomir headed off through the halls, keeping an eye out for Niles. He had just pushed open the front door and taken a few steps outside, when he felt the barrel of a gun against the back of his head.
“Don’t move.” A gruff voice hissed from behind him. Dragomir slowly put his hands in the air, cursing silently when he realized he’d left both his pistol and rapier back at his desk. “I have a message for you from Donavan.” Dragomir tensed at the name, going completely ridged. The man behind him laughed sharply and pressed the gun a little closer. “We have some things of yours…valuable things.” The man said enigmatically. Dragomir growled under his breath, shifting his weight as he tried to think of a way out of the situation. He still had a dagger on his hip, but he wasn’t sure if he could get at it before the man fired.
“The Berceuse Malheureuse, and Donavan personally, has taken two persons, whom I’m sure you hold most dear, into custody. One Niles Christian and your sister.” Dragomir’s breath caught in his throat and he thought he might choke. His heart felt as though it had simply ceased to beat, and as he felt a wave of agony overwhelm his senses. But there was rage too, and his limbs tingled as his resolve hardened. He would kill this man.
“Now, as terrible as that may sound, Mr. D’Aubigne is a very benevolent man. He would like to extend you the simple kindness of offering you the choice: Christian or your sister. He’s confident you know the location where the exchange is to take place, and assures you you’ll remember it quite well as the last place you served under his order.” Dragomir’s jaw clenched; the brothel. He remembered it clearly, and took the hint he was sure Donavan had intended. He meant to torture them.
“You are to come alone and unarmed at exactly five o’clock this evening once you’ve made your choice. If you come early, or if you tell anyone what has happened, the deal is off and he’ll kill both of them. The Berceuse Malheureuse has eyes everywhere, so don’t slip up.” The man paused for dramatic impact and laughed coldly as he took a step closer. “But Donavan begs you to remember to chose carefully, and assures you that whoever you don’t pick will be dead by morning…after Donavan’s had his fun, of course.” The man laughed again, and Dragomir felt the pressure of the gun on his head lessen, and he knew it was now or never.
Dragomir could stand to listen to no more. Spinning around, he caught the man by the arm and twisted it roughly behind his back. Startled, the pistol slipped from his hand, and he cried out in pain as Dragomir heard a bone in his arm snap. In a single swift motion, Dragomir got the dagger from his belt and stuck the man in the back, jerking the blade up violently and stepping back as the man fell to the ground. Dragomir stepped over the body and broke into a run, tearing the door open and racing through the halls. He burst into the office without knocking and went directly to his desk, pausing only to arm himself with all the various weapons he kept stashed there. He had no idea what he was going to do, but he knew he had to do something.
Corinne stared confusedly, stunned for a second, as Hirlea ran in and out of the room. Regaining her senses, she quickly stood and ran after him, barking quickly for another to watch the office while she was gone. Hirlea was already halfway down the hall when she made it out, but Corinne was a fast runner, and she could tell that Hirlea was emotional by his movement. She managed to catch halfway up before calling to him.
"Hirlea! What the hell is going on?" she yelled, confused and worried. If Christian was not back, and Viorica was still missing, Corinne was not naive enough to think that nothing could be wrong.
Dragomir ran down the hall again on his way out, but he couldn’t seem to go in a straight line. He was thoroughly distraught and felt completely overpowered by his emotions, which seemed to be running haywire. He was overwhelmed by rage and anger, but at the same time felt as if he might cry. He didn’t know what to do; he didn’t know what he could do, if anything, to save both of them. And besides that, he didn’t know how it could be possible for Donavan to be alive. Dragomir was there when he died; he had seen Niles shoot Donavan in the head. It was impossible for him to be alive, and yet this was exactly the sort of thing Donavan would do…and if he were alive, Dragomir knew he’d want to do everything he could to make Niles suffer. Dragomir had to do something—he just had to save both of them. But he couldn’t think straight, he couldn’t even run straight, and didn’t know what he could do for both of them… Or how he could choose.
As he continued down the hall, he heard the Lt. Colonel call after him. With out stopping or even turning, he barked viciously, “Stay out of it! This doesn’t concern you!”
Corinne was now thoroughly pissed. She had spent a long time working up the position so she would not be spoken to that way, and there was no way Hirlea was going to get off with it, no matter what was going on. "I don't care what just fucking happened to you, you do not speak to me that way!" she hollered back, speeding up and catching up to him. Grabbing his shoulder with an iron grip, she faced him. "Now, you can either tell me what the hell has happened to Christian and Viorica, or you can keep fucking going the way you're going and I'll have you discharged and court marshaled." Hirlea looked like a spooked horse, so she smacked him across the face and grabbed his shoulders. "Get a goddamn hold of yourself, Hirlea! What the fuck happened?" As her anger cooled, she was once again filled with worry over what had become of Viorica.
Dragomir opened and closed his mouth a few times, completely taken aback. He stared back at his commanding officer looking horrified, and completely unsure of what to do. He knew he couldn’t say anything; he couldn’t afford to put Niles and Viorica in danger. He had no idea where the Berceuse Malheureuse had its spies, and wouldn’t dare gamble. He would have to take whatever she would do to him in order to protect them. “I…I can’t…” Dragomir babbled weakly as he tried to think of something. He looked the Lt. Colonel in the eyes pleadingly, and he saw that she appeared to be concerned. Dragomir couldn’t even fathom why she would care and be anything but thoroughly pissed at him, but the thought left his mind as his frame was gripped by a sob. He felt his knees buckle and sunk to the floor shaking slightly. “Donavan…” he choked, “Has both of them…”
Corinne felt her stomach drop and set her jaw. Donavan D'Aubigne really was back, and it was worse than even imaginable; he had taken Viorica. "He's taken Viorica..." she managed, then dropped to her knees to be at eye level with Dragomir. At this point, she didn't care about anything besides saving Viorica, and so she said hurriedly, "What did they do? How can we get her back?" When he just continued to cry, she grew irritated with his uselessness and slapped him again. "Pull yourself the fuck together, for god's sake! Tell me how we can save Viorica!"
Dragomir’s cheek was stinging now, but he managed to bite back his tears and wiped his face on his sleeve. He was breathing a little hard, but he knew that she was right; he had to get it together so that he could do something. “I don’t know…” he gasped. “He said…” it was almost too terrible to repeat, “That I have to choose.” The tears started again, streaming silently down his face. “But I don’t know, I can’t do it, I…” Dragomir was babbling again, but something suddenly registered in his head. “Viorica…How did you know? When did you see her? What’s going on?!” His voice rose a little in anger, but he knew he had to keep it in check. He wiped his eyes again and stared intently at Corinne.
Whoops. Corinne only realized that she had slipped up after Hirlea did, but it didn't really matter to her now, what mattered was that she could save Viorica. "Viorica is my doctor," she explained hastily. Still, she knew that that wouldn't be enough of an explanation for Hirlea and she didn't want him suspicious of her. She sighed, deciding that she would have to tell the truth. "I'm in love with Viorica, and she loves me. We've been together since I was discharged from the hospital. You can scorn me for it later, if you really want, but let me help you save her first." Corinne gave Hirlea a determined look and tried to gauge his reaction. The situation was worse than she imagined, and she hoped Hirlea could pull it together, or there was no hope.
“…what?” Dragomir asked furrowing his brow. He’d understood the words, but didn’t quite know what to make of their meaning. “You-you two are…?” He ran a hand nervously through his hair, not knowing what else to do or say. But the Lt. Colonel did have a point. He shouldn’t be trying to think about that right now. He needed to try to come up with a plan of action. Inhaling deeply, Dragomir looked at Corrine quickly and stood up before offering her a hand. “Alright. I’m sorry sir. You’re right…I have to figure something out…” He trailed, feeling another wave of sadness hit him. Dragomir trembled slightly, but kept a hold of himself. “I…I don’t even know how to begin…” He murmured, looking down. Then, remembering a detail he’d forgotten in his distress, he looked up frantically at his commanding officer. “But you must not let them know you know!” He said urgently. “You can’t know! I can’t tell anyone!”
Corinne nodded solemnly. "I understand." She was silent for a moment, trying to think of their best plan of action. As long as no one knew she knew, she could help Hirlea rescue Viorica. "Listen," she said slowly under her breath. "If they don't know I know, I can help you. Right now, we need to figure out how we're going to do this, somewhere where no one will overhear, and do it without leaving the building, so nothing seems askew. Then, when the time comes, I'll help you break them out, all right?" Hirlea gave a sort-of wishy-washy response, which she took for a yes and grabbed his wrist, pulling him to his feet.
With Captain Hirlea in tow, Corinne high-tailed it back to the office, where she quickly explained to her substitute that Hirlea needed her help to find something in the record room, and that they may not be back for some time, so to behave themselves. She then hurried to the record room, shutting and locking the door behind her. "Good. Now we can plan our attack without anyone hearing. Now, the first thing you need to do is tell me everything they told you." Corinne made a good show of acting confident, even when she was completely frightened. Still, she knew, for Viorica, she had to be strong, especially since Hirlea was not the shining example of courage. "Start from the beginning, please." She leaned against one of the various shelves in the room and listened intently.
Niles came into consciousness someplace cold and dark; when he opened his eyes, he was only greeted by blackness. He felt sore and uncomfortable, and couldn't remember what was going on. Why was he here, in this dark room? What had happened? He tried to move, but was tugged back by his arms, which seemed to be attached to something strung from the ceiling. The clinking of metal gave him the sinking feeling it was chain, which also bound his wrists together. He squirmed, but quickly realized that his ankles were also bound. He was completely trapped, and was beginning to feel very frightened. Where was Dragomir? What was going on? What had happened?
A few excruciating minutes passed, and the memory of getting hit on the head was just coming back to Niles when he heard footsteps. He stiffened and sat up as straight as possible, squinting into the darkness, his heart pounding. He desperately hoped it would be help, but got the sinking feeling that it wasn't.
Donavan held his hand over the flame of the candle so that the slight draft wafting through the old and decaying building wouldn’t extinguish it. He heard the chains clinking together softly, and smiled cruelly; Christian was awake at last. Donavan made his way over to the wall where he knew an old oil lamp was hung. He knew his way around the room quite by heart, even in the dark; it was one of his favorite rooms—the attic of an old hideout of his he hadn’t been able to use in years—and it was perfect for this situation. He lit the lamp and turned slowly to face the middle of the steadily lightening room. There, his captive sat, slumped and crumpled, chained in place just where Donavan wanted him. They were going to have fun together for a while, and Donavan was looking forward to playing with him. Donavan knew that Niles Christian couldn’t see him, and walked slowly around behind him to where there was a second lamp, which he lit as well before extinguishing the candle. He planned to leave the third one, across from the door where he entered and hanging on the wall Christian was facing, out and made his way over to it. There, a chain hung, still concealed in darkness. Donavan set his candlestick down gently and grasped the chain, giving it a yank. It was attached to a pulley in the ceiling, and so by pulling the chain, Christian was jerked abruptly to his feet. Christian’s toes could just barely reached the floor, and Donavan laughed harshly as he stepped into the light. “It’s nice to see you again, Christian. May I call you Niles?”
Niles let out a small cry as he was yanked to his feet, and tried desperately to get his balance. It was near impossible with his ankles bound, and he struggled, trying to take some of the pressure off his arms, which ached horrible from holding his weight. He had managed to barely balance on his toes when he looked up to see his captor come into the light; it was Donavan D'Aubigne.
Niles gasped. "Y-You're dead!" Donavan D'Aubigne couldn't be alive! Niles had killed him himself! How was it possible that he was still alive? He couldn't be, he simply couldn't be! But here he was, and Niles didn't know what to do. He didn't like the sound of Donavan's tone, and he didn't see any way out of the situation. Trying to be brave, he asked, "W-what do you want with me?" He pulled against the chains again for good measure, but they held tight, and there was no way he could get out.
"I wanted to see you again, Niles." Donavan whined mockingly. "You see, last time, you left quite and impression." He tapped his head lightly and smiled in an eerie, sadistic manner as he took a step closer, extending his hand arm forward and running his hand along Niles's cheek. He held Niles's face firmly in his hand, so that he couldn't look away, and his smile twisted into a smirk. "You surprise me, you know. You don't seem at all like Dragomir's type..." He let his nails dig into Niles's skin, cutting him deeply. "But I suppose you both have a certain idiocy about you, and I have a tendency to appreciate that quality..." He dragged his nails over Niles's face, shifting so that he could run his thumb over Niles's lips, pressing inside his mouth slightly. "Though you should know that it was very stupid to shoot me...to get involved. Now I can make you both suffer." Releasing Niles's face, Donavan drew back his other hand and slammed it forward into Niles's gut, effectively knocking the wind out of him. He laughed as Niles struggled to recover, his feet slipping ineffectually on the floor he could just barely reach. "Let there be no false pretenses between us, however." Donavan strode another few paces forward, pressing against Niles and lifting his head roughly by the hair. He lowered his head to Niles's ear and whispered, "I assure you that you'll receive the brunt of the punishment..." Donavan backed away and started walking towards a table in the corner of the room. "Who knows," He continued casually. "Maybe Dragomir won't come for you at all. You'll see how little loyalty means to him soon enough, I'm sure."
Niles glared back at Donavan, trying his hardest to remain calm. "Of course Dragomir will come for me!" he replied indignantly. "He loves me. He'll be here, you'll see." He spoke more confidently than he felt; he didn't doubt that Dragomir would try to come find him, but what if he didn't know where Donavan had taken him, or if he had to fight a whole bunch of people before he made it and got badly injured...or worse? Still, he wasn't going to let Donavan know of his insecurity. Donavan had him completely under his control, but Niles could still stay strong; he wasn't going to give Donavan what he wanted that easily. Taking a deep breath, he gave Donavan his best indignant look and prayed that whatever was to come wouldn't be as bad as he feared it would.
“Yes, I suppose I will.” Donavan said with a shrug as he sorted through the various tools of one of his favorite pastimes. Settling on a box of matches, he returned to Niles’s side and said off-handedly as he fumbled with the matchbox, “Even if he does come, I doubt it will be for you.” He looked up at Niles and smiled softly. “Poor thing. You think he loves you, Niles?” Donavan lit a match and stared at its flame. “You see, I don’t think Dragomir loves anyone.” Donavan slid his hand across Niles’s chest, stopping just at his throat and pausing before he started unbuttoning Niles’s jacket. “He’s very selfish, you know. He only does things for himself. I think he loves money, I think he cares for his family…” With the jacket halfway undone, Donavan returned to Niles’s throat and began unbuttoning his blouse. “But you shouldn’t delude yourself, Niles.” Donavan murmured as he finished with the blouse as well. Taking another step forward, Donavan ran his hand lightly across the exposed skin, just barely allowing his fingers to graze its surface. “You’re only going to get yourself…hurt.” With a malevolent smirk, Donavan shook the match out quickly before pressing it to Niles’s collarbone and dragging the charred remains slowly down his chest.
Niles bit back a cry of pain as he felt the hot matchstick burn his skin, but managed to look defiantly at Donavan despite the tears forming in the corners of his eyes. "You're wrong," he said decisively, though his voice wavered with pain. "Dragomir loves me. He's going to come for me." It was hard to tell for whose sake he was speaking, but he knew he had to believe it, or else he would lose all hope. He squirmed away to the best of his ability from Donavan's touch, glaring the best he could to cover up his feeling of helplessness. "How would you know who Dragomir loves, anyway? He would never care about someone like you." He said the last bit with such distaste that he was surprised at himself, and immediately wished he hadn't said anything.
Scowling, Donavan threw the match to the floor and ground it into a black smudge with his boot. “You’d be surprised.” Donavan growled. Narrowing his eyes, Donavan leered at Niles and moved slowly to stand behind him. He slipped his arms around Niles’s sides and unbuckled his belt carefully, letting it to fall to the floor before he finished unbuttoning both of Niles’s garments with practiced patience. Once again, he ran his hands down the length of Niles’s bare torso, still keeping his fingers a breadth of a hair away from Niles’s skin. “So, Niles…” Donavan drawled, grabbing Niles roughly by the hair and jerking his head back so that he could see his face, “Have you two fucked yet?”
Niles squirmed away from Donavan's touch and let out a yelp when his head was yanked back. "Y-yes," he replied carefully, unable to avoid eye contact with Donavan because of the way he head was being held. He didn't like the look in Donavan's eyes; he couldn't read it, and it frightened him. There was something malicious, something predatory in his eyes, and it made the pit of Niles's stomach drop. Still, he knew he had to stay strong, he had to at least pretend not to be frightened or else it would be all over. "What's it to you?"
“Not much…” Donavan smirked. “I assume he tops?” He raised his brows feigning polite interest. “That’s a shame, really. He was always so good at being the bottom…” Donavan shivered and sighed wistfully as he lit another match, releasing Niles’s hair so he could walk around to face him. “Dose that surprise you, Niles? I know so much about Dragomir…and you know so little. What makes you presume to know him so well?” Donavan stepped forward so that he could feel Niles’s breath against his face before pressing the still burning match to Niles’s chest, grinding it in until it extinguished. Licking his lips, he held the burning cinder in place as he reveled in the sounds of Niles’s suffering.
Niles didn't have much time to process what Donavan was saying before he was in searing pain; he couldn't hold back the cry that escaped him as he felt the match burn his skin. He bit his lip hard, trying not to think about it, trying not to feel the pain, but tears burned the corners of his eyes, and he couldn't fight it any longer. He cried out, he let the tears fall, he writhed desperately to get away from the pain.
But even if he couldn't fight physically, he still had to keep control of himself mentally. He couldn't let Donavan break him. Yet, he couldn't wrap his mind around what Donavan could possibly be playing at. He knew it must be all mind games, it must be...but Donavan was saying things that Niles couldn't even imagine. Did he really not know that much about Dragomir; did Donavan really know him better? No, it couldn't be true! "O-of course I know him w-well," Niles managed, trying desperately not to think about the pain. "B-but...what do you mean...'it's a shame'...?" The words were out of his mouth before he thought about it; he was desperate for an explanation, desperate to be assured that what Donavan was implying wasn't true.
“It’s a shame because you don’t seem the type to be capable of appreciating his various uses.” Donavan said mildly as he flicked the match to the floor. With a quick almost condescending smile to Niles, Donavan walked around behind him again, unsheathing his dagger as he went. He then fingered the blade dispassionately as looked briefly over Niles’s back. Coming to a decision, Donavan placed the tip of the dagger at the base of Niles’s neck, applying just enough pressure to draw a droplet of blood to the surface. Smirking with satisfaction, Donavan dragged the edge down, slicing through the fabric of both the jacket and the blouse, as well as just barely cutting down to the skin. “He’s good for a fuck, though something tells me he wouldn’t be nearly as good running the show himself.” Donavan smirked. “Tell me Niles, what did you think of his performance? I’d hate for his quality to reflect poorly on me… Though I can assure you that once you get him going, he can be quite an animal.” With a sharp laugh, Donavan tore the remainder of Niles’s shirt and jacket from his back and traced his finger over the small line of blood that had formed. “Mmm, that’s better…” Donavan cooed with a smirk.
Niles clenched his jaw as he felt the blade cut into his back, suppressing to the best of his abilities the small noise of pain that he was about to make. As the cold air hit his bare skin, he shivered, but he was made completely unaware by what Donavan was saying. He couldn't possibly know...unless...Dragomir had slept with Donavan? No, that couldn't be true, it was too terrible a possibility to even consider, but he didn't know how Donavan could be saying these things any other way. He didn't want to believe it, he wanted to believe that Donavan was lying to him, but something about the way Donavan spoke, the wicked confidence in his voice, made Niles's heart sink. Donavan did know more about Dragomir than he did, Donavan was right. He didn't even want to think about what that meant for his possibilities of being rescued. "H-how...? W-why...?" he stammered, not even able to form full sentences. His mind felt blank, he just couldn't bring up the will to fight back anymore.
Donavan brought his hand slowly to his mouth and licked the blood with a satisfied smirk. Niles was beginning to buckle, at last. "Dragomir worked for me for five years, you know, and he did everything I asked of him." Donavan walked past Niles slowly over to the table in the corner and ran his hand reverently over the length of the black leather horse crop. "I'd fuck him whenever it struck my fancy; I could always count on him to be up for a little fun himself." He brought his arm down in one swift motion and the whip cracked resoundingly against the edge of the table. "That was until, on a whim, he decided to leave." Donavan’s voice dropped to a dangerously low octave and he narrowed his eyes with a dark, malicious cruelty. He turned back to Niles slowly and took his face in his hand, jerking Niles up roughly to look him in the eye. "Did you ever wonder how Dragomir's back became so disfigured? And those scars I'm certain he still carries?" Donavan's voice rose a little as he spoke, emotion breaking through. "Punishment." He snarled abruptly, dropping Niles's chin. He walked around Niles slowly and snapped the whip again. "Dragomir will never suffer commitment. He won't come for you." Donavan said solemnly, raising his arm and drawing it back, pausing for only a second before bringing it down against Niles's bare flesh.
Niles couldn't hold back the scream of pain as the whip struck his back. Not only was it from the burning pain that the striking object caused, but from Donavan's words, as well. The pain of the striking object was minimal compared to the damage of what Donavan was saying; Niles didn't want to believe it, but the evidence was overwhelming. Dragomir would not come for him, he would die, here, alone, burdened with the knowledge of what had really happened in Dragomir's past. He resigned himself to it; after all, if he couldn't believe in Dragomir, what was there to hope for? Dragomir was truly Donavan's, and not his, and there was nothing he could do now. Hanging his head in defeat, he let the tears stream down his cheeks and waited, hoping only that he would die before the pain became too overwhelming.
Donavan laughed cruelly, and brought the whip down again, aiming for another angle. The whip left a large gash, perpendicular to the first. Donavan could see the wounds were already beginning to swell, and the blood was prickling to the surface of the skin. Smirking, Donavan drew back his arm again. This time, he would draw blood.
Each resounding crack of the whip against Niles' back was quickly followed by a scream of agony, Niles cried out unreservedly, letting the tears stream down his face. Without Dragomir to believe in, he had nothing, nothing meant anything anymore, and there was no reason to fight. Lash after lash after lash, Niles cried, choking on his own tears, his throat growing hoarse and his voice cracking from the strain, and yet, there was no sign of it stopping. He heard Donavan laugh, and for a second, it stopped, and Niles hoped that he would end it all here. He shouldn't have hoped, however; it was only a momentary pause before another lash struck his bleeding back, tearing another shriek from his body. The world began to grow black around the edges, and he heard Donavan laugh again before everything faded away into darkness.
Donavan removed a handkerchief and casually wiped of the blood that had spattered across his face. He had been surprised by how long Niles lasted, but by no means was Donavan yet satisfied. Releasing the lock on the chain so that Niles slumped forward onto the floor, he set the whip down and rolled his shoulders, stretching out his right arm and flexing his fingers. As much as Donavan enjoyed it, the repetitive motion always caused some soreness. Chuckling lowly at the irony, Donavan walked slowly toward the stairs. He would give Niles an hour or so to rest, otherwise he’d only faint again, and Donavan wanted him fresh for round two.