Friday, July 30, 2004: Er... I suppose the only thing you need to know is that this fic has spoilers for Ouka's fate. *shrug* If you don't know that... and don't want to... don't read. Too preoccupied to write a good intro now. Maybe later.

*ponders* What else should I say? Ah yes: WARNING!!! This fic is yaoi, though only if you look at it sideways.

Disclaimer: These guys don't belong to me. If they did, I'm sure some of them would be kissing on screen. :-D Please don't sue, I promise I'll put them back where I found them.

The Wild Dark
by Renee-chan

His scream slices through my soul as efficiently as a knife through flesh. His scream is wild, ragged, full of horror and pain. It slices my soul to ribbons, leaving me bared and bleeding, easy prey. Just like before. You see… this isn’t the first time I’ve heard him scream, not the first time I’ve witnessed his heart torn to shreds. And with a sick, dread certainty, I’m sure it won’t be the last time, either. But this time, his grief, his agony, are nearly more than I can bear. He’s so young and he’s lost so much. Is it too much to ask that he be allowed to keep something?

I slowly become aware that this scream is different. The others held grief, pain, fear, yes, but this one… this one also sings of despair. Omi has finally reached his breaking point. He won’t be able to come back from this on his own. Ouka meant too much to him. In a way, she was the last gasp of his innocence, the last chance he had to hold onto a piece of normalcy. She held him back from the brink -- no mean feat, as he’s been slave to Weiss far longer than any of us -- and now, no one remains to stop him from falling. And I… I find that I can’t sit back and watch this. I am not Ouka and I am damaged in my own ways, but maybe, just maybe, I can help.

I lunge forward into the silence as Omi’s scream abruptly cuts off, and curl around him from behind. He won’t let go of her, I know that. He can’t, not yet. But he doesn’t have to go through this alone. Behind me I can just barely make out Aya and Yohji conferring, but I ignore them. Right now, only Omi matters.

Omi. Bombay. Everyone’s little kitten. So innocent on the outside, so full of darkness on the inside. Even kitten’s have fangs… and Omi is well in possession of his. He clamps them around my left forearm where it lies around his chest, the only barrier between he and Ouka other than death. The deep rumble in his chest confirms that he ‘s trying to stifle another scream. He won’t succeed. He should know that. Even if he stifles it now, it will eventually come back to haunt him. I know. Mine did. They always do. Even if you manage to quiet it, tuck it away from the prying eyes of others, it will always break free in the end. And if you fight it, like I did, than every struggle for release, every repression of that wild grief, damages you. I’ve already damaged myself beyond repair, I think. It will destroy me one day. I know that. But I don’t want that for him. I want to hear him scream and break, because it means that he still can. It means he feels. It means he’s still alive. And I very much want Omi to live. Life owes him plenty… and I want him to be around to collect.

A high pitched keen begins to leak out through the teeth clamped onto my arm. I wrap my other arm around Omi’s stomach and nuzzle into the nape of his neck. That does it. His teeth loose themselves from my arm just before the scream tears itself free of his throat. And this scream I recognize. I’ve been waiting for it. Wilder, more primal than the ones before, there is nothing left of sanity in this scream.

Yohji jumps. Even Aya flinches. I merely tighten my arms, breathing a mental sigh of relief as Omi allows me to pull him back from Ouka’s body. I understand this feral darkness in ways that Abyssinian and Balinese never will. I lived in it once. To a greater extent than I like to admit, I live in it still. I reveled in it. I danced with it. I allowed it to lead me to Weiss. And then I forsook it, cast it away from me in a last-ditch effort to reclaim a normal life outside of the darkness. That was a mistake. Once you let the Wild in, there is no escaping it. You are forever bound… and she is a jealous mistress. One day she will want me back in full and she will have me, too. There is nothing I can do about that. And on that day… the world will scream.

But I don’t want that for Omi. I can pull him back from the brink this time, let him learn from my mistakes, teach him to flirt with the Wild without giving himself over completely. It is a difficult dance, far more so than the one of complete submission, and it is danced on the knife’s edge of sanity, but I think he can learn it, can own it. At least I desperately hope so. If not, then eventually he will fall again… and there will be no return for him from that fall. I ignore the little voice that seductively asks me if that would be so terrible… to have a partner. But I know that that is not Omi’s destiny. That dance is for me alone.

The keening howl emerging from the boy in my arms finally drops into a shocky silence. Now. Now is the time to gentle this beast. I hook my head over Omi’s shoulder, cheek to cheek, neck to neck, my chest pressed as close to his back as I can get it without merging us into one being. And then… I begin to purr. It rumbles out of the depths of my chest, slow and quiet at first, little more than a vibration passing from my body to his. As close as they are, I know Aya and Yohji can’t hear it. But Omi can. His eyes widen, lips parting in disbelief, as I increase the volume. Normal humans, no matter how feline their names, can’t do what I am doing. Their throats aren’t built for it. The part of his mind that recognizes that pricks him out of the raw freshness of his despair, even as the purr itself works its calming effect on the jagged edges of his grief.

The purr is the Cat’s true gift to the world. Wordless, soothing, eternal. Were there enough of them left and were you able to convince them to work together long enough to sustain it, I firmly believe that the great cats’ purr could bring about world peace. It has that much power. And that power was but one of the Wild’s gifts to me. I personally consider it the greatest of them all, and just now, I’m sure Omi would agree. His body slowly relaxes, leaning into my gentle purr as he gives up his hold on consciousness.

Now, only now, do I allow my attention to drift to my other teammates. How must I look to them? Curled around our youngest member like a second skin, eyes still shining from their brush with the feral Dark, claws extended to warn any others away from he whom I protect. It is only then that I do realize that my bugnuk’s blades are unsheathed. I retract them with a deliberate snick, then bare my teeth in a smile as Yohji breathes a sigh of relief. They’ve seen what they think is my wild side before, but this is so much more than that. The heat of emotion in the frantic pace of a mission, that is cold sanity compared to the seductive pull of the Wild in my soul. Why I feel it so strongly, I don’t think I’ll ever know. All I know is that I do. I feel the call of the Wild Dark with an unwavering intensity. I always have. It was what made me so good on the soccer field, what makes me such a good assassin. I almost look forward to the time when I can give in to it completely without even the thought of returning.

Aya kneels down beside me, close enough to touch, but respecting my space. Something in him knows not to encroach without an invitation. In spite of myself, I’m surprised. I expect that level of sensitivity from Balinese, but not from Abyssinian. Despite his constant angst, Aya has never really dealt with the Wild. His rage, his need for vengeance… they are human constructions. They fit into neat little patterns with little room for chaos. Protect Aya. Hate Takatori. Little, if any, room for change. But he is changing. The barely concealed worry in his eyes as he gazes down at Omi… Takatori Mamoru… is proof of that.

I deliberately relax my body, one muscle at a time. When I finally feel able, I unwind myself from Omi’s body and let my purr rumble off into nothing. My kitten twitches and frets at the loss. I bend down and nuzzle my face into his hair, rubbing against those nerve tracts that will most encourage him to relax. When he subsides, I hand him off to Aya. Abyssinian treats the unspoken request with all the force he would bring to a mission. ~Protect Omi. Keep him safe. Shelter him.~

The distant sound of police sirens alerts us that it’s time to go. They will take care of Ouka. There is nothing more we can do for her. I gather myself and spring off into the night, heading for the rooftops. Aya takes a more direct route along the streets in deference to his unconscious burden. It isn’t until I come to rest on the rooftop of the Koneko no Sume Ie that I realize that Yohji followed me. I whirl to face the older man, words still escaping my grasp as I struggle to find a way to communicate. I delved deeper than I thought tonight, fell farther than I expected. My time may come sooner than I thought…

Yohji’s voice is soothing. I’ve noted that in the past. It was his voice, his words, that brought me back the last time I went too deep… the night Kase died, impaled on my claws. Somehow, Yohji understands what I need in moments like this, even if he doesn’t understand why I need it. I’m grateful for that and even more grateful that he doesn’t ask the questions for which I have no answers.

I let him approach, let him run his outstretched hand into my hair and pull my head down to rest against his chest. His heartbeat is soothing, steady, if a bit too fast. Not a purr, but I hardly expect one. That is my gift, not his. I take in his scent, the beast in me still functioning on instinct rather than logic. His scent is soothing, too. Overlaying all the others are the scents of blood and sweat -- tonight was messy if nothing else. Underneath that, the scent of his soap and shampoo. He changes them weekly, never pinning himself down to one fragrance. This week it’s cucumber melon. He smells good enough to eat… I reign in that particular impulse with a mental snarl as I continue my olfactory exploration. Underneath the scent of cleansers and the peripheral scents of the fabrics that make up his clothing is the scent of Yohji… Balinese. There are no words to describe the scent of an individual. People have tried, but they never come close. The only descriptions exist in the language of scents, a language that the human body has long since forgotten how to speak. I take that scent into myself, allowing it to relax me, to encourage me to lean further into the warmth of the body it rises from. As I lean my body fully against his, Yohji wraps his arms more securely around me, and thwarted by my teammate’s embrace, the Wild looses its hold on me. It goes reluctantly, still snarling, but it does go. I relax.

Yohji feels it, that final relaxation, but seems loathe to break the silence. His hands on my back begin to move, asking a wordless question with their steady flowing pattern. I tip my face up, nuzzling into the taller man’s throat, placing light nips and open-mouthed kisses along his jaw-line. His scent didn’t lie… he tastes good enough to eat, as well. But I draw away. This situation could lead to love-making -- and I have no doubt that someday it will -- but not tonight.

My thoughts, once again wholly my own and completely human, are filled with Omi. Omi needs me and right now, I need him. I need to curl around him, breathe in his scent and know that he’s all right. Yohji, as always, understands. There is something about Omi which draws all of us, something about him that we all respond to on different levels, something that marks him as the unspoken leader of Weiss. He doesn’t know it yet, though I’m sure he’s noticed how we all defer to him, but that will come in time. He is still a kitten, after all.

I raise my hand gently to Yohji’s face and run my thumb along the high arch of his cheekbone. So beautiful… I smile up into his eyes, a smile that is for him alone, my partner, my equal, my balance, and offer him the first words to emerge from my throat since Omi’s scream tore my soul apart and allowed the Wild in, “Our time to dance will come, Yohji. I promise you that. Soon… sometime very soon.”

His mouth wraps around my name like a caress and lights my way down the dark stairwell as I descend… “Ken… I’ll be waiting.”

And now for some chibi-silliness!

Ken: *satisfied smirk* I love it.

R-chan: *sweatdrop* OK... anyone who thought this was going to be a Ken x Omi fic, raise your hands. *eyes the collective chibis as all but Ken join her in raising her hands* Uh-huh. That's what I thought. And did I detect some slight Aya x Omi -ness in there, too? *collective nod* But I don't like Aya x Omi. And I don't like psycho-inhuman Ken! So how in the hell did I manage to get both in a fic that I wrote???? */rant*

Omi: *patpats the fic author* Calm down, Renee-san... I really don't mind.

R-chan: *twitch* That's not the point.

Ken: *raises an eyebrow* Actually... I think it is. I like it. Omi likes it. Yohji sure as hell didn't complain... *smirk* In fact, he was muttering something about a sequel... But I digress. If we don't mind, why should you?

R-chan: *tugs on her hair* Because that isn't how it works. *pout* The only reason you got away with this is because I was stressed about the test I just took and I had a migraine and wasn't paying attention. *sniffle*

Omi: *cuddles the fic author* What if he promises not to do it again?

R-chan: *snerts* Like that ever works. If it were sweet, cuddly TV series Ken, I might be willing to try. But this one... *eyes the Ken-chibi warily*

Ken: *slow smile* What ever happened to the "try it once to make sure if you don't like it" philosophy?

R-chan: *gapes*

Ken: *smile widens* Consider this your first try. Did you like it?

R-chan: *blush* *meeps*

Ken: I'll take that as a yes. *smirk* So what's the problem?

R-chan: *mumbles* Not nice. Just 'cuz I dressed up as you for Halloween you think you get all kinds of special privileges.

Ken: *innocent smile* You mean I don't?

R-chan: *facefaults* This is hopeless. I think he's channeling Kise. I'm getting out of here. *yawns and waddles off to bed muttering about fic-chibis who think they can boss the author around just 'cuz they're cute*

Ken: *just smiles*

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