Just posting for Liz so she can read, as it is too long for lj and er out computers don’t like each other. :D
The cell was cramped and small and smelled strange too — damn feds couldn’t be bothered to maintain their damn prisons, wasn’t there some sort of law about having to provide living space adequate for basic human rights? Whatever — the cell was cold and stank, but it was perfectly clean at least — and all of that was completely unimportant to Niou, because it was a single and had been for a few weeks now, and he didn’t have to share it with any assholes anymore.
So when the door to the cell slid open and some strange kid was thrown in, he was, he thought, completely justified in being pissed off. “You can’t put him in here!” He yelled as the door slid shut with a puff of metallic-tasting air. “Hey!”
“You want me in here just about as much as I want to be here.” Kirihara snapped, a short glare cast to the boy who seemed to be his new cellmate. (Maybe strangling his last one hadn’t been the best of ideas. But why the curlyhaired boy wasn’t shoved into solitary confinement was anyone’s guess.) He had every right himself to be pissed, stupid fucking government officials acting so high and mighty in thinking they can just manhandle kids like that. Jackasses.
Niou half-turned to aim a glare at the shorter kid. “I’m not supposed to have a cellmate. Shit. What the hell did you do, kill someone?” — Why else would someone put another kid in with him?
“Think I’m supposed to be in here on drug charges or some shit but the last guy they had me with pissed me off. So I guess you could say that. Least, guy wasn’t movin’ when they dragged me outta there.” Fuck this, why bother telling his life story to someone he’d only be with a few days at most? A waste of breath was all that really was. A wary glance was turned to the taller boy, almost as if Akaya were sizing him up for some sort of fight.
Coz hey, you never knew.
“Great. Well, that makes two of us.” Two steps and a good left hook and — no. This wasn’t the time for a repeat of the Hiroshi incident. Niou’d wanted to avoid getting into fights at least long enough to get transferred to another workplant. “Stay on that side, got it? Leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone. It’s another ten hours until my workshift, if that’s where you’re assigned.”
“Whatever.” Akaya shrugged, taking the few steps needed to lean back against a wall before sliding down into a squat, dark eyes intently staring at the older boy. Nope, didn’t trust him. Not one bit. “Suppose that’s when all the bad kids get to go out and play, huh.” He replied somewhat bitterly. Going home would be nice but he had a feeling his sixth month sentence would be increased greatly. At least, until they shipped him off to some prison or reformatory. Bah. Same shit, different day.
“Haven’t you been on a workplant before?” Niou asked, one eyebrow raised a bit. Great. He was going to be babysitting some spoiled Earth brat.That would explain a thing or two.
“Can’t say I have.” Akaya quipped. “Just foster home to foster home to juvenile hall and back again. Must be losin’ my touch, gettin’ caught so easily this time. Though I have a feeling a little birdy tattled.” Oooh. Birdies. So much fun to set on fire. An almost sickening smirk curled over his lips; gaze unwavering. “What you in for? No wait, let me guess. Mommy caught you stealing from the cookie jar so you killed her.”
Whatever the kid was trying to prove with his big talk, Niou wasn’t impressed. Just a stupid Earther who’d gotten himself in enough shit to get shipped out to a workplant. “You’re boring me, and lights-out will be in a couple of minutes.” He stood, kicked at a panel in the wall, and waited as the flat sleeping platform slowly lowered down to knee level. “You’d better shut up and get some, too, or you’ll regret it in the morning.” Fuck, kid was shaping up worse than the last one already. Damn annoying.
“Whatever. Ain’t you just a bundle of joy and sparkly happy thoughts.” He was quite comfortable right where he was so Akaya just leaned his head back, not even bothering to get up and make a sleeping space for himself.
Whether from laziness or just not caring, who knew. Dark eyes slid shut, and soon once could tell from the steady rise and fall of his chest that Akaya was fast asleep.
Satsified at last that the other boy was asleep, Niou finally closed his eyes. Couldn’t be too wary, he thought as he attempted to shut out the ceaseless tickign of the clock above their heads.
The alarm started soft, but grew louder and louder and louder — dammit, didn’t Hiroshi know that he worked late, why wasn’t he turning off the fucking alarm, too goddamned loud — Niou reached up, rolled over to slap at the offending clock and found himself fallign the short distance to the cell floor instead.
The alarm had probably been going off for about five minutes before Akaya finally awoke. Although really it had been a sleepy squawk from his cellmate that had done him in, he’d been doing quite well ignoring the clock on his own.
Long since stiff muscles stretched out in front of him, a cross and very sleep-blurred look spreading over his face.
It took a minute to really notice his cellmate — that’s right, they gave him a cellmate, the fuckers — and another minute to get upright and standing while the alarm continued to go off, louder and louder. He looked at the other kid and then smirked just a little. The Earther was probably totally out of sync with his hours, he’d bet — even better. The alarm was still going off.
“We’re fucking UP already!” Niou yelled, banging a fist on the door. The alarm continued for another fifteen seconds while he swore before stopping.
Groggily the younger boy slid back up the wall, a hand raising to ruffle through dark curls and down his face sleepily. “The fuck time is it…” He yawned out. Eh, nah. He wasn’t a morning person. And damn that alarm was irritating and thank all above when it finally turned off.
It’s four a.m., here anyway. We’ve got about an hour to shower and eat and then we’re out doing whatever the hell we’re doing today. Probably working in the greenhouses, that’s where I was yesterday.” And the day before that, and the day before that — damn, he was sick of dealing with that shit. Then again, the kid was new, so they might get something simple and easy. Like weeding. Couldn’t trust a new kid with chemicals just yet.
“Fucked up time to be awake.” Akaya grumbled while scratching at his belly. Greenhouse? Fuck. Greenhouse meant plants which meant pollen which left for a very disgruntled Kirihara Akaya. Allergies could suck it.
Someone remind him again how he’d gotten stuck here? Nevermind, maybe he didn’t want to know.
“You’ll get used to it,” Niou said, before reminding himself that the kid was a jerk and didn’t deserve any more of his attention or somewhat-friendly advice.
The door opened with a soft sound of compressed air, and he sighed and walked out.
Another few months and another facility it would seem they both and several other inmates were headed to. Akaya figured they had to rotate every once in a while as the people there would probably get so sick of cultivating they’d figure out some way to poison the food source.
And so it would be the boys, bound in cuffs and shackles for safety measures or somesuch were boarded onto a shabby cargo ship (couldn’t the fuckin’ goverment afford a little bit better transportation?) to be shipped off to who knew where.
Akaya for one was not thrilled with being woken much before the time he’d become accustomed to.
Niou twisted, trying to find a better position to go back to sleep. What the hell was all the noise for? Someone was yelling, and —
“Get the fuck up!” The yell was slightly strained, slightly hysterical, and when Niou sat up to eye the young guard who was standing in the doorway of the prisoner’s cabin. What the hell? Get up? They were bloody well strapped in, Niou wanted to say, shaking his wrists chained to his waist, but the gun in the guard’s hand changed his mind. What the hell was going on?
And if only Niou knew that was the exact question going through Kirihara’s mind right about now. The younger boy eyed his (former? Who knew when they got there) cellmate, then the guard and to the few other boys scattered about the cabin.
It was probably the fact that he couldn’t move 5 inches in any given direction that irritated him the most.
“We can’t fucking stand up,” Niou said, and he was about to follow that up with a choice expletive describing the guard’s idiocy when his mutter was cut off by a loud, sharp sound, and the guard’s head exploded in a mess of blood and brain and bone.
Oh fuck, oh fuck. Not good at all, Niou thought, and as the guard fell forward, his eyes were drawn to the slim figure that entered the doorway, and aimed a wicked-looking assault rifle at them all.
“I suggest that none of you move or say anything. I shouldn’t like to have to shoot you. It would be such a waste,” the boy said in a smooth, soft voice, before smiling in a way that Niou didn’t like one bit.
Okay, the fruitcake with the headband was really starting to creep him out, even moreso than the head exploding right in front of him and splattering over the walls (and unfortunately the unlucky boys who’d been put in the front of the cabin.)
…If this was a dream, could someone wake him up now? Please? It would be muchly appreciated. Akaya bit his lip, a cold gaze focused on the tall boy with the big fucking gun.
“Good,” the boy said, and then he half-turned, yelled something over his shoulder in a language that Niou didn’t recognize at all, and moved into the cabin proper, closing the door behind him and leaning against it.
“Ah, you’re restrained anyway,” he said, noting the cuffs and chains. “So it isn’t just a regular supply ship after all.” Sharp eyes sought face after face until they hit Akaya’s, and then the smile widened. “A prison transport? But you’re too young.”
It was all Akaya could do to bite down on his tongue, keeping a few choice words threatening to slip free at bay. Teeth ground tightly together with a quiet growl, eyes never leaving the creepy bastard.
He didn’t like this. Not at all.
“You should answer questions when you’re asked them,” the boy said, stepping forward and suddenly looming over Kirihara, reaching down to tilt his chin upward sharply. “It’s polite.”
Niou watched this in silence; he wasn’t going to stick his neck out for the kid. No way. They weren’t friends, just cellmates.
“Ain’t too young for nothin’ ‘n crime comes in all shapes and sizes.” Came a slow reply, eyes narrowing slightly when his chin was jerked. “Now if you would kindly get your hands off of me.”
Digging his own grave? Probably.
Cool eyes narrowed, then eyelids closed, crinkles appearing at the corners, and the boy with the gun laughed as he released Kirihara’s chin. “Well said. I don’t own you yet, after all.”
Those words made Niou’s stomach coil and curl, and he spoke before thinking: “You’re Bril, right?”
He didn’t really want to be proven right; the last thing he needed to happen in his –albeit short– life was to be captured by Bril slave traders and sold for labor or whatever else the buyer in paritcular wanted. If they’d been regular passengers, they might be ransomed, but with juvenile criminal records like theirs, there wasn’t a chance that any of them had rich parents who’d cough up the money.”
“Very good!” The boy said, and his eyes fell on Niou now, who decided that looking away was going to cause more trouble than glaring was. “And if you know that, then there isn’t much need for me to explain things, but I will anyway. Yes, we’re Bril. You’re our captives now, and that means that you’re going to be bought and sold into service fairly soon, once we’ve made a bit of a long trip. That’s after we’ve secured this vessel and destroyed it, of course.” He reached up, touched a button on the communicator clipped to his headband. “Sanada? What’s the current status on the bridge?”
Whatever this Sanada said couldn’t be deciphered, but the boy’s smile was enough answer for Niou to know that the ship had probably been completely captured. Shit.
Well wasn’t this just the greatest way to start his day? Being captured by a batch of psychotic space pirate types with really bad accents to spend the rest of his life playing slave boy. Akaya had half a mind to just keep running his mouth and get himself killed right there. At least he wouldn’t have to deal with being bossed around (he had a feeling slavery would be even worse than prison) but nah, that would be taking the easy way out now wouldn’t it? Not exactly fitting for his previous lifestyle.
An icy glare was kept trained on the boy, still trying to sort out this whole slave trader thing.
Didn’t the prison system have some sort of procedures to keep shit like this from happening?
Probably not. If someone raided their transport ships and killed off the inmates it just made one less mouth for the government to feed.
Yukimura smiled, patted Kirihara’s head — tangling fingers in tousled kinky curls and tugging gently — then moved back. “You don’t really need guards as you are, but I’ll send someone to keep you company, just in case. I’ll be seeing you later, when you’re transferred onto our ship.” He touched the communicator again. “Sanada, send me a couple of guards — no, only two will be fine, they’re already restrained — I’ll be out in a moment. I’ll need to speak with the Captain as well.”
Niou kept a close eye on this boy — whomever Sanada was, and this Captain, he was sure he wouldn’t like them. Then again, he wouldn’t be seeing them for all that long. He’d be sold off pretty damn soon and then — well. Yeah, he’d think about that when he got there.
The thought of biting those slender and somewhat girlish fingers right off was quite tempting to Akaya, but nah, that probably wouldn’t taste very good at all. Alien slime, ew. He flopped against his binds, looking thoroughly disgruntled with slitted eyes and a clenched jaw. So not his day and so not the people he really wanted to die with.
Sanada sat back in his cushy chair, nodding to himself as the request was made. “I’ll send them right in and patch you through when you get back to the bridge.” he replied, eyes quickly scanning the room. “You. And you. Down to the cargo bay and await instructions.” He waved the two off before tapping at the communicator on his chest and going about his business. Jackal just saluted with a quick “Yes, sir!” and left. How fun it was to be Sanada’s whipping boy. -.-
At least the food was good.
Marui’s salute was far less snappy — but then, he didn’t work for Sanada, and his role was somewhat more fluid than Jackal’s, so he didn’t much care. He trotted along after Jackal, chattering quietly (more to himself than in any expectation that Jackal might answer). “I bet that they’re all poor guys — this isn’t a fancy transport or anythign, the cargo’s all food and shit, I mean, yeah, we’ll get an okay price for that, it’s not bad, but how much did we risk to capture this thing? Bet we got some stupid farmers goign on vacation to the next workplant or some shit like that.”
“Prisoner transport, I think.” Jackal replied, shrugging it off as he stalked down the halls. Having been on far more escapades as this than Marui, by now Jackal had seen quite a few raids such as this. Same shit, different day. Take over a vessel, plunder the goods and capture anyone and everyone to sell off for a fairly hefty price.
Not all too bad though, he figured. It was afterall how Marui had become something of his partner. Maybe the Captain just liked redheads.
“So what, we have hardened criminals to babysit? Great, those will bring a wonderful price on the market. No ransoms either, I bet. But I’ll spend two days looking up family histories and criminal records and shit for nothing anyway, just in case, ’cause Yanagi will want to be thorough…” More complaining, which wasn’t necessarily normal unless Marui was faced with a situation like this. Normally, the boy was cheerful about whatever task he was set to, but he hated being put to this task by Yanagi.
“And here we are!” he ended, quieting up. It wouldn’t do to complain in front of Yukimura or the prisoners, after all.
“Yo.” Jackal gave a small wave to Yukimura and not so subtly attempted to peek into the room and see all the fresh meat. …That was always something he’d liked about the bluehaired boy, he could give casual greetings as opposed to the straightfaced ‘sir’ he had to give Sanada. (At least Yukimura didn’t smack him if he slipped when he really did need to be formal.) “How many?” He asked in reguards to the prisoners. Jackal, while friendly enough didn’t really like being stuck with more than a handful of people for more than about 10 minutes. Gave him headaches.
Yukimura smiled widely at the two crewmembers sent by Sanada; he tended to enjoy their company moreso than many of the other crewmembers. Sanada was starting to predict him more easily, though, so he’d have to take care of that. “I counted sixteen, so you’ll have to suffer a while, Jackal. If you two can get down what information they’re willing to give, it will make things go more quickly during the trip to Ava. I’ll let Yanagi know to have the infirmary prepare so the initial tests will go quickly.”
Marui made a face. “It’s to make your job easier,” Yukimura said sweetly, and for that he received a not-so-well-hidden rude gesture that made him laugh, though his eyes narrowed. “I’ll be sure to let Yanagi know your feelings on the matter,” he said before walking away, back down the halls they had just come from.
“Bah.” Marui rolled his eyes and shrugged, then reached forward to push the door open and survey the new merchandise.
Sixteen, sixteen.. Jackal could only hope the rest of the crew would get what they needed quickly so they could leave. Pushing past the door, he leaned against the wall; arms loosely across his chest as he peered from one inmate to another. The little curlyheaded kid was kinda cute, in that little-lost-puppy-about-to-bite-your-fingers-off kind of way. Maybe he’d leave that one for Marui to entertain (torment, question, whatever).
“We’re going to play a little game.” Jackal decided. “We’re going to go down the rows one by one and ask you all several questions. If you answer honestly, we won’t kill you here.” Dead company was much nicer than noisy, bitchy company.
And so he started down the line. “Name, age, birthplace, the reason for your incarceration and any history of illness or disease.” Wouldn’t do to be selling diseased slaves. That could come back and bite them in the ass real quick.
Akaya just glared at the newcomers, attempting to think of a way to break out and make a run for it. Not likely it seemed, fuck these things were on tight and the gun hanging off the taller one’s hip didn’t look too enticing.
“If you do try to lie anyway, you’ll be punished later,” Marui said in his sweetest voice as he pulled his own datapad from its ever-present place on his belt, fingers moving quickly to open the proper program to input data so that it could be swiftly merged into the ship’s files when they returned. “And I will find out, don’t worry about that; it’s easy to break into correction institute records to verify whatever you tell us, and I’m sure you’re all well aware that your fingerprints and DNA are on file. So don’t make my job difficult, okay? I’m not as nice as Jackal, I’ll make sure you suffer first.”
Niou had been just about to open his mouth to spout a long line of total bullshit when the short redhead — was that a bubble he was blowing? Crap, what the hell was this, some stupid bunch of kiddies given a pirate ship? They had to be all his age or younger! — reeled off his own threat, and then he closed it and rethought his strategy.
Someone else beat him to it. “Nitobe Inakichi, 16, Sen-four Colony, breaking and entering. Had, uh, chicken pox when I was two.”
Niou would have laughed, but he didn’t think it was the best idea as the redhead kept his gaze trained on the kid who had just spoken and only glanced down once at the datapad to be sure the information was correct. But that one didn’t seem to have a weapon, either… interesting…
“Right. Next?” Marui said, moving down his row, pausing in front of the kid with the dark curly hair and sour-looking face.
Trying to think up some elaborate story would’ve been too much effort for Akaya, so he decided telling it straight would work fine. “Kirihara Akaya, 17, no clue, drug dealing, armed robbery, arson and most recently murder. Never had anything other than a cold I don’t think. Good enough?” If he could’ve moved his arms he probably woulda popped the huge friggin bubble blown by a seemingly bored fruitcake. Didn’t they have anything better to do with their time?
Jackal meanwhile had taken up the other side of the room, his own notes jotted down as he went down the line and stopped at his next victim. “And you?” The boy looked up at him from a under a fringe of red hair. What the hell ever. “Kamio Akira, 16. Earth. Tossed me in this joint on charges of prostitution and espionage. Several broken bones and strep.” Jackal just shook his head, input the data and moved onto the next boy while whistling a jaunty tune.
The added comment made Marui raise one thin eyebrow and pop his bubble. “Fine,” he said, though he paused after adding the information, gave Kirihara another once-over, added in extra information before continuing down the row. “Next?”
“D-Dan Taichi, desu. 14. R-Republic of Zion. Weapons and drug smuggling. I’m not really sure what I’ve had, desu. Malaria and … I can’t remember. Broken arm when I was little.” The small boy looked away, obviously uncomfortable.
Marui made a small noise in his throat and marked that down. A real grab-bag, huh?
Niou looked at the dark-skinned boy that the other had called Jackal and tried to decide just how much he wanted to die versus how much he wanted to live — being a slave. He didn’t think this guy would really kill him, though. He’d be worth more as a slave than dead, right? Then again, the redhead brat seemed to be nasty and willing to make his life miserable before he got to die. Well, shit. “Niou Masaharu. 17 — no, 18. Nishi-Twelve. Fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy to commit murder, murder. I’m totally clean.”
So far, so good, Jackal hadn’t had to kill anyone on his round and he didn’t have a headache yet. The little pad was tucked back into its holder on his belt as he made his way back to the front, an eyebrow raised at the little curlyheaded kid who kept staring at him. The hell was that kid’s damage, anyway? Jeez. “Oi, Marui. Hurry up.” Impatient? Yeah.
Kirihara curbed the urge to spit at the snippity little bubble blower, an irritated look on his face. Good concentration he did have but patience was a completely different story. “When the hell you gonna let us out.” he growled, rattling the chains of his binds a bit. Though all he got for his snapping was a bullet zipping right past his head and embedding itself into the wall a few inches away.
“When we’re good and ready. Do be a good brat and keep your mouth shut.” Jackal replied, tucking the gun back into its holster. “Next time I won’t miss.” And speaking of… tapping at the small communicator on his chest he asked “How’re things going up there? The brats are getting irritable and I’m gonna shoot someone if I have to stay down here much longer.”
“Preparations for the transport are almost complete. It’ll be a few more minutes.” Sanada replied coolly, rolling his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. “And Jackal? You’re not to harm a single one of them or there will be severe punishment.” That was all he said before cutting the transmission short.
…Punishment, huh? Oh joy, he’d be stuck cleaning up after everyone again.
“Look, I’ve got three more to go. Just wait, okay?” Marui grumbled back, not at all his usual cheerful, easily-handled self. “Or you can give me the gun and go back to Sanada and I can guard them, I don’t care.”
Being the only ‘crew member’ who didn’t get to carry a gun really pissed him off when he actually thought about it, because he’d damn-well proved himself more than a couple of times. Pfeh. He’d be glad when this part was over and they could get back to their ship and he wouldn’t have to deal with slaves or any other bullshit until Ava.
Niou listened through the last three names without interest; he’d worked with all of them for a while on the workplant, so the information wasn’t new for the most part, though Atobe’s usual protestation of his complete innocence was a bit amusing, considering the circumstances. But then that one had always considered pride to be worth whatever punishment he got, so nothing new there either.
“I’m done, you can go jerk off now,” Marui announced as he saved the last of the information and clipped the data-pad back into place.
“Yeah, ditch duty and get demoted, how fun!” Jackal replied sarcastically. With any luck the rest of the crew would be done and down to get the damn prisoners in the next few minutes. Idly Jackal wondered why exactly he’d chosen to join this little group of loving friends, but the thought was quickly pushed aside as his figurative superior officer sensor went off.
“..Captain!” Jackal all but stood at attention, a salute given as he froze in his spot. Just great, he hoped Yagyuu hadn’t heard that.
“At ease.” Yagyuu replied as he wandered into the room. More juvenile deliquents to sift through and ship off to the highest bidder. Why was it they couldn’t pick up civillian ships more often? People were always willing to shell out insane amounts of money and goods for ransom. Hmph. Glasses glinted slightly under the low light, a tiny smirk crossing his lips as he peered at the batch of boys they had hostage. Well wasn’t this interesting…
“Niou Masaharu, the boy wonder. So nice to see you.” he said in an indifferent tone.
Shit. …….. Shit. …Captain, huh. Somehow, it just… fit. Niou leaned back, head hitting the rest behind him, and then he smiled, a lazy, smug expression to hide the fact that his stomach was tied into knots. “S’been a while, Hiroshi.”
Marui’s eyebrows rose so high that they were hidden by his hair, and he sought out Jackal’s face, confusion marking his expression. Calling the Captain by his given name? Was this kid crazy? How’d he know Yagyuu, anyway? Was he a former crewmember? But Yagyuu didn’t usually let anyone leave the ship, once they’d boarded it and learned its secrets… (which was why he didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give him a gun; it wasn’t like they’d ever let him go anyway, even if…whatever.)
“A while indeed. Seems you haven’t changed much at all. You seem to be doing well, considering the circumstances.” Yagyuu smirked, the corners of his mouth quirking upward just slightly. This was interesting indeed. He wouldn’t have figured his crew would ever end up capturing a ship carrying his former cellmate. He made his way toward the other boy, leaning forward as a hand caught in Niou’s hair and jerked back just slightly, lifting his cheer to peer directly into his face. “Although it should seem payback’s a bitch, wouldn’t you say Masaharu?”
Kirihara just stared at the exchange, brows furrowing confusedly. Hiroshi, Hiroshi.. he knew he’d heard that name somewhere before. Wait… was that the guy Akaya himself had replaced as Niou’s cellmate? Eh, whatever, it wasn’t any of his concern as long as the glinty freak left him alone.
That… was just weird. Beyond weird, or so Jackal was beginning to think. So the captain just waltzed in and starts talking like he knew the jerk? Whatever. A clueless shrug and an equally confused expression were returned to Marui. Er. Yeah.
“Captain, pardon me but are we almost ready?”
Yagyuu gave Niou’s hair a small tug before he wandered away completely, face masking over into something of expressionless. “Ahh.. yes. The last of the food should be transferred soon, and we’ll move the hostages afterwards. Please continue to wait here. Others will be down shortly to help escort.”
Niou took shallow breaths to conceal his nervousness. Well. Fuck. Fuck. This wasn’t good at all. Maybe he should get ‘Jackal’ to shoot him already. No, no, Masaharu, think straight. You can use this. Somehow. But getting sold was suddenly seeming to be the least of his problems.
“You’re the captain?” Another voice spoke up loudly, and Niou groaned. Not Mr. Big-Headliner. Maybe he’d get killed, too. Not that Niou had anything against him, but he’d rather have Yagyuu — wait, a distraction could be a good thing, too. Keep on talking.
“You can’t hold me like this — I’m not a criminal! Look, my father will pay well–”
Marui cut in quickly before the prisoner could continue. This wasn’t a matter that merited the captain’s attention, right? “Yeah, yeah, we all know that story. Look, don’t waste the captain’s time. You’re not the real Atobe Keigo, so no one’s going to be paying any ransom for you, so just shut up.”
“I AM the real–”
“Shut up or I’ll make sure you don’t eat anything solid for a week.”
After several more minutes of waiting, the call they’d all been waiting for finally came. “Everything’s loaded, Captain. We can move the hostages now.” Came Sanada’s voice over a small receiver. Shortly afterward several of the lower-ranking crewmembers showed up to aid in the task of escorting the boys onto their own ship.
“Well gentlemen. It seems the time has come! Your chains will be removed and afterwards you will all follow the Ensign onto our ship. Keep in mind that if you try anything, you most definately will be shot.” And let the games begin. The ensign in question was a bit of a noisy bastard and somewhat irritated Yagyuu, what with his constant complaining and mumbling but he was good and reliable in a pinch. He gave the signal and chains gave way, finally allowing the sixteen inmates a little bit more freedom. Kirihara for one was not thrilled that he still had those damn shackles on though.
“Move it along people… jeez, so slow. This is boring, I don’t get why I’m always the one who has to do stuff like this, it’s not fair. But then again I did get demoted for almost killing Sanada’s pet, that’s it, it’s my fault. It wasn’t my fault he snuck up on me, how was I supposed to know he asked him to get me? How mean.” Shinji continued to ramble on as the boys gathered, his gun waving around almost carelessly and without any reguard for who might be around.
Yagyuu silently made not to find a nice gag for the longhaired boy, joining Jackal and Marui as they brought up the back of the line. Once everything was cleared and those thought unfit for slavery were weeded out, he could be a very happy man…. boy.. thing. Although the thought of a gladiator type fight for those left over did seem rather entertaining.
Niou kept carefully towards the center of the line, not really wishing to get any closer to Yagyuu than necessary at the moment, though it meant he had to walk alongside the Dan boy, a little coward he’d never really thought that much of. Actually, the boy was being surprisingly non-snivelly, so it wasn’t too bad. Better than walking next to Keigo, who was probably muttering quietly beneath his breath, as he always did.
Marui wanted a gun, he decided, though now wasn’t the time to ask. He’d talk to Yanagi about it. Really, by this point, he deserved it, he thought as he brought his datapad out to double-check what he’d entered. Better to check now than to have Yanagi on his ass later. He glanced at Jackal; he didn’t really have the place to ask the Captain what was going on, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t want to know. He reached out and lightly tapped Jackal’s arm, patterned code asking him to ask Yagyuu about the prisoner. It was worth a shot.
Jackal just dropped a palm on top of Marui’s head, a silent gesture of ‘ask me later.’ It probably wasn’t something to be asked anywhere besides the captain’s private chambers out of earshot of hostage and crew alike. Perhaps when he brought the other boy his supper (Yagyuu for some reason didn’t like eating in front of people and thus rarely joined the crew in the mess hall).
Once everyone was boarded and secured in several small cells, Yagyuu headed back to the bridge, casting Sanada a small glare. Stupid bastard always taking over his chair when he was gone. It wasn’t like Sanada would be Captain anytime soon so why did he even bother trying? Shaking his head slightly, Yagyuu waved off his mates and took his seat, a cool look on his face as he began barking out orders for their departure.
“I want him, Yagyuu.” Yukimura did not often stand up against his captain’s will — but this was not a matter he was going to back down upon, he had decided. Several weeks of observation had only confirmed his first impulsive desire; he knew quite well what he wanted, and Sanada’s disapproval didn’t matter to him whatsoever. He’d communicated his wishes to the captain earlier, but the name had not been struck from the slave auction list as expected. “I’m not willing to settle for less. Do you intend to force me to bid for him?”
“Fine then. Collar him. He’s yours.” Yagyuu relented. Weeks of constant hounding by his first mate had seriously worn down Yagyuu’s nerves. But whatever. Yukimura had a way of getting whatever he wanted, when he wanted. But hell he already had enough mouths to keep fed without adding some bitchy little slave boy to the fray.
Yukimura’s eyes widened, and the lips that had been set in a stubborn scowl turned up into an easy grin. “Really?” Of course, really! Sanada was going to be pissed, but he’d sweeten him up easily enough. “Great! — Though, Captain, I did notice that there’s another name missing from the list. What are you going to do with Masaharu, anyway?” His smile curved up more, eyes narrowing. “If you intend to train him…”
“What I do with him is none of your concern. Now go before I change my mind.” Although even he wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do with Niou. For some reason the thought of the other boy being forced into slavery by anyone but himself irked him. He knew Niou would probably rather die than be his slave but Yagyuu had every intention of keeping him alive for the time being. …Besides. Breaking new slaves in could be fun sometimes.
“Oh, I know, I know. I was just going to suggest that letting him go through the auction process might have an interesting affect on him. You’d just be paying yourself, anyway.” Yukimura grinned a little. He’d considered allowing Kirihara to go to auction — it might do the boy some good to learn his place, going through the actual auction, being poked and prodded and inspected and reduced to the level of mere merchandise — but without knowing more of the boy’s inner psyche, he didn’t wish to risk causing too much strain. Besides, he admitted to himself, he did not really wish to let anyone else touch the boy. He’d been annoyed enough when Inui had examined Kirihara, and that was for necessary medical testing.
His captain’s designs on Niou Masaharu, however, might be a bit more flexible, if he was reading Yagyuu correctly. “Going, Captain!” He said with a cheery salute, strolling out of the cabin quickly.
Just a few more days. That was all that was needed before the auction ended, he got his money and they could all just go home and play with their new toys until the next round. That is, provided every damn member of his crew didn’t come up to him asking for any boy in particular. Because really if he allowed that, there would be no money coming in at all (food didn’t seem to pay as much as slaves did) for any of them. Yagyuu relaxed back into his chair, glasses removed and eyes slipping closed as classical strains wafted quietly through the room.
….On second thought…
“Sanada, have Masaharu brought up. And do be careful, he can be quite nasty when he wants to be.”
Sanada rolled his eyes (luckily with him being in an entirely different room Yagyuu couldn’t see it) and obliged, heading down to where the slaves were currently being held. “You.” The door to Niou’s cell was opened as Sanada beckoned. “The captain wishes to see you.”
Niou looked up. How many fucking days had it taken for this to finally happen? He’d barely seen “the captain” since being taken captive; he’d started to think that just maybe Hiroshi had forgotten about him — and maybe that was a good thing, maybe that meant he’d stopped caring, and that could be a very good thing — but no such luck, after all. Just when his hopes were getting up, too.
“About time,” he said, standing and stretching his poor cramped muscles.
Sanada twitched slightly. It annoyed him sometimes that he had to do most of the dirty work when Yukimura could for the most part trounce around freely and do as he wished. Captain’s favourite, he supposed. (Why it wasn’t him he wasn’t sure, he was hardworking and very competent as second in command.)
“Out.” When the other moved, Sanada pushed him on ahead and slammed the door shut. “The captain’s been quite busy arranging the auction, you’ll have to forgive him.” There would be no words exchanged after this. And on they went through winding halls and several doors before Sanada knocked politely on Yagyuu’s door. “I’ve brought him, Captain.”
The door slid open and Sanada pushed Niou through, standing idly by the door to await further instructions.
“Thank you, Sanada. Remove his cuffs and you may leave.” Yagyuu replied from his lounge. Sanada did as he was bid, a small nod given to his captain as cuffs were taken and he left.
“I never would’ve figured you’d be aboard one of the ships I sent orders for a raid on. Figured they killed you off a long time ago, Masaharu.”
“What can I say — without you around, I behave myself pretty well, Hiroshi.” Six more months and his case would’ve come up for review again. Six fucking months. Yagyuu always did have horrible timing. Niou rubbed his wrists gingerly. Why the hell had they kept him cooped up like that anyway, before they reached port? Like he was going to try to make a break for it before they made it to Ava anyway– there was nowhere for him to run to on this ship.
“We were quite the pair, hm?” Yagyuu replied, glasses slid back over the bridge of his nose. “Such a pity my sentence was up before yours.” Pushing himself to his feet he crossed the room, stopping no more than two feet away from the other boy. A smirk twisted on his lips as a collar was produced from his uniform pocket. Hands quickly moved to fasten it around Niou’s neck, fingers tapping lightly on the buckle before pulling away completely.
“You’re my slave now. You do what I say, when I say it, no questions asked. A nice twist of fate for someone who made my life a living hell the entire time I was in that rathole, don’t you think?” He quipped before turning on his heel and pacing back across the room to his chair. “Make yourself at home. You’ll be spending a lot of time here.”
What the fuck? Niou’s hands snapped up to the collar, fingers immediately going to work on the buckle – it wasn’t a normal buckle, he realized immediately, feeling the shape with fingertips, the way it stubbornly refused to yield.
“You’re an asshole, and I’m not going to be your fucking slave,” Niou said, ignoring the little voice that piped up Nice pun! before he continued. He’d spent the last few days happily not considering just what the hell he’d be doing as a slave; he’d been plotting some way to escape once the ship came into port, once he’d been bought by some sucker who wasn’t careful enough and he actually had somewhere to run to. If he belonged to Yagyuu, then he wouldn’t be leaving the ship. Screwed twice.
Shit shit shit; he had to stop being so scattered. He could handle Yagyuu. He’d handled him before, beautifully. But Yagyuu’d changed, and so had he. “Goddamnit, Yagyuu. Your head’s fucked around sideways.” This wasn’t like the Yagyuu he’d first befriended – but that had been years ago, if he admitted it to himself, and probably it was his fault that Yagyuu had moved so far from that serious boychild he’d been so bent on corrupting. Like they’d had any idea what corruption was when they was a kids.
Talk around it. He’d always been good at that, well – before his lengthy stay in the youth isolation camps, anyway. He’d lost too much there. “What happened to you when you got out, Yagyuu?”
“You have no say in the matter.” Yagyuu replied coolly, watching the other boy struggle with the buckle with a somewhat amused smirk on his face. A long time had passed since Yagyuu had been let out, but returning home didn’t exactly work out considering there wasn’t really anything but a pile of rubble where a nice family home used to stand. Gee, extended family, thanks for writing and telling me my parents and sister were dead. He’d wandered for a whlie, scavenging for food and doing a bit of salvage work in order to make a few bucks here and there.
He’d met Sanada and Yukimura first, just a couple of formerly imprisoned kids much like himself. Between the three of them they’d managed to round up a small army of war orphens and convicts and formed something of a little support group, if you could call it that. However cheery feelings wasn’t exactly enough to keep a group of kids from starving to death. That’s how it’d all started to begin with, a flock of individuals with one thing in common: the need to survive. So they’d branched out a bit from the (somewhat) honest ways they’d been getting what little money they did have; moving onto plundering and stealing, hiring themselves out for mercenary purposes or taking up the job of a bounty hunter. Some of the kids hadn’t liked that much, and Yagyuu’d had them killed. Just a few less mouths to feed.
That was until slave trading became something of a big business. And Yagyuu, as natural leader as he was had taken it up and put his crew to work capturing cargo ships and civillian vessels, stealing just about everything useful and selling the hostages into slavery if they couldn’t be ransomed.
Ankles crossed as he settled back into his chair, Yagyuu just shrugged. He was used to being insulted by now so why even bother. “More than you need to know.”
Keeping him in the dark, was it? Well, fuck that. That wasn’t going to work at all. If he was going to get any opportunities out of this situation — hah — then he was going to need to know as much as he could about Yagyuu Hiroshi as he was now. This wasn’t the kid he’d taken and made into his friend. It wasn’t even the disillusioned, bitter boy that had parted ways with him two years ago. There were parts still in there, but Niou didn’t know how to handle this Yagyuu, who was captain of a ship and participated in slave raids and who knew what else.
“So what do I need to know, then?” He asked harshly, fingers curled around the strap fitting too-tightly around his neck, still working at the buckle. He’d get it off soon.
“That if you have any desire to live, you’ll do as I say.” Yeah sure, the Yagyuu Niou was looking for was still in there, somewhere; but over the years he’d come to learn that sometimes keeping a false front kept your ass from getting killed. Though after all he’d been through he wasn’t quite sure how to bring the (usually) gentle and curious boy he’d once been back out. “And who knows. If you behave you may be given free reign to do as you wish when your services aren’t needed.”
“Knowing me as you used to, Hiroshi, did I -ever- listen to what you said, or do what you told me to do?” Niou allowed himself a brief expression of disbelief, rolling his eyes as he laughed sharply. The collar slid off in his hands with a soft metallic click as the buckle was released. He held it in one hand, stared at it with a small measure of disgust. “I took my punishment for what we did — what I did — years ago, so don’t you try to say this is payback. I’m the one who got the longer sentence, remember?” Hiroshi had changed, but he would never kill him. He was sure of that. He had nothing to fear here.
“No. You didn’t. That’s why you got a longer sentence, Masaharu. I didn’t need you to fight my battles for me.” Amusing, most people would’ve given up trying to get the thing off within about five minutes. But that was Niou for you, never take no for an answer.
Yagyuu sat forward, feet firmly on the floor as elbows rested on his knees; an eyebrow quirking slightly. “But you will. Consider yourself lucky you’re mine. You could still be locked in a cell until we threw you on the chopping block. At least you know I won’t harm you or put you through anything nearly as bad as what most of those other boys will when they’re sold. They won’t have a choice when they’re forced to work themselves into the ground, humiliated for the entertainment of others, beaten, raped or even killed for pleasure. However if you really would like to go back to your cell and be put back on the chopping block, it can be arranged.” Not much of an arguement, but in all honesty Yagyuu didn’t really want to see the other boy in someone else’s hands. They’d been through too much together, good and bad, and Yagyuu had no intentions of letting someone he’d once considered as a friend go through that.
Slender fingers steepled together, finger tips drumming against finger tips while he watched his hostage. This would probably come back and bite him in the ass later but whatever.
Lucky to be a slave with no chance of escape? No, Niou rather thought not.
If he could just keep Yagyuu talking, he’d figure out what to do.
“I’d rather be back in prison.” He didn’t laugh, simply stared at Yagyuu. What use would he have in a slave like Niou? What would he be useful for, on a ship with a crew like this? This was nothing like the Hiroshi he’d known once. “I don’t know that you won’t, do I? You’ve changed a hell of a lot more than I’ve changed, Hiroshi!” What did he want? To be a slave on this ship, under Yagyuu’s control? He didn’t know what sort of task he might be put to; what sort of thing to expect — not any more than he would know what to do if he were to be sold in truth. It was the not knowing that shook him.
Killing and plundering and looting a ship, taking slaves, and seeming to have a good deal of experience at that; the Yagyuu Niou had known would never participate in such things. “I thought you were too good to dirty your hands with something like this.” Something like Niou.
“You have no idea what I went through to even get this far. Everything we did before we got thrown in there was mere child’s play compared to now. Life’s a bitch, Masaharu. It’s all we can do to survive. I’ve got an entire crew of guys that look up to me, count on me to help them. They’re just the same as you or myself, most were either felons or orphens who were good kids before society turned against us, if you could say that. Murderers and the like. Low grade, bottom of the barrel scum that no one wanted.” Yagyuu pulled off his glasses and pinched at the bridge of his nose. Geh. He was talking too much. Making him soft or some shit. “It was the only choice we had. You know how it goes. Kill or be killed. Trade or be traded. And I’m not about to turn my back on them.”
“You had no problem turning your back on me before.” So why wasn’t he doing it now? Some sort of false remembered affection? Niou hadn’t forgotten how they’d parted, and he knew Yagyuu hadn’t, either. They weren’t friends anymore. Obligation. Payback. Punishment. It was true that he didn’t know anything about Yagyuu now.
He’d grown less wild and Yagyuu had far surpassed the wild creature Niou had once been. What a role reversal. He laughed. “What are you going to do with me then? Order me around? Make me clean your room? Cook your meals? Fuck me once in a while for old times’ sake? Hang me on the wall for sentimental purposes? You can’t trust a slave, can you? I’ll try to escape. I won’t do what you’ll tell me. If you sell me, I’ll just escape from whatever fool’s dumb enough to buy me.” He wasn’t property. He didn’t belong to anyone.
“If that’s what you want.” Yagyuu replied simply, a small button on his chair tapped. “Sanada, take him back to his cell, please.”
Sanada had been doing his rounds (while mentally grumbling that Yukimura had gotten the boy he wanted and he himself got nothing), checking on other crewmembers and hostages alike when his captain’s voice rang in his ears. “Right away, Sir.” Turning on his heel, the darkhaired boy made his way back up to Yagyuu’s room.
Something akin to a feigned smile crossed Yagyuu’s lips as he pushed his glasses back up over the bridge of his nose. “Back to the chopping block you go then. Good luck.”
Right about then Sanada arrived, knuckles rapping on the door a moment before he was let in, a set cuffs produced and a curious glance in Yagyuu’s direction. He was really supposed to put the guy the captain’d seemed to have a strange fixation with back into the auction? Whatever, orders are orders.
“Last chance, Masaharu. Stay here on the ship with a fairly steady future, or into slavery where you won’t know if you’ll even make it through the first night.” Truth be told he could just outbid the highest bidder himself, it wasn’t like the money was going anywhere. Might be worth it to see the look on Niou’s face after going through the process.
Yagyuu seemed so very reasonable, when he spoke like this. Or was he? Dammitall. What the hell was Niou supposed to do? He had no notion of which was better — he didn’t want either option, but which did he want less?
He was not as sure that he would be able to escape another as he would like to be. He was not as sure that Yagyuu was a reasonable man as he would like to be. Yagyuu still had not told him what was expected of him. He did not want to do what was expected of him.
…Yagyuu expected him to fight with every last bit of strength in his body, did he not? So perhaps he could give in. For now. There would be opportunities, right? … and Yagyuu did not seem to want to cause him harm. He could not trust that, though … shit. No time left, Masaharu, make your decision. The devil you (sortof) know, or the devil you don’t know at all. “It’s not as if I’ve got anywhere better to go, I suppose,” he said, voice lazy and disinterested.
“I’ll take that as you’re staying.” He would’ve figured Niou would’ve fought him tooth and nail and punches already thrown by now. Quite surprising if he did say so. An apologetic glance was cast to Sanada as he waved him off. “Sorry for wasting your time, Sanada. You may leave. Oh… and can you have Yukimura bring the boy he chose up?” Sanada nodded and left, grumbling under his breath as he wandered through halls in search of the bluehaired boy.
Once Sanada had left Yagyuu turned back to Niou, a hand waving out to various pieces of furniature. “Make yourself at home. You won’t be expected to do anything for a few days as long as we don’t run into any problems.”
At home. Niou snorted softly and sat down on a chair that looked particularly well-loved. Well, Yagyuu wasn’t going to be getting any use out of it for a while, if he had his way. … so now what?
Yukimura had been busy concocting something of varying degrees of evilness, with Inui’s patient assistance and watchfulness — mostly to ensure that the other young man did not use too much of the supplies he might need prior to their docking at Ava — in the infirmary when Sanada had arrived. “Genichirou,” he said, voice lighting up — he’d had a wonderful day so far, and not even his partner’s perpetual stoic gloom could affect that. Sanada’s gloom was something he found amusing — breaking beneath that solemn mask was something he took great pleasure in. “What do you need me for?” –because Sanada tended to seek him out only when he needed or wanted something, whether that be tangible or intangible. Yukimrua was good at providing intangible things.
Sanada wasn’t quite sure he wanted to know just what Yukimura was cooking up, and it was probably better for his sanity if he didn’t. “The captain wants you to bring your new toy up to his cabin.” he relayed, an eyebrow arching in something of morbid curiosity at various bubbling things around the room. “When you have a moment.”
Damn. Well, he could trust Inui with the rest of these things, after all. “Sadaharu, if you can take over from here?” he asked, and for a moment he ignored Sanada as he and the other spoke quickly of what was necessary to be finished. Yukimura’s notes were explicit, so he had little to be concerned over.
“Yagyuu wants to see Akaya?” Yukimura asked as he settled into place next to Sanada, standing just the slightest bit too close; it wouldn’t do to have any issues arising from this. He well-remembered the last time Sanada had thought he and Yanagi were growing too friendly. The slave was a different matter, of course, but Yukimura would not stand to let Sanada’s odd notions cause him troubles.
“That’s what he told me.” Sanada replied, leading the way back to the cellblock. Doors were opened and cells passed by before he came to a stop in front of Akaya’s cell, fingers hovering over a small keypad. “This is the one, right?” He asked while punching in the correct code to unlock the door.
“Bout fuckin’ time!” Akaya growled, a small glare cast at the two older boys. “Any idea how fuckin’ uncomfortable these things are? Jeez, even the prison cells were better furnished than this crap.” Just a little bitter, it seemed.
“Yes, actually,” Yukimura said, though his pleasant smile held just a bit of razor edge as eye snarrowed and then widened again. “You’re going to get to meet the captain again. You should be pleased. You can make your complaints directly to him.”
Akaya did not look much the worse for wear, despite no doubt being cramped and uncomfortable. It was better than Yukimura had gotten before, so he gave it no concern. A slave was, after all, a slave. Even if he would shortly belong to him.
“Tell your beloved captain he can shove it.” Akaya grumbled, jerking only slightly as he was caught by the cuffs and pushed forward. Nope, Sanada wouldn’t have none of that. “Shut your trap, elfboy.” He snapped none too kindly. Jeez. Kids these days were soft.
“Sanada,” Yukimura said, before moving into the Bril language, one he was far more confortable in speaking than Standard, though the same was not true for his companion, “[Please don’t manhandle him without asking first? He’s mine, and I want him unmarked for now. You can play with him later.]”
Indeed. He hadn’t been allowed to touch any of the captured soon-to-be-slaves this time around — Yanagi had said something about tainted and marked merchandise, which had made Yukimura very disgruntled for a time before giving in. They did need the money; while they were right on track to earn enough for the next month’s berth in Soush, it wouldn’t do to fall behind, and Yagyuu WOULD have a good talk to him if he were to cause the amount they’d win to go down in a significant manner. Of course, if Yagyuu was that concerned, they wouldn’t be holding back two slave boys who were quite attractive and would likely bring a very high price… he smirked and reached forward to muss dark hair.
“[Teach him some manners then or take him yourself.]” Sanada replied gruffly, a semi-glare cast at the curlyhaired little ball of bitchiness seething at him. The hell did Yukimura see in this kid, anyway? Looked like he’d rather bite your fingers off than be fed.
“‘ey! Cut that out!” Akaya snapped, head ducking to get away from seeking fingers. “Ever heard of personal space? Jesus fucknuts.”
Yukimura ignored the outburst to continue talking to Sanada, though he did not release the boy’s hair, fingers tightening painfully. “[I intend to, but Yagyuu hasn’t quite given me ownership yet. When that’s finalized, then I’ll take care of things. And — you know, Genichirou, sometimes they’re more fun when they haven’t been tamed yet.]” And Sanada should know, considering the circumstances they’d met under.
Akaya winced, teeth gritted tightly as his hair was pulled and tugged on. Fuckin’ hell didn’t these jackasses know that shit hurt? All he could do though was growl, he knew if he tried to jerk away it’d just hurt even more and without full use of his hands trying to fight wouldn’t help at all. And what the hell were they talking about? A strange language the youngest of the bunch didn’t understand at all.
Sanada rolled his eyes, head shaking just a bit as they approached Yagyuu’s quarters. “[Yagyuu always did like you better.]” He knocked on the door and waited for it to open before ushering the other two in.
Yagyuu’s head rose at the welcomed intrusion, a come-hither gesture given. “Come in, come in, take a seat. Sanada, thank you. You may leave.” He dismissed with a wave of his hand. Sanada nodded, and left. “Well then.”
Akaya just stared. And growled. And really wished the Yukimura bastard would let go of his damn hair already. “Fancy seein’ you here, Niou.”
Yukimura watched Sanada leave with a fond sigh; he really had better dedicate some quality time to his partner, and soon. He hadn’t had much of a chance recently. He let go of Kirihara’s hair after a moment. “Don’t try anything, Akaya.” he warned softly, though he was smiling.
“Hey, brat,” Niou said laconically, waving from the sideways position he’d taken in the very comfortable chair, knees tossed over one arm. The silent waiting for ‘Yukimura’ to arrive with Kirihara had gotten on his nerves, but he didn’t want to get into an argument just yet. And it’d be a good idea to watch whatever was going on to get an idea of what the new Yagyuu was like.
“Bite me.” Akaya grumped, somewhat relieved when the pull on his scalp faded away. Jerk. Where the hell’d he get off telling him what to do?
Yagyuu cleared his throat, an eyebrow raised curiously at the exchange. Whatever, there were slightly more important matters at hand. “Yukimura.” he started, head slightly. “Since you seem deadset on having him, tell me, what do you intend on doing with him? You realize we could get a nice sum of money for him.” That was Yagyuu for you. Stay indifferent, don’t even recognize the boy as a person with a name.
Yukimura smiled, at which point almost anyone could have understood why he was the captain’s favorite — rather, it was that he could say almost anything, and from that face and in that mild voice, even a death threat seemed harmless and pleasant. It caused Sanada no end of grief, but then again, Sanada enjoyed privileges few others did. Even trade-off, Yukimura rather thought.
“I’m going to train him properly, though I’ve yet to decide on his role,” Or inform the boy that he was now Yukimura’s property, but Akaya would surely figure that out on his own, he wasn’t a stupid boy — “For the moment, I intend to test his aptitude and then I shall decide where to place him. If he is suitable, I may place him into the crew. If he is not usable in such a manner, I’m sure we can sell him later; the main Bril markets have high going prices for trained slaves.”
Niou listened to this carefully, and then considered that perhaps he was the luckier of the two. The way this pleasant, pretty boy spoke made him think that there was a lot more to him; the opinion he’d had of the stranger who had captured them didn’t change a bit. He hoped Kirihara wouldn’t make any of his typically unthought-out remarks.
“I see.” Yagyuu replied, gaze raking over the young man fidgiting off to the side. That’s what Yukimura had his heart set on, huh… “You haven’t collared him yet. Do so and begin training as soon as your shift’s over and you’ve eaten.” He paused for a moment, finger tapping on his chin in thought. “However if training him starts affecting your work, you’ll have to give him up. If he can’t be sold, I’ll have Jackal kill him.” But even if Akaya wasn’t suitable for bridge work he could still be put on maintanance or something.
“Oi. Wanna stop talking about me like a fucking dog? I have ears, yanno. I can comprehend what the fuck you’re saying and I’m tellin’ ya now I ain’t gonna be no one’s bitch.” Akaya growled, hands balling into fists, tensing and relaxing in repitition. What a load of fucking bullshit.
“Do shut him up.” Yagyuu said a little crossly, an eyebrow raising at the outburst. Maybe he should invest on getting the brat a gag.
“I haven’t started on him yet, so my options are rather limited at the moment, unless you would like me to sedate him. I’d prefer to have him walking under his own control, though.” Yukimura said, though he obviously found Kirihara’s attitude amusing. “Is there anything else you need me to take care of? I’ll take him to my quarters, otherwise.” It was a good thing he’d insisted on having his own room despite normally staying in Sanada’s. He seriously doubted Genichirou would appreciate having this young pup in their room, though he might be convinced to take part in some of said training. “You might want to collar your own, captain,” he said, lips curling into his usual smirk; Yukimura’s way was small needling pushes.
Niou watched the way that the crazy guy — Yukimura, he guessed — ignored Kirihara’s complaint and decided that he was much better off with Yagyuu, at least at the moment.
“Must be losing my touch. He got it off.” Yagyuu replied carelessly, waving to the strap and buckle laying on the floor a few feet away. “In any event, settle him in — restrain him if you have to, if I find him wandering alone I will not be happy — and return to your duties. You may leave.” It might be interesting to see just what sort of magic Yukimura could work with the boy. Work some of the sass out of him, perhaps. He had his hands full enough listening to Marui’s complaints when he was ordered to do something he rather wouldn’t.
Yukimura glanced at the collar lying on the floor, and chuckled. “I’ll see that you get more suitable collar.” Of course Yagyuu would prefer the simple, old-fashioned collars, but those were really only useful for properly domesticated slaves; those like the one his captain had chosen and Akaya would not yet accept their positions and wear such a collar properly as the status symbol that it was. To wear a collar so easily removed was to be considered valuable and trusted; ‘Niou Masaharu’ obviously did not think much of his position yet.
“You have my thanks again, captain.” As well as his month’s pay, he was certain, but that sum was not such a loss when he was allowed to loot. “Come, Akaya,” he said, though he expected he would have a fight on his hands in a moment. Untrained slaves were such fun.
“I shouldn’t be needing it but do have one prepared just in case.” Yagyuu replied, eyes narrowing slightly as a small smirk crossed his lips. And so it starts. Idly he pondered timing just how long it would take for Yukimura to actually get the boy out of the room.
Kirihara of course, was thoroughly Not Thrilled at being ordered around like a dog. “No way. Would rather go back to my cell than go anywhere with you.” Yeah so, his priorities could probably do to have some straightening out and now was probably the time for that, but he wasn’t just going to blindly follow someone he didn’t even know.
“I’ll do that, Captain.” Yukimura’s smile widened as he turned to Kirihara. “You may not wear my mark or my collar yet, but you will want to listen to me. Though I find you to be quite entertaining as you are. You don’t want to piss off the captain. He’s less tolerant than I am. You can move on your own, I can pull your hair again, or I can sedate you and I’ll have someone drag you to my quarters that way. It’s your choice.” His hand drifted close to what appeared to be a small gun attached to his hip, but on closer examination was revealed to be a medical instrument that Kirihara would no doubt find familiar — guards often carried the small dart guns for use in subduing trouble-making prisoners in the work camps.
…Yerk. He hadn’t liked those things even before the first time (of several) he’d been shot with them. If it was anything like the ones they’d had back in the facilities he had the feeling if Yukimura did shoot him with it, he’d wake up with one hell of a headache and be quite sluggish for several days. Not a nice feeling. “……” Had he actually thought either of the other boys in the room would be of any help he’d probably cast a pleading glance, but no such luck. Despite a rather wild streak of disrespect and utter disdain for authority figures – he knew when to give up.
“Fine. But don’t fuckin’ touch me.”
Yagyuu watched on with an amused smirk, gaze occassionally flicking to a clock on the wall. Going on three minutes, he had to give the kid credit. Not many could resist Yukimura for that long.
“Oh, not yet, anyway.” Yukimura decided not to push it for the moment, instead nodding towards the doorway that opened when he touched the pad beside it. “Out you go.”
When Kirihara and Yukimura had exited, Niou gave his ‘old friend’ a strange look. “Interesting people you have working on your ship. What’s he going to do, turn the kid into a fucktoy or something?” –not that he wanted to give Yagyuu any ideas, but it’d be nice to know what was happening to the brat. They weren’t friends, but they were both going to be stuck in faintly similar situations.
Akaya remained silent, attempting to calculate his chances of actually making a break for it while the older boy trailed him and directed him where to go. Given his current situation it wasn’t very likely.
“Rowdy bunch of guys but we’re the closest thing to family most of us have anymore.” Despite frequent spats between crew members they were all generally good kids. And in reguards to Niou’s question, “If that’s what he wishes to do with him, then yes.” Yagyuu replied with some disinterest. “Though I’m fairly certain Sanada would throw a fit. And you’ll quickly learn a pissed off Sanada is someone to be feared.” Because when it came down to it, when Sanada was in one of his moods, he was just plain fucking scary. Enough so that even Yagyuu didn’t want to be around him.
“As for you, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with you just yet. However I can assure you that ‘fucktoy’ as you call it isn’t currently on the list of possibilities. If you’re found worthy enough you’ll be put on some of the lower end jobs. If you do a good job and gain my trust, you’ll be promoted to something a little more accomodating. Think of it as you would one of the work camps, only with better food and only taking orders from one person instead of anyone with a badge slapped on their chest.” …Not that work camps were really all that great.
Well. That was one good thing, knowing that he wasn’t going to be expected to bend over and take one for Yagyuu. Being at complete loose ends wasn’t something to be looked forward to, though. However, he’d had his share of learning how to deal with boredom over the years of incarceration. “So you’re the only person I have to listen to, huh?” Good to know the new rules, as it were. He didn’t want to piss off that Yukimura, anyway. Not until he had a plan. “I’m not wearing that thing.” Just to set the record straight.
“Unless I give you direct orders to obey Sanada or Yukimura, yes. ” Glasses glinted in low light, something of a smirk or a grin tugging at the corners of Yagyuu’s mouth. “And unless you’d rather wear the trainee collar, you will be wearing it. It’s either that or something little more than a locked metal shackle around your neck. And believe me, those things are damned heavy. However for you I’m willing to be a tad lenient — as long as you’re in this room you don’t have to wear it.” Maybe he was just feeling nice today. Or maybe he was finally losing his mind (like he hadn’t already).
Pushing himself out of his chair Yagyuu strolled across the room to a small fridge unit. Pulling two bottles of water out one was tossed across the room to the other boy, his own cap twisted off and a long gulp taken.
“Besides. No one’ll fuck with you with that one on, Masaharu. They fuck with you, they fuck with me. And no one wants to fuck with me.” Sure several had tried before, but were quickly disposed of and made examples out of for anyone else who got the thought into their head.
Niou looked at the water bottle in his hand, having caught it easily, then at the collar on the floor, eying it as though it were a diseased dying creature. “In other words, don’t mess with the captain’s pet, is it?” He snorted softly, twisting off the cap and letting the first really good water he’d tasted in probably years slide down his throat. Much better than the recycled shit he’d had since — well — everything was recycled, usually. So this was a perk of selling out to the Bril, huh? It must pay well.
Being seen as anyone’s property did not sit well with him. But wearing a collar he’d be forced to never take off would probably be worse. Definitely be worse if he were attempted to escape; he’d never be able to pass himself off as a normal wearing something like what Yagyuu described.
Yagyuu leaned back against the counter, ankles crossing as he reguarded the other boy. “Something like that, yes. Most slaves would kill to be in your shoes right now, you know. Being something of pampered and given clothing, food and a good place to sleep.” That was the way he figured it, anyway. While currently being the leader of one of the most notorious slave trading groups around; Yagyuu himself didn’t believe in or agree with many of the things the rich and greedy would do to their new pets. And one had better believe if Yagyuu caught any of his crew members unjustly mistreating their slaves the punishment would be quick and severe.
But onto other subjects.
“That boy — how well do you know him?”
Sure, Yagyuu had a point. But when Niou considered the fact that in six more months, his case would be up for review and there was a strong chance that he’d have been free again — completely, totally free — suddenly being told he was a slave and that was what life held for him from now on wasn’t anything he wanted to accept. Even if it was better than being a ‘normal’ slave, he still wasn’t his own person.
“Kirihara? He’s all right, I guess. We’ve been cellmates for about five or six months. He’s a brat, from pretty rough stock, but I didn’t ask about his past and he didn’t ask about mine, for the most part. We’re not friends, but we get along as long as we ignore each other.”
It was all Yagyuu could do not to spit water out of his nose. Cellmate, huh? “Figured you’d be stuck in solitary confinement after I left. Amusing to know they were able to… replace me if you could say that.” But then again, the Kirihara kid did seem to have a bit of a nasty streak in him so it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if he had murdered someone or worse. He’d have to check into Yanagi’s files for a background on him later.
But enough of this, he had other things he needed to do. “If you’ll excuse me, I have some business to attend to. You’ll stay here. Shower if you want — there’s a change of clothes in the chest of drawers and mess is in about forty five minutes if you’re hungry. I’ll be back for you then and I expect you to be wearing that collar when I return. And don’t even bother trying to look – I don’t keep weapons in here.” Yagyuu didn’t give the other boy a chance to reply before skittering out the door, a few keys punched onto a pad by the door to ensure it could only be unlocked from the outside. And so, he went about doing his captainly duties.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the ship….
“….the fuck do you want from me.” Kirihara growled, a challenging glare focused on Yukimura. He didn’t like this, he didn’t like it at all. He especially didn’t like the sinking feeling of impending doom in the pit of his stomach. The trip back to Yukimura’s room had been fairly uneventful, given that Kirihara had a strong feeling the older boy would actually use the darts on him if he tried anything. Wasn’t this just great.
Yukimura looked up from his reprogramming of the door’s keypad and gave the younger boy Genichirou-Disarming Smile #28; it did not have its usual effect, of course, but that mattered very little. “Tell me, Akaya, what do you think I want from you?”
A loaded question, indeed. But it would be good to know the boy’s expecations before he changed them completely. He would have to be careful of Yagyuu’s supervision, he felt; it was far too likely that this one might push him to the edge of forgiven behavior. But it would be good to devote his free time to a new project — he hadn’t been able to focus on a single subject like this since he’d met Genichirou… he brought himself back to the present.
“Don’t fuckin’ know, that’s why I asked you.” Akaya said warily. What the hell did he expect? “Wait. I know. You want me to wait on you hand and foot and act like a damn dog, answering to your every beck and call. Too bad, ain’t happening.” That smile. It was creepy. It gave him the friggin chills. It was probably right about then that Akaya decided he hated that smile and never wanted to see it again.
“Not exactly, though close. There are certain expectations you WILL fulfill, if for no reason other than I want you to realize your place and position, and you will need to be prepared for your next owner if you do not satisfy me.” Yukimura’s smile changed to Genichirou-Warning Smile #14, also known as Strikes-Fear-Into-the-Heart-of-Renji.
“If you behave, you’ll earn yourself a place on this ship. If you do not, I shall sell you on the auction block.”
That…wasn’t very reassuring. If he could’ve, Akaya would’ve already bolted and headed for the high hills just to get away from that damn creepy smile. Who the hell taught this kid how to deal with people, anyway?
“…what expectations?” Though at the moment he was beginning to think he’d do just about anything to just get Yukimura to stop. Smiling. Like. That. Smiling like the cat that caught the canary. Maybe he really didn’t want to take his chances.
Further beating about the bush would only be counterproductive. –And it will be fun to watch his reaction.– “Sex, Akaya. That is usually the fate of attractive, healthy slaves such as yourself and Masaharu.” Though he was still unsure as to what his captain intended to do with Niou, he suspected that eventually that subject would be breached between them as well.
“…..” No way. “No way. Never.” Somehow through years of prison systems he’d managed to keep his figurative innocence (well, there was that one girl before he’d been arrested but that was a different story all together) and he wasn’t about to let it go unwillingly now.
Akaya backed away slowly, eyes never leaving the older boys’ face and only freezing slightly when he felt his back against a wall. Damnit. Damnit damnit damnit.
Someone wake him up? Please?
So that was how it was, was it? The smile faded, and for the first time, Yukimura seemed rather serious. “I won’t say that you will have a choice, but it is up to you whether or not your lessons are pleasant. If you are sold, you can be sure that it will only be a matter of time before you are forced to learn them anyway. Now, I do have work to attend to, beyond training you, so I’ll let you think it over.” He moved past Kirihara, to the cabinet beyond his bed, entered in the correct combination, and carefully went through a series of drawers until he located precisely what he was looking for, removing a collar wrapped in sanitary plastic. He pulled the wrapping off and keyed in a code on the tiny pad attached before pulling the key free. He tossed the heavy metal ring across the room towards Kirihara. “Put that on. It will lock automatically.”
Did he really want to do it though? To put on the collar meant he was indefinately Yukimura’s until he got sick of him and sold him off like a piece of furniture. Putting it on meant he’d have to listen to everything the older boy said, do everything he said and be paraded around as someone’s property and not a human being.
But if he didn’t who knew what’d happen to him, and he certainly didn’t want to try to fight Yukimura at the moment. Fucking shitballs on a stick. Slowly but surely Akaya kneeled, arms reaching out to catch cold metal in his fingers. He shook slightly, whether it be from the sudden chill he felt or actually being scared, who knew. He gulped, pausing for a moment before taking that one last step and latching it around a pale throat.
Wasn’t like he had much of a choice at all.
Yukimura smiled — not any number in particular — and then the expression faded as he locked the cabinet up again. Watching the boy’s inner struggle had been, for the briefest moment, disconcerting; that was a troublesome thought. He would need to speak to Sanada — he couldn’t be too soft.
Being soft never prepared anyone for anything, and Yukimura firmly believed that a person should be prepared for everything. “If you grow hungry or thirsty, there is a small refrigerator. I tend not to keep much there, but you’ll find some drinks and I believe there is some food in the cabinet above. Think about what you can do to prove yourself useful on the ship.”
No, Yagyuu would likely not be pleased to hear what he planned to do, but then again — Yagyuu knew him, and if he had forgotten about Yukimura’s past, that was his problem. “I’ll see you in a few hours, Akaya,” he said as he passed the kneeling boy, ruffling dark curls briefly before exiting the room, door sliding shut and locking behind him.
Sanada was Not Amused. Not only did he put in a hell of a lot more work around here than most people did, but he’d been around just as long as Yukimura had and what did he get? A pat on the back and told to go back to work, while his… slightly strange partner flaunted around like he owned the place and got whatever the hell he wanted from the Captain. (Sanada wasn’t quite sure he wanted to know exactly what all Yukimura was getting from Yagyuu honestly.) And fuckballs was it irritating.
And so one would find a certain asshat pony on the holodeck (because ripping off star trek is fun), merrily blasting away at people and things that weren’t really there. Practice in marksmanship one could say. Either that or it was part of the anger management course Yanagi had put him on.
Genichirou, Yukimura mused, was nothing if not predictable at times. That wasn’t a bad thing, in his opinion, though it meant that there were times his unlovable asshat pony partner had to be carefully placated and coddled and snuggled and petted back into his usual slightly disgruntled spirits. (Good spirits were really only possible when Sanada got a chance to blow things up or shoot things, and Yukimura wasn’t about to offer himself up for THAT.)
So he found his partner in that most predictable of places — he hadn’t even needed to guess, really, since Yanagi had sent him a message that Sanada had logged into his stress relief program at an unscheduled time. He was glad that his shift had just ended, since despite his wheedling, he’d yet to get Yagyuu to place ‘making Genichirou ungrumpy’ under his job description. (Pity that. He could make so much overtime pay!)
Sure, it was taking his life into his own hands to enter the shooting range when Sanada was upset, but he did that every time he switched out his partner’s shampoo with his favorite floral concoction. “[Genichirou, don’t you think you’re over-reacting just a little?]” he asked, not wanting to beat around the bush. Word games had their time and place; it was better to get right down to the problem sometimes.
“[Not at all. I’ve been running around dealing with bitchy hostages and running errands for Yagyuu all day. I’m tense and what’s a better way to deal with stress than blasting things to smithereens.]” Sanada replied, gun lowered as his program died down. Yeah he was irritated. Just a little. Okay maybe a lot.
He turned to face the other boy, an eyebrow raising just slightly. “[Don’t you have a pet to play with?]”
“[I can think of a few better ways to deal with stress,]” Yukimura answered, the slightest sly lilt to his voice as he walked across the room; he banished the coy look with his next words, however; reminding Sanada of that wouldn’t be helpful.
“[Do you really think I could find a pet more important than your moodswings?]” –He wasn’t pulling out any sort of guilt trip, really — just asking an honest question. Sanada was far too insecure sometimes…
“[Suppose not.]” Sanada grumbled, gun tucked back into its holster.
“[You suppose, hmm?]” Yukimura asked, his smile gentle and warm as he stopped a mere foot from the older boy. “[I know it upsets you that I work with slaves still, but I thought we had settled that.]” Of course, the problem was Yukimura working with the slaves that they captured, not at all; not even the training of slaves to be sold later was the problem. The problem was that he would claim one for his own. “[A pet is not a lover, Gen-chan.]”
“[Whatever you say.]” Sanada replied, brows twitching slightly in a frown. “[Was a pet really necessary? And why that little creepy thing? I feel like he’ll bite my hand off the second I get anywhere near him.]”
Yes indeed, he was in one of his bitchy moods. Could probably use for another hour or so of blasting aliens.
Unless some other form of stress relief was found.
“[…Genichirou.]” Slight disapproval was noted in Yukimura’s voice; he remained steadfast in place, which was unusual in that he tended to enjoy touching people (it made them so uncomfortable, and that was amusing, and it gave him an edge at times, even as it made Sanada twitchy). “[It was an impulse. He is a wild creature, that’s true…]” He trailed off, seemed to be considering something, then shrugged and smiled. “[Does it bother you that much?]”
“[As long as he’s nowhere near my room I think I can deal.]” Sure, he’d be jealous but if that was what Yukimura wanted… he’d deal some way or another.
Yagyuu — (Nori’s!) Captain and owner of ship
Yukimura — (Rue’s!)”First mate” — in charge of training and handling of slaves and such
Sanada — (Nori’s!) security/offensive/weapons, joint “First mate” duties (he just THINKS he’s in charge)
Yanagi — (Rue’s….) Financial and logistical, navigation
Jackal — (Nori’s =p) “regular” crewmember assigned to guarding Marui, under Sanada’s jurisdiction. frequently ends up cooking (see Marui)
Marui — (Rue’s!) “hostage” — usually acts as normal crewmember, under Yagyuu. frequently ends up cooking.
Niou — (Rue’s) recently captured slave and delinquent
Kirihara — (Nori!) recently captured slave and now Yukimura’s favorite toy
Nitobe — Rue
Kamio — Nori
Dan — Rue
Atobe – Rue
Shinji – Nori
Inui – ?