Chapter Fifteen
 

Who died and made you king? Kogure almost chuckled aloud at the pitiful pun, but faced down the man in front of him thoughtfully instead. "Why were you watching me?"

The kingís own glare narrowed. "I wasó"

"You have an oath of faithful honesty as king, donít you?" he stepped closer, noting that the younger manís hands were trembling slightly as he backed away as far as he could before hitting the wall. Abruptly, his fists clenched.

"Iím going to call the guards in if you donít leave."

There it was again, that kingly tone, that voice which was used to complete and absolute obedience. It had probably been instilled in him from the moment he was born. Not that he cared very much for it. He moved forward swiftly and pinned the king to the wall with one hand on the slim shoulder.

"Will you?" he asked, tilting his head conversationally and raising an eyebrow. Getting no response, he sighed.

"You said you wouldnít touch me."

He growled. "I never said that. I said I wouldnít kill you."

The king was nervous, he could see that. What did he have to be afraid for? Surely he knew that as long as Sendoh was injured, he would not do anything? Yet he was frightened, and unusually so, for that matter. It probably had to do with the subject, so he decided to try again.

"I asked you why you were watching me."

He breathed softly and evenly, watching as the ebony tendrils dipped over the kingís eyes as the latter looked at the ground. What was going on? He didnít like not knowing, and with gut instinct that had never failed him, he knew that whatever was the matter had something to do with the Haka Assassins being present in the royal palace. More so than rightfully required.

Perhaps he had been a patient person, back in another lifetime, because they stood there, as if a tableau, silently, for a good while, him waiting, the other quiet. Strangely, he felt none of the bloodlust that came with a helpless living being, none of the uncontrolled impatience that over-often took over his lucid mind for those few fatal moments. If anything, I rather enjoy this peaceÖI must be going mad. How long had he been standing there?

The king looked up.

"Iím attracted to you."

Whatever the assassin had expected, it was not this. And whatever reply Kogure might have formed, died on his lips.
 

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In the shadows below, two figures crouched, watching the silhouettes behind the curtains intently.
 

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Rukawa was not usually at a loss for words, even though he rarely found an occasion to speak. This was not an exception, and his courage didnít falter even though the face of a killer before him remained mostly expressionless.

Iím telling you and I donít care about what happens next, he thought viciously, surprising even himself with his inner vehemence. Iím telling youÖ

"Iím attracted to you," he repeated, and, hesitating the barest of moments, stepped forward against the arm pinning him to the wall, closer to the man that had captured his heart. "Can you accept that?"

And I donít even know your name.

The weight on his arm pulled away abruptly even before he could blink, and he held his ground as brown eyes, quick, searching and shocked, stared wordlessly back at him. It was gone in an instant, as the veil of pure ice slipped over his veneer, and a single syllable was spoken, soft yet painfully loud as it rang in the air between them.

"No."

Rukawa stood there in the shadows. Even long after the other man had slipped away, he remained, alone, silent in his chambers.