Marley is Dead

Chapter 2: The Second of the Three Spirits

© 1998 by Sardonyx

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Author's Note:

I think (hope) I finally got this section like it should be... it's hard for me to write Nephrite! Anyway, a belated thanks to all the nice people who have sent me some feedback! Credit due towards Takeuchi Naoko and Dickens' "Christmas Carol"... and now:

Marley is Dead

Chapter 2: The Second of the Three Spirits

© 1998 by Sardonyx

He was sitting in his chair, staring at his bruised hand, and the strange, deformed stalagmite he had punched.

"I was dreaming?" he asked no-one in particular.

Someone snorted. "You could call it that, though maybe you've used the wrong tense."

Kunzite knew that voice. He stiffened, and turned, glaring darkly. "You're dead."

"You know it well." replied the figure before him, "Considering you're the one who made me that way."

"I didn't." Kunzite told him, struggling a little to keep his voice steady.

"No? Well, maybe not." Nephrite shrugged, and leaned back against one of the rock formations. "Nice place you've got here."

Kunzite raised a silver eyebrow. "You came from beyond the grave to comment on my living quarters?"

"Hardly." the brunette king folded his arms and glanced around, almost scornfully. "Only trying to make small talk."

"Your small talk usually revolved around your favorite subject, and having it stand here in front of me is quite enough, thank you."

Nephrite snorted. "Witty retorts were never quite your style, Kunzite; though you've had ample time to practice them, I'm sure," he smirked slightly. "But of course, that's why I'm here."

"At least you're halfway sane." Kunzite regarded him coldly.

Nephrite laughed. "You enjoyed the First Spirit's company, then?" he bowed mockingly, "Oh forgive me, Lord Kunzite, I have yet to introduce myself. I am the Ghost of Christmas Present."

"Aren't you supposed to drag me out the window, or some such thing?"

"No." Nephrite raised a contemptuous eyebrow. "What I have to show you is... right here."

There was a pause.

"Big place, isn't it?" Nephrite glanced around. He whistled a few bars of some tuneless song, and the sound echoed throughout the room and back to Kunzite's ears.

"I suppose." The older king was beginning to miss Jadeite's insane laughter. It really was quite a large castle, and the echoes combined by a deceased adversary's presence created a fairly unnerving situation. And it wasn't easy to unnerve Kunzite.

"Well." Nephrite finally said, "This isn't horribly stimulating." He looked Kunzite up and down, "I suppose I'm obliged to give you the grand tour. Come along."

He simply turned and walked through the wall. Kunzite hung back a moment, then threw up his hands and followed. How much worse could it get, anyway?

They stood outside a second-story window, feet planted firmly upon nothing.

"Is this what you used to do for fun?" Kunzite quirked an eyebrow.

Nephrite gave him a flat look. "Just look in that window."


"Just look."

Growling angrily, unsure of why he was obeying an underling -- a former underling. How did rank go, with the dead? Or not dead. Shaking his head, Kunzite wondered just what he had gotten himself into; then he wiped frost off the window with one of his gloves, and peered in.

The room was mostly dark. A small, dying fire burned in the fireplace, providing the only illumination. Kunzite could see it was a bedroom, and upon the soft bed, a man and a woman were sleeping, their arms about one another.


"Look at her face." Nephrite suggested, with a hint of cruel irony.

Growling inaudibly, the older man looked at the face of the woman. Her green hair was spread over the pillow, and she was held tightly against her lover, making it a bit difficult to see, but he could make out -- just barely -- that she was smiling.

That was all?

He drew back, inexplicably annoyed. 'What's this all about, anyway? Is this your idea of a stupid joke, looking in through windows--"

"A joke?" Nephrite smiled, and it was not a kind smile, "Lord Kunzite, I assure you it is all in the utmost seriousness." His blue eyes bored into Kunzite's. "You saw her, didn't you," he laughed, "Aren't you glad we weren't here half an hour ago?"

"Stop it." Kunzite growled, his eyes smoldering.

"Makes me almost wish, you know, if I'd had more time. Maybe... that mortal girl." the brunette spirit shrugged, smiled a little. "But possibly I died for a greater cause." he shook his head and chuckled, "Not to say a successful one. Certainly not."

"Stop it."

"Doesn't it make you feel a little proud, Kunzite? To think-- such control. Such power."

"Stop it!"

"So simple. I always thought I was the manipulative bad boy. Would you like some 'lemonade', Kunzite? You'll see, the way I lived was fine in many more ways than--"

"Stop it!" the older man roared angrily, "Shut up! I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, naughty." Nephrite chuckled again and wagged his finger at Kunzite, "I was the better liar, you're no good at it at all."

"I don't have to listen to this!" the Ice King tried hard to preserve his dignity (not to mention his sanity), "It's only a dream. A dream!"

"Is it?" the Spirit folded his arms and took a step backward. Slowly they sank to the ground, away from the window, to Kunzite's relief. Nephrite regarded him for a long moment. "Is it, Lord Kunzite? Do you want to see more? Shall I show you... oh, say, a little girl named Tsukino Usagi?"

They materialized outside another window.

"Go on, look in." the Spirit suggested calmly, "She's asleep, quite peacefully, childishly, and -- I assure you -- smiling. Go on. Look."

"No." Kunzite sounded remarkably like a surly child, "I don't want to."

"Jealous?" Nephrite smirked, "What, Lord Kunzite, aren't you smiling now... in your dreams?"

"Maybe I would be, if you weren't in them!"

"What about the other dreams?" Nephrite laughed quietly as he saw the other man stiffen. "Ahh, I see, there are cracks in the glacier."

"Take me away from here!" Kunzite shouted, furious, "Now! I don't want to see anymore of this! Nor anymore of you!"

"No?" the Spirit smoothed his hair with one hand, and smiled unnervingly, "Well, then, I shall bid you farewell. But perhaps as I parting gift I can show you something more... suited to your temperament?"

Kunzite heard the auburn-haired Spirit laughing as he faded away from the pleasant scene.

The End of Chapter 2 - Goto Chapter 3

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