Fire and Ice

Chapter Ten

© 2004 by Shari

Beta Read by SailorTerra

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For Kunzite, the morning passed like any other. He went about his duties as normal but with a slightly icier frontage and considering his usual coldness this went about unnoticed, or rather it would have done had Kunzite not fried a dozen or so Youma for failing to complete the training exercises he had set. Even though Kunzite was the iciest of the four, he was usually good to the lower Youma, treating them not with respect but at least as living creatures and not just targets or things to take out an exceptionally bad day on.

Finally, Kunzite decided to call it a day and retreated to his bedroom, which funnily enough, seemed big and empty without Zoisite around. Zoisite... there it was; that familiar dull ache in his chest, the same ache that had been there all morning. He tried to crush this pain with anger yet even fury did not come easily to the most reserved of the kings, as it was he had retained a mostly calm voice when addressing his student, and Kunzite ended up slumped down upon the bed, staring into a glass of brandy, debating whether to get drunk or not. In the end his rational thinking won out and Kunzite promptly hurled the glass at the opposite wall. It shattered, spilling the dark brown liquid across his carpet. Whilst Kunzite frowned upon the mess it was strange at how satisfying it felt. Perhaps this was why Zoisite always threw things when he got angry... Kunzite mentally flinched thinking of the smaller king and with this came intense anger. He had allowed the little man to make a complete fool of him! Indeed he had been a fool to think that Zoisite cared anything for him other than seeing him as a way to obtain a higher rank! Why hadn't Kunzite seen through this as he had done the first time? Why did he have to be so blind to Zoisite's true intentions? Why did he have to be fond of him even now?

The bottle of brandy followed the glass. As if things weren't bad enough, the lying little rat had, with Nephrite, stolen plans from Beryl's audience chambers and attempted to frame Kunzite in the probable hopes that Beryl would kill him and appoint Zoisite the position of first king. Kunzite felt sick to think that whilst he had been asleep the little man had been planting the said evidence in his room.

Then why did Zoisite relent? What had made him hide the evidence from the Youma at the crucial moment? Kunzite massaged his suddenly throbbing temples. He didn't want to think about this. Zoisite had betrayed him just as Kunzite had suspected that he would. He had known that he would never be able to completely trust the little one and he had to go and fall for him anyway! Kunzite couldn't even bring himself to strike the little man when Metallia knew he wanted to kill him.

Kunzite! Report to the throne room immediately!

The white haired king inwardly cursed as Beryl's summons reached his ears. She always called at the most awkward times! Still, Kunzite quickly heeded her calls, knowing better than to ignore his Queen.

* * *

Zoisite hated the small series of rooms that made up his home. They were damp; indeed his bedroom was the only room that did not have a constant dripping of water running down the walls. The bed, if one could call it a bed as such, was simply a pile of cloth and a worn out mattress sitting in one corner of the dank room. There was no light, only a small candle that more often than not went out plunging him into complete darkness. After spending an hour or so alone in his room in Kunzite's mansion, Zoisite had left, deciding that the Ice King would simply not tolerate his presence at the moment. He scowled and again cursed the dank atmosphere, which only added to his foul mood.

Of course Zoisite knew he was lucky to get his own quarters. For most of his life in the Dark Kingdom he had spent his time at various training facilities or sharing his superior officer's quarters. He shivered, pulling a tatty blanket around himself for added warmth. His uniform lay where he left it; a crumpled mass of shredded cloth. He had torn it in a fit of rage not an hour ago. He couldn't bear to look at it knowing how he had achieved that and that he had hurt Kunzite-sama in the process. If only Kunzite had let him explain that he didn't have a choice but couldn't go through with it in the end anyway. He would never hurt Kunzite-sama... he loved him too much. Zoisite sniffed; his eyes already raw from crying and indeed no more tears would fall; he did not have any left. He snuggled further under the blanket, wearing nothing but the jacket belonging to Kunzite. He could still smell the familiar musky scent of his lover on the clothing and it was as if by holding onto it, Zoisite could keep him with him.

Perhaps he should go back there and force Kunzite-sama to listen to him? Kunzite-sama was reasonable wasn't he? If Zoisite were honest then maybe Kunzite would forgive him?

Forgiveness? The Ice King would never forgive anyone, let alone someone who humiliated him so and nearly got him charged with treason.

Zoisite whimpered. Kunzite would not forgive him and he knew what he would do. He would go to Beryl and explain that he did not feel worthy of the elevation that he had been given. Of course Beryl would be furious and would demote, if not kill him but it was the only way to show Kunzite that he was serious. That he did not care for rank or power. Zoisite bit his lip, the mere prospect of this too terrible for him to imagine. Still... now he couldn't imagine a life without Kunzite-sama.

This line of thought was snapped off by a crash in the hallway. Zoisite froze and softly demanded to know who was there. The response was the door crashing open, torn from its hinges it fell to the floor. The little man had hardly any time to react before it was upon him. It struck with lightening speed, knocking him down, snarling as a pair of razor sharp claws swiped at his face. Zoisite rolled aside at the last moment and the hand embedded itself in the floor. He quickly called up an ice dagger, searching around blinding for the Youma, realizing with a chill that in the dark it had the advantage. As it lunged forwards again Zoisite hurled the dagger blindly in the vague direction of the creature and a smirk twisted his mouth as the blade struck home with a sickening thud. The Youma screamed, howling in agony and then a louder thud followed. Zoisite stepped back, wiping the sweat from his brow he attempted to gather the millions of thoughts racing through his mind into some kind of order. Who had sent that Youma? Was it Kunzite-sama? No... that couldn't be... could it, or was it Jadeite and Nephrite? Zoisite stepped over the body, his intension being to confront the two cowards. This proved to be a foolish move.

Zoisite shrieked as it struck, catching him round the face with a clawed hand, digging into the sensitive flesh of his cheek. Zoisite was thrown back by the force of the blow and smashed into the wooden front door. His back hit stone and his vision started to drain. The last thing he saw was the shadow of the Youma looming over him.

* * *

Kunzite had never been one for questioning orders, even if he thought that the commands would place him in terrible danger, he would obey simply because he was not to question the whims and wants of his Queen. Today, however, he had been feeling suicidal and had invoked Beryl's wrath on more than one occasion. The malevolent Queen had decided to move the attack on the Moon Kingdom forward to one year's time. Why? Not because they had already gathered enough energy to fuel Metallia's awakening or even because they had recruited the number of troops sufficient to launch such an attack. No, Beryl's decision was simply blinded by emotions of rage and jealousy. All of which were directed at the Queen of the Moon Kingdom's daughter, Serenity. It was well known that Beryl had a thing for Prince Endymion of Earth. It was also well known that Endymion was truly in love with Serenity. This was why, in a years time, Beryl had decided to crush the Earth and the Moon and claim Endymion was her own. Kunzite supposed he should be thankful that Beryl was going to wait a year to lead them all to their deaths. This led to his own personal problem; Zoisite.

In order to claim victory in a year's time, Beryl had been adamant that Kunzite and Zoisite leave for the Earth Kingdom, at once to do some reconnaissance work. She wanted to know how many troops guarded the palace, which would be the best direction to launch an attack from, what were the kingdom's defence weakened and, most importantly of all, what were the whereabouts of Prince Endymion. Kunzite thought his Queen to be foolish and had voiced his protests. Beryl had hated this and Kunzite was forced to back down. He knew that the real reason Beryl was sending him to the Earth was to spy on Endymion and he did not like it one bit.

Of course now he would have to try to make amends with Zoisite first, despite the fact that Zoisite was the one who betrayed him! Kunzite scowled angrily at this and the fact that he hated this part of the kingdom. Youma roamed everywhere and the sewage from the better part of the realm was dumped here, Kunzite could hear his boots squelching in the filth, the smell invaded his nostrils and he again wondered how Zoisite could live in this and decided that perhaps obtaining a better rank was spurred on by the promise of living somewhere half decent. Just as Kunzite's want to turn back won out, a piercing shriek sliced through the silent atmosphere. Youma scattered in alarm but Kunzite broke into an almost run, his heart skipping a beat when he recognized that scream.

He halted in front of a shabby looking dwelling tucked away from most of the others when it became clear that the shrieks were coming from inside. Kunzite debated going inside but it turned out that he did not have too. The wooden door groaned and gave way, wood splintering and falling all around him. Kunzite took a step back, partly in shock as he let fly an energy sword. It struck, piercing the heart of the colourful Youma. It was dead before it hit the ground.

For what seemed an age Kunzite stared down at the unconscious little one, two thoughts racing through his mind. The first was to help him and this disturbed Kunzite somewhat. Why should he help Zoisite after all the little one had done to him? The other was an urge to finish him off whilst he lay helpless. The first won out and Kunzite found himself kneeling beside the little one, a hand brushing little splinters of wood from his delicate face and silently despaired at the ugly gash marring the pale skin. Making another decision, Kunzite placed his palm atop Zoisite's cheek and willed a small amount of his magic to flow from his hand and into the wound. After a few seconds, he removed his palm, the wound was healed and even the blood had gone. This magical aid brought Zoisite round. His eyes opened slowly, as he glanced around the filthy caverns of the kingdom and finally came to rest on Kunzite.

"Kunzite-sama?" he croaked, a shaking hand pressed against his cheek, "My face?"

"Get up" Kunzite commanded, and when Zoisite tried and failed, the older man wrapped an arm around him and let a teleport take hold of them both, transporting them to his quarters. As they reappeared, Kunzite felt Zoisite slump against him, unconscious as the trials of the day took their toll. All the while berating his actions, Kunzite found himself lifting the little one off of the floor and into his arms, startled at the reasoning behind his actions and not liking it one bit.

* * *

Hidden in the shadows, a figure watched as the Ice King had teleported the smaller man away.

"Damn you, Kunzite" Jadeite growled softly before disappearing in a flash of yellow light, "Damn you."

The End of Chapter 10 - Goto Chapter 11

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Disclaimer: Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha and Toei Animation. All characters, settings etc. are used without permission. This is an amateur fiction, and I definitely won't make any money of it.

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