Fire and Ice

Chapter Eleven

© 2004 by Shari

Beta Read by SailorTerra

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Kunzite stared at Zoisite; he had been watching the little one sleep for the best part of an hour whilst he tried to assemble his own thoughts and feelings into some kind of order. Why had he saved Zoisite from the Youma, which had quite obviously been sent by Nephrite to kill him? If anything Nephrite was doing Kunzite a favour! He growled softly to himself when thinking of the second king. Kunzite could not allow Nephrite to get away with his aspirations of stealing his rank. In fact, Kunzite still had to choose a suitable punishment for the little man asleep in his bed, though Kunzite knew deep down that Zoisite had more than learnt his lesson, but the Ice King knew that he could not appear to lose face in front of his inferior kings.

As he processed this thought, Zoisite started to stir. He mumbled something incoherent and opened his eyes. He frowned slightly when he realised where he was and even more so when he noted how close to him his teacher was. Kunzite stood up, moving from his position knelt down beside Zoisite and sent out a whisper of magics, just as Zoisite opened his mouth to speak.

A strangled gasp was all that escaped Zoisite's lips as the spell took hold, robbing the youngest king of his voice. His left hand flew to his throat, though his mouth kept moving silently as a look of horror and some fear started to mist over in his emerald green eyes.

As Zoisite moved, so did Kunzite. The little king bolted off of the bed, or would have done had Kunzite not predicted this and sent out a second wave of power, this time to propel the younger man backwards. Zoisite lay stunned as Kunzite walked back round to the bed and placed a hand upon his forehead in a seemingly gentle touch. The little one's eyes slid closed as the sleep spell took hold and Kunzite, satisfied that Zoisite would not wake until the spell was removed, left the room to try and assemble his own thoughts into some sort of order.

* * *

Zoisite drifted in and out of consciousness. Misted images of Kunzite's bedroom filled his mind in the brief moments that he was awake; he would even imagine that Kunzite-sama was at his bedside taking care of him. Illusions, nothing but illusions brought about by his pain he told himself and indeed it hurt. It was an agonising sharp pain in his head that would bring him round for a few seconds. Long enough for him to whimper in agony and then he was gone again, back into the realm of nothing that he was becoming accustomed too.

He loathed this nothing... it filled him with dread. Zoisite was afraid... he didn't want to die though he knew, with a bitter realisation, that before the Youma had struck he had wanted to die.

It was this nothing that forced him to open his eyes and this time when he slid towards unconsciousness again, Zoisite gripped the mattress beneath his fingertips and willed it away. He laid still, waiting and simply becoming used to the waves of pain that buffeted him and the effort that staying conscious took. Zoisite was amazed that he was alive. What had saved him from the Youma attack? He found his answer knelt down beside the double bed that he was all too familiar with.

The sight of Kunzite was enough to bring back some half faded memories. Kunzite had healed the gash on his cheek? Kunzite had rescued him from the Youma? It did not make sense... it could not...

"Healing is an abstract way of relieving suffering. Whereas our magics are able to manipulate the physical world, we can do nothing other than speed up the healing process. We cannot take away pain and nor can we heal wounds inflicted upon us from other magical sources. Mortals look upon healing as a great gift, where we see it as a curse. There is no quick way to relieve yourself or others of pain. It, like everything else, takes time."

Jadeite did not know much in the art of healing, nor did Nephrite and Zoisite was surprised that Kunzite had taken it upon himself to learn. The blonde did not teach Zoisite any of these spells. Again the little king felt the smooth expanse of skin where his wound had been. Kunzite's power was far greater than Jadeite's or Nephrite's. Still, even the Ice King could not take away the pain. As much as it hurt, Zoisite knew it was nothing compared to the mental ache he was feeling in his heart.

Still he had to try and make amends, and he opened his mouth to speak, his voice cutting out before he had even begun. Zoisite felt a short, sharp pain in his throat. He gagged and a hand flew there, even as the pain subsided as quickly as it had come. Yet Zoisite continued to mutely plead with his lover, not that Kunzite cared to heed the silent pleas and dully, Zoisite realised that Kunzite intended to punish him for his actions.

Did he care? Zoisite did not even know anymore, even though his body attempted to react to this chilling knowledge and seek escape. Kunzite reacted faster, pressing palm to his aching brow. Zoisite suddenly felt a wave of fatigue overtake him as the sleep spell wrapped itself around his mind. He could not hope to fight Kunzite-sama, and indeed he did not wish too. All he could do now was succumb to the pull of the spell and wait for the end...

* * *

An hour later, Kunzite found himself back in his bedroom. The sleep spell worked better than he had dared to hope and Zoisite slept on.

Staring at him, Kunzite found that the hour alone had done some good. His feelings for Zoisite were still there but he had managed to keep them somewhat muted even when faced with the little one's beauty. The Ice King had also come to the uneasy conclusion that he could not kill Nephrite. Beryl would not allow it and Kunzite knew that if he did fight the auburn haired man he would end up killing him. No, there were more ways to skin a cat and Kunzite had realised that the answer had been staring him in the face for too long now.

"Wake up" he commanded softly to the sleeping king and Zoisite's body reacted to the command. Slowly the little one opened his eyes. He stared at Kunzite, his hands gripping the sheet beneath him. He didn't speak, perhaps he was afraid too. Kunzite did not know. They simply stared at each other until Kunzite broke the silence by saying:

"How are you feeling?"

This stunned the little man. His eyes widened in the shock that Kunzite could still possible care about him and he half mumbled a reply. Kunzite smiled, the gentleness in this expression belying his true feelings as he conjured a perfect flower and held it out to Zoisite. Zoisite took it, inhaling the sweet smell of the rose and then dared raise his eyes to look Kunzite in the face fully.

As he did so, Kunzite leaned forward and pulled the younger man into his arms. Zoisite melted against him, wrapping his arms around Kunzite's back. Yes... Kunzite could feel the need, the fear and the desire burning in the young man's soul. Allowing none of his own wants to filter through, Kunzite kissed him. Zoisite was momentarily stunned by the icy embrace but returned the kiss with the passion that Kunzite would not allow himself to show.

"I don't understand" Zoisite murmured against Kunzite's chest, "You should hate me."

His reply was enough to force Zoisite to pull away.

"I do."

"Then why?" Zoisite demanded, his eyes flashing in anger as well as pain.

Kunzite shook his head, a small smile playing on his lips. "As I said to you once before, I do not take pleasure from torture and killing you, even now, would prove to be a waste of talent and beauty."

"K-Kunzito-sama?" he whispered, shocked disbelief clearly showing at this response. Kunzite did want to exact revenge, but what point would there be in taking his revenge to someone who was willing to accept the pain? Though, he was sure that even if he did, Zoisite would still be as faithful and as loyal as ever. No, he needed the little one alive. He was simply more use to Kunzite whilst he was living and breathing.

It was clear that his fellow king sought to obtain Kunzite's rank and that would mean his death. Whilst he outclassed Nephrite in magics, Kunzite could not be sure that he would not try other means. He needed someone loyal to him. Youma could not be trusted. He needed Zoisite and Kunzite hated himself for it.

"What about Nephrite?" Zoisite asked suddenly, realising that his lover had not made a move against the auburn haired king since he had found out.

Kunzite smiled and Zoisite shivered. There was something about Kunzite's demeanour that unsettled him.

"Queen Beryl moved the attack on the Moon Kingdom forward to a year's time. We are supposed to go to the Earth realm to get a feel for its defences and weaknesses. We will be leaving tonight."

Zoisite frowned, "What about Nephrite?" he repeated, a part of him angered that Kunzite was not going to kill the older king.

"Such impatience" Kunzite murmured almost fondly, "When will you ever learn?"

"But I don't understand. Aren't you going to kill him?"

Kunzite's smile widened at this, "No. You are."

* * *

"Me?" Zoisite whispered. He could literally feel the colour draining from his face as Kunzite stood, his gentleness vanishing in an instant.

"You are not afraid are you?"

"No, Kunzite-sama, but how can I possibly? He will kill me! Surely you don't want that!"

Kunzite shrugged, and turned away, "We leave tonight. I suggest you think things through whilst we are in the Earth realm."

"I don't understand" Zoisite said bitterly, "I thought you cared about me."

"Feelings have no place here. What we have is of mutual convenience" he met Zoisite's gaze and held it for several minutes before adding: "Just so we understand each other."

This is a test... it has to be... he wants to see if I am loyal enough to follow through his commands...

"Understood," Zoisite managed to choke out, his mind racing with a curious mixture of relief and fear. He was relived that he could still have Kunzite-sama, even if it meant proving himself by killing Nephrite. Of course, this was not a problem. Zoisite was no fonder of the older king than Kunzite was; no... the problem was Beryl. She would be furious, if Zoisite killed him. The little king sighed. He knew he would do anything to prove himself to Kunzite, but even if it cost him his life?

There had to be a way to kill Nephrite without Queen Beryl ever knowing that it was him. Zoisite chewed nervously on his lower lip as he thought. Strategy had never been one of his strong points. A surprise attack might not be such a bad idea... Kunzite didn't say he had to do it right away. Perhaps whilst in the Earth Realm Zoisite could persuade Kunzite otherwise.

"So we leave tonight?" Zoisite questioned uncertainly as Kunzite turned away from him, signalling that the conversation was over.

Kunzite nodded, "You can treat that as a test, too, if you like. You can show me how much of what I have taught you managed to sink in. Of course, I do expect perfection. I will not accept anything less."

"Yes, Kunzite-sama" Zoisite left the bedroom quickly, struggling to hold back tears that had been threatening to spill forth since he had awakened. He could still feel Kunzite's lips pressed against his own, but Zoisite could also feel the iciness in that embrace. It lacked the warmth and passion that it had the first time... before Zoisite had betrayed him. Outwardly, nothing appeared to have changed. Kunzite still wanted him, but kept Zoisite at a distance. His teacher's eyes no longer held any warmth or, dare he say it, love in them.

If dying meant that Kunzite would look at him in the way he had when they were first together then Zoisite knew he would quite happily go to an early grave.

"Whatever it takes, Kunzite-sama, whatever it takes" Zoisite repeated to himself. No matter what the cost...

The End of Chapter 11 - Goto Chapter 12

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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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