warnings for extreme graphic violence!

Reven concentrated on his good leg - he leant carefully against Eiji's broad shoulder, and they started up the steps. There was no need for secrecy or silence now - it was obvious that Hellman would know that they approached his final lair. They'd massacred his men and women - destroyed parts of his building. Reven knew he was existing purely on his determination and his desperation now - he was badly injured, and Inoue worse. He had no idea how he would get Inoue free of the poisons - how he would get to medical supplies to see to his wounds.

Or if he ever would.

He gripped at Eiji's shoulder and felt the man take the strain. They'd face it together. Inoue was his rock - his partner. Eiji his comfort.

And what am I to him? thought Reven. If we don't both get out of here, what will this all be for, then?

He blocked the negative thoughts that threatened him again. That's me, he thought, grimly. That's my cussedness - my strength!

His knife thrust back into his waistband, his good hand clinging to one of the discarded katana, he let Eiji help him slowly up to the final door.

As they reached the doors, Eiji's throat tightened. He shuddered as his fingertips brushed across the cold metal handle, and regrouped his strength. For himself, for Inoue, and for Reven.

For peace of mind.

For revenge.

He pushed the doors open slowly, hearing his every breath, his every heart beat as he saw into the familiar ballroom-sized suite. Another shudder rang through him as he saw his first Owner sitting casually on the bed, that god-forsaken bed...

"Ah, hello," Hellman said warmly, putting down the scalpel he had been toying with and standing regally, his white suit fine and pressed. "You two came sooner than I expected, but that's perfectly alright. Was the trip pleasant?"

Eiji shuddered violently, his face contorted with both anger and fear at once. "You...!" he growled.

Hellman's eyebrows rose slightly. "Oh Eiji, I never taught you to make such faces; you're much prettier when you're screaming." The refined man hummed happily to himself and placed a finger on his chin in thought. "And you, my precious china doll with perfect black locks-- you have been most troublesome for me for the last long time."

Eiji wanted to scream, wanted to strangle the man with his bare hands. He settled for collapsing to his knees before Hellman, gripping his chest. "Fuck you..." he rasped out.

"Ah, no, I'm afraid not, Eiji," Hellman purred. "I think I'll be the one fucking you in a matter of minutes. And oh, I'll enjoy it-- it looks like you've regained some semblance of a spine." His lips curled into a delicious smile. "But that's ok; it'll make your screams all the sweeter, echoed alongside shrieks from the lips of this foul child." He glanced at Reven viciously. "This putrid child."

Eiji was lost momentarily. He didn't recall Hellman ever losing his cool demeanor in the past. He watched cautiously as the man strode across the room towards the large cabinet, behind which were several dozen monitors to display activities within the mansion.

About half of the screens were blacked out or receiving next to no image at all, but Hellman tapped his finger on one particular screen. It appeared to be within a room somewhere in the mansion, and the sweeping within it looked to be from a Colt .45.

In particular, among the blood-spattered corpses, was a man lying on a bed, and he appeared vaguely familiar to Eiji.

A soft gasp escaped Reven as Hellman's eyes narrowed. "Ah yes, you two recognize him? He's my nephew, Lucas; you, my china-doll, left him for dead in that brothel, and by the time we found him the best state we could recover him back to was a vegetative coma. Now, the icing on the cake, your bullet passes through his sweet head..."

Hellman lost his voice momentarily, before baring his teeth. Eiji shivered once more at the cold expression washing over his first Owner's face.

"I think," the white-suited male said slowly, carefully, "that I'm going to be forced into a bit of payback, my children. Normally I wouldn't break a promise, but this is very much an exception."

He turned to face the both of them, his pale blue gaze deadly. "Are you enjoying that poison, Eiji? Your heart is going to fail soon, and your lungs will become paralyzed. I don't have much to do with you before your life crumples in my hands. But I think I'll have some fun torturing your pretty partner before you leave this world, hm?"

He licked his lips and approached the pair slowly, and though Reven moved to defend, it was far too late. Eiji couldn't open his mouth to warn his partner even as the needle sank into the dark-haired man's arm, immediately injecting a foggy liquid into his veins that Eiji remembered all too well.

No struggle, no will, no resistance-- that's what the drug would do for Reven.

Cold chills ran down Eiji's spine as he cried out on Reven's behalf, a nonsensical plea for him to run.

Reven looked with amazement at his arm - at the needle hanging from it, then dropping to the ground. Hellman was out of his reach, moving very swiftly for such an urbane businessman - but then, he was so much more than that.

The drug was working frighteningly quickly - Reven thought about darting back to the stairs - he thought about throwing himself at Hellman -

He couldn't think about much at all anymore, except how his body was slowing down; how his limbs were growing heavier, his legs crumpling underneath him.

He remembered the arrogant young man in the brothel, when he'd rescued Eiji. He'd not been sure that he'd killed him - looked like there'd been more at stake that night than just a lost whore; that he'd awakened Hellman's interest in more than that lost photo.

Wish I'd killed the fucker then! he thought, viciously. And taken some others out with him!

As Hellman loomed over him, he felt the impotence creep over him. He thought he could see Eiji's wide, fearful eyes behind him; thought he could hear his own harsh breathing. But he couldn't move a muscle. Stupid! he cursed himself. Stupid, stupid move, not to kill first, and then seek later – to let this monster live to speak to us - to strike at us -

"You are indeed extremely pretty," came the hiss of Hellman's voice. "Eiji has had good luck, to attach his loyalties to such a charming new owner." The smell of his cologne was expensive - the stench of his breath was like death itself. "You were just a boy when I first heard of you, Reven. Did you think I never knew your name? But I thought that's all you'd ever be... a street rat; a whore with illusions of making something of himself. Took me a while to realize you'd teamed up with my red-haired toy here. Never thought the pair of you would cause me so much trouble. What's a man to do, eh? To protect his family? To protect his business? You'd expect me to wipe out trouble like vermin, wouldn't you? And that's what you both are! Old friendships are gone - old promises can't be honored."

Promises? thought Reven, dully. What's he mean?

Inoue's rage reached new, soaring peaks as he saw the horrors in Reven's face. And yet, he was helpless to do anything about it. He choked back a wail of agony as Hellman stepped close to the pair once more and sank his fingers into the wound on Inoue's stomach casually, as though gutting a fish. His fingers slithered inside the redhead's gut and pressed upwards, tugging at flesh and organs viciously as Inoue finally released a howl of sheer pain, fresh blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.

"This is what you get for belonging to that bastard!" Hellman roared back, his voice far from drowned out in Inoue's. "You know who I’m talking about, don’t you, Red? He was like a brother to me – then he turns against me, and takes you instead, as his protégée. And what a bright little student you were! But now this is what you get for interfering with my plans! For taking in a student of your own, in time - this little puke! This is what you get for having the sheer audacity to try and live in my city!!"

He jerked his hand back and out of the wound, splashing warm blood across the plush cream carpets as Inoue coughed and moaned in intervals, his noises almost sobs as he tried to fall on all fours but was unable to use his left arm, landing him on his side on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

But Hellman was far from finished. He turned to Reven and filled his right hand with thick black locks, pulling him to his feet and dragging him to the bed. Hellman tossed Reven onto it easily as though throwing a child's toy, and sank another needle into the youth's thigh casually before tossing the syringe at the wall, leaving it there like a throwing knife embedded into a target as he took a seat regally on the edge of the bed and regained his composure. He wiped Inoue's blood off onto the covers before clearing his throat and smiling.

"Now, gentlemen-- I have a story to tell you, just to clarify some things I'm sure you're not aware of. When I'm through, all of this will make much more sense, and you'll be able to die knowing that I had reason to eliminate the both of you, and it wasn't just whim."

He licked his lower lip and sat back on the bed, resting his weight on his palms as Reven made soft noises of struggle to himself and Inoue jerked on the floor in his own personal hell.

Hellman smiled again, looking off to the hills out the window. "It began before Inoue was even a name anybody had heard of before, you see. I was partnered in business with Kaieda – we were friends from way back, when we were young men." He grinned at Inoue's lurch at the name. "Yes, Inoue, Eiji, that’s a name from the past, isn’t it? I knew your true Master before you did. We were the closest you could be – depended on each other completely. But the son of a bitch betrayed me, though I should have seen it coming. He didn’t have the hunger that I did for this world – didn’t have the flair. He left the black market business to pursue the solitude of an assassin's life, but of course Kaieda couldn't last that long alone in the world, the sniveling fool that he was. So during the years I spent building my empire, into the picture comes sweet, young Inoue.

Our paths continued to cross over and over again, and Kaieda kept getting in the way of my deals, killing off my men. So I began to send him photos of Inoue, sitting alone on the park bench, crouching near the pond to watch the fish, reading alone in that putrid apartment. Kaieda got the message; back off or Inoue would be picked off like the fresh young fawn that he was.

But it seems I struck a bit of a nerve by threatening Inoue, after I sent one last picture of him being raped by my men.”

Eiji jerked in shock, looking up at Hellman as best he could from his place on the floor. That… that isn’t true! he tried to cry out, but couldn’t. Inoue was never…!

”Oh don’t make those faces Eiji, he was,” Hellman purred, turning his face to the redhead pleasantly. “He was drugged when it happened and probably doesn’t remember, but he was. So, back to the story—I guess I hit a nerve when I sent that picture. Kaieda came to visit and perhaps strike a bargain with me, but I was beyond civil speech; I told him his life would be mine that night. He decided then, to strike a deal: his life would be taken and he wouldn’t resist, if in exchange Inoue was allowed to live a full life as he pleased.

Naturally, things got heated-- I'm sure you remember some of that Inoue, you saw the finale, the finishing touch; as Kaieda died by my hand, pitifully. The soft bastard."

Hellman sneered.

"But I kept my word. Even as Black Death Inoue rose in the world, I made sure to keep my world and his apart. Then into the picture comes Reven the little street brat, and he starts to mix the two worlds together. One of the men Inoue killed worked under Chad… He’d reported Reven to me some time back, but I hadn't thought anything of him.

Then Chad and Reven go missing, and we learn that not only is Inoue wiping out my personal assassins in the area, he's partnered up with this goddamn pain in the ass!" He snarled at Reven. "A pet, just like your mentor was before you! Did you want to be great, like Inoue? Like my nephew wanted to follow in my footsteps? Neither of you will have that chance now, will you? So we captured Inoue, and lo and behold, there's little Reven, running away with his tail between his legs; but I still didn’t think anything of him then, you know?

Still, I decided to rid myself of Inoue though I'd keep my word and leave him alive, but no, of course, that's far too simple for one such as you, isn't it, Red?" He stood and walked over to Inoue, kicking him in the gut and making the man choke on his own blood, rolling onto his stomach and near passing out from the pain.

He continued, "And then, of all things! Reven appears once more in the city, making a name for himself after his mentor is gone! A pattern is arising here, isn't it?!" He turned to Reven this time and lifted the scalpel from the bed, running it along the inside of one of the katana wounds on his calf slowly, relishing in Reven's noises of agony.

"He nearly kills my poor nephew in one of my underground clubs-- yes, we got all that on surveillance! He moved and worked just like Inoue. It took me a while to do all the proper tracking down… and apparently during that time, it was enough recovery for Eiji here to salvage some of his old self, or so I discovered when Konrad and my men didn’t come back from their assignment to eliminate you.

“Now here tonight, you’ve gone and stolen the last threads of life from my Lucas’ hands… I have all of it on film, if we have time to watch it before Inoue over there collapses, my little china doll," Hellman seethed, spittle flying from between his clenched teeth. "After you stole Eiji from that bordello – my property! - some decisions were forced on to me. You forced them on to me! You brought it on yourselves! You remember Maxen, Chad’s henchman? He also works for me now, and he suggested something to me: you were probably the one that had that fucking photo… All. That. Time. Hell, I decided enough was enough -- I would have the both of you eradicated from my city once and for all, and forget all promises! I spent my time planning, setting things up; and so here we all are. Together at last.”

He slashed new, matching wounds into Reven's opposite leg, deeper this time but avoiding tendon just yet.

"So here the full loop is closing, my two precious children," Hellman hissed.

"Everything that started when I partnered up with Kaieda will be drawn to a close once and for all!" He turned the scalpel in his hand so he was gripping it as one would a blade to plunge into the heart of an animal, and brought it down deep into Reven's kidney and tore outwards, ripping flesh open and darkening the soft covers with blood.

"I tried to spare you both, but you just kept coming back and interfering with my plans, begging to die!" he bellowed, making the windows rattle.

Reven felt the cut to his body like a jagged spike of pain and shock. He could feel his skin peeling away from the wound; he could feel the soft, oozing warmth of his blood leaving his body. He rolled his eyes up, straining to see above his body - but there was only the ghost of Hellman's eyes, blazing there, like from some particularly psychotic surgeon.

With horror, Reven realized that that was probably what he was! The scalpel sucked its way back out of his flesh - he could imagine the trail of blood behind it, streaking what was left of his clothing. He lay flat on his belly on the bed, almost completely paralyzed by now - couldn't move a muscle to help himself.

This is it, he thought. Can only hope it'll be fast. But he knew it wouldn't be. He'd suffered a lot in his short life; he'd taken pain and abuse, and he'd tolerated it as best he could. He'd turned his life around, and he'd taken control of it all. Almost all of it. He'd had strength and power, and years with Inoue. A shorter time with Eiji.
Fuck, he thought, fighting back tears of pain and anguish. Better than some, right?

He'd wanted to protect Eiji - to help Inoue defeat this foul man, and expunge everything he'd ruined in their lives. Yet he'd never felt so helpless. He could only imagine how Eiji was feeling; terrified, probably. And he, Reven had dragged him here, to go through the horror again! And Inoue, too - he'd brought him in here, to be mortally wounded and despised.

To discover the murderer of his precious Master - to be impotent before him.

Fucking mess, Reven moaned to himself, praying that the sounds were all held inside - he didn't want to give this shit the satisfaction of hearing his frustration and hurt.

He wanted to press his face back down into the bed coverings, to shut his eyes - to block out the approach of wherever the next cut might fall....

Eiji cringed with each half-restrained wail bleeding from Reven's lips.

He wept silently every time he saw Hellman move close for another swipe of the scalpel.

"You know boys," the businessman said calmly, wiping his instrument clean on the sheets, "It's almost pathetic the state you came to me in. I would have thought Inoue at least to show up capable of standing in my presence... but you can't always get what you wish for, hm?"

He chuckled pleasantly to himself and ran the perfect blade along Reven’s upper arm, sliding it down slowly, dragging the scalpel across flesh ever so languidly, watching it part for him with fascination as he worked his way down to the wrist, leaving trickles of blood striping the unmarred flesh.

He clucked his tongue at Reven's cry, and stood, his gaze settling on Eiji once more. "I suppose you'll have to be taught a lesson for not standing in my presence, Eiji," Hellman mused, sauntering over to the redhead and crouching near his head.

With a perfectly pleased smile, he lifted Eiji's right hand and placed it softly on the floor while leaning in. As his mouth closed around Eiji's, his palm slammed down onto the redhead's broken fingers, and he ground them into the floor with all his strength, further splintering bone and shredding tendons.

Eiji's scream was drowned into Hellman's mouth as the man's tongue slithered between his lips, sliding along the blood-soaked tongue with a delighted moan of his own.

The man's other hand searched in the meantime, until he found Eiji's groin. He began to massage with his palm as the kiss deepened and he was fairly sure Eiji would never be able to use his index and middle fingers again, until he drew his lips back from his former pet's with an amused grin, Inoue's blood dripping from his lips.

"Look at this Eiji, magnificent! You've regained your ability to raise your weapon as a man!" Sheer delight blazed in his eyes as he tore open the redhead's pants, revealing the half-roused erection he'd been working at. "All the more fun!"

He lifted his scalpel and waved it as a magician would, humming happily. "Now watch carefully my pet!" he sang, as the blade dipped low and whisked along the skin from Eiji's right hip down to the head of his length, deep enough to draw blood but not so deep as to lose the arousal.

Eiji screamed, the sheer, insane terror of those months under this man's care in this very manner flooding his mind. Fresh, burning tears streaked down his cheeks as his head rolled back and forth.

Reven could feel the bile gathering in his throat - he thought he'd probably already vomited on the bedclothes, he could smell it around him, though he could barely move his head to avoid lying in the putrid puddle. His body throbbed with the pain, with the network of small, deep, vicious cuts that Hellman had visited on him.

Both his arms were now warm with fresh blood - his damaged leg ached beyond belief, the numbness having worn off in the face of such pain - his other leg had been given plenty of the Hellman caresses as well, and he'd felt the agony of harsh fingers on his stripped open flesh. He'd heard the soft laughs - he knew now that the man was truly, horribly, consciously insane.

But the sounds from Eiji were too much to bear! He couldn't see what was happening on the other side of the room, but he could hear the sickening sound of crunching bones; of slicked open flesh; could hear the screams of pure agony from Eiji.

He wanted to scream at Hellman - Come back to me, you bastard! Come back and do what you like with me, but leave him alone! Fuck, hadn't the man done enough to both Inoue and Eiji, over the years? Reven recognized the tone of Eiji's voice - he'd sunk back to the misery and fear that he'd known in the club.

He’d reverted to the man who'd been broken.

Not the loving, sensitive persona that Reven had known and sheltered - not the superb creature that had been his mentor, Inoue.

It mustn't be! Reven wrenched his battered body suddenly, desperate to see what was happening - to do something to stop it.

To his astonishment, his torso moved around a little; his hips swung him up on to his side. The movement in his body sent the nerve endings shrieking with renewed pain - but his joy at being able to move again overwhelmed it. What would he do now? What could he do?

Help Eiji! he thought, more of an instinct than plan, for his senses were stunned with prolonged agony and fear, and his body still very clumsy. Hadn't Inoue said that the drugs would wear off gradually? How gradually?

He bit his lip to stop any noise escaping him, to alert Hellman. Help Eiji, had been his first thought. Kill Hellman! was the second, close on its heels.

He was slipping away, he could feel it. Eiji felt himself--the joyous, loyal, loving man he knew himself to be-- falling down, back into the soulless shell that had been left for dead in that brothel cage.

Inoue was doing the same, unraveling, coming apart as the scalpel and Hellman's slick tongue took turns sweeping across his length.

He was in hell, he was sure of it. His heart felt as thought it was crashing against his ribs, his lungs were weak and barely rising and sinking any more; what parts of his body he could still feel were searing with pain he hadn't felt since he'd left this place the first time.

Eiji's body began to relax, his shoulders sinking against the floor and his head falling to one side as his screams faded down to simply his labored heaves for breath, though the tears wouldn't cease flowing down his cheeks, burning any cuts they trickled across.

Hellman sat up immediately, watching the changes in Eiji as utter bliss filled his face. "Beautiful, beautiful!" he whispered, leaning in and following one of the trails of tears with the scalpel, from the corner of Eiji's right eye down to his temple. "It was harder to break you the first time Eiji, but much more satisfying this time!" he mewled, as a thrilled child might.

Reven didn't think he could feel any more horrified until Eiji's screams stopped. The sudden halt shocked him - the soft, subsequent whimpering chilled him more than any fear he'd ever known in his life.