rinja: red umbrella in rain (let it rain)
the dread pirate rinjacakes ([personal profile] rinja) wrote in [community profile] khrminibang2010-12-21 07:27 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Nightmare's Dream (fic)
( A single move can be fatal-- this is a game that's known well to it's players. They
welcome the fine line. )
AUTHOR: [livejournal.com profile] fierin
ARTIST: [livejournal.com profile] camlann (link to art)
PAIRING/CHARACTERS: Rokudo Mukuro, Byakuran, Chrome Dokuro, Uni, Sawada Tsunayoshi, Reborn, Gokudera Hayato
RATING: PG-13


"Is there anything else to discuss?"

Nothing but silence greeted the harsh voice, tone giving no hint of any sort of generosity.

"Dismissed."

Movement -- scraping of chair legs against the floor, the shuffle of papers and the taps of feet -- indicated the exit of the handful of individuals from their superiors' presence. Not even a whisper of conversation accompanied them as they walked, the files they kept on hand their secret keepers for the time being. Eyes were everywhere, ears even more so and confidentiality was a must with the various topics discussed. At least for most.

A fork in the hallway and the group broke apart, each going their respective way, a usual occurrence. The chuckle that cut through the silence was also a usual occurrence. An unwelcome occurrence for a couple, an annoyance for others.

"Well, it's that time again, is it. Time goes by so fast, wouldn't you agree Tsunayoshi?"

Closed eyes and a humorous smile, a face of deception and overwhelming patience with a desire for play. Nothing ever seemed to change for Byakuran, not even the words from those they took orders from. If the man ever listened to them. Most believed that he didn't.

Amber eyes glanced at the other commander, some measure of uncertainty but nothing akin to apprehension even though he should have. His second had enough of that for the both of them, expression nothing but mistrust as he glared at the other man and hand hovering just over his band. A usual stance whenever meeting with the others, one that wasn't taken seriously if the light laugh that followed the demanding question what do you want? That only made him scowl more.

"How have you been, Commander Byakuran Gesso?" Tsunayoshi asked in return, placating Gokudera with a hand on his arm and a meaningful look. Not here. Green eyes held an apology as they lowered their gaze slightly, though the intensity remained as they kept on the white haired male before them.

"My, what's with these manners? Calling by my title," Byakuran mused good-naturedly. However, the others could only wonder how in good humor the other meant as lavender eyes met with cautious yet calm. A rumor among plenty that was whispered within the halls, behind hands and hunched heads. There's something to be said whenever the leader of the Millefiore faction opened his eyes and gaze met.

"But no matter if you wish to play that way Tsunayoshi Sawada, Commander of the Vongola faction." Words were nothing but layers, tones underlying tones that were done with near perfection whenever they were said. A master in the art like a certain someone that the Vongola leader knew.

Tsunayoshi remained unswayed, though inwardly wincing at the full title, vaguely aware of the hint of pride shining in Gokudera's eyes. He never wanted to hear it but knew it was inevitable to. Just like the tasks that they were given were inevitable. Like the crimson red that would stain his and the others' hands would be inevitable despite his protests to prevent it. Or to stain his own hands.

A slight tightening of his grip on his second's arm was the only indication of his disturbance.

"How rude of me to not answer your question though!" Lighthearted, filled with a laugh. Another usual. "I've been doing quite well. Isn't that right, Uni."

A flickered gaze to where the young girl stood, behind but to the side of the man, silent as she always was with her seemingly empty stare. It should have unnerved him, taken him by surprise at the lack of life within her eyes. But he wasn't and that only made his own gaze saddening a little. His stare never lasted long, always shifting away.

"That's good," was his only response. Ineloquent as always, an obvious contrast to Byakuran's smooth. "We'll be seeing more of each other, so this won't be the last until the next meeting," he attempted to recover himself.

"Indeed. I look forward to what the next few weeks will entail. The superiors always make it entertaining."

"Yes." That single word belied what he was feeling, his intuition telling him more than what his eyes were saying. It was his intuition that he believed foremost.

This year's tournament would be unlike any of the others, this was certain.

::

"Master Mukuro, it's time."

"Oya? So soon?"

The lack of answer was enough.

"Well then."

Delicate hands held out a long trench-like jacket and a top hat, as was her usual self-appointed duty to the one that stood before her. She watched as he fasten buttons and straighten his tie before taking the jacket and putting it on. All of it done with his usual smile of indulgence that almost never left his face. Those rare occasions were few and far in between; it was an indication that he was troubled by something, taken by surprise, something he didn't like. But those times were easily covered by a smile and calculating eyes, the moment lost at once.

Top hat positioned comfortably on his head, he took the last thing she held on to for him- a box that contained what he considered his most prized possession, even before his irreplaceable rings that were said to be from hell. She opened it for him, light reflecting off of the glass surface.

A slight twitch of his lips and his smile changed right before her eye, a shift he hardly showed to anyone else as it seemed much too kind, much too human to be seen by another. She was the only exception. Would be the only one.

Mismatched eyes inspected it carefully, looking for nonexistent nicks and scratches, putting it away in his inside pocket when finding none. Being so careful with such a thing, it should have been ridiculous for him to do so. But people learn that anything he does, it's hardly for ridiculous reasons.

"Shall we go, my dear Chrome?"

Hand held out for her to take, she didn't hesitate in taking it; she never would in regards to him.

"Yes, Master Mukuro."

Steps light yet still echoing within the halls as they walked, nothing more needing to be said as they made way to their destination.

The summons had arrived not too long ago, sent with crimson red stamped with the faction's crest. It easily intrigued Mukuro's eyes with its stark contrast compared to the usual ones he received; the color white with blue embellishments along the edges was such a rare sight in his life. He had almost been tempted to ignore it, knowing where it came from and not wanting to know why. It was only through his second's gentle words did he open it, now glad that he had. Otherwise he would have missed what would have been an entertaining few weeks.

Finally reaching the room, Mukuro led Chrome to the center, the circle of runes glowing brighter at their approach. The flap of wings greeted them before a mechanical voice sounded, requesting the place of destination. Lips parted, voice clear and in seconds they were gone.

::

"So the games have begun."

"They haven't started yet, Reborn," Tsunayoshi stated, voice calm yet tone heavy.

"They started the second you stepped out of that room."

Amber's gaze returned to the papers before them, him unable to keep the other's stare for too long. Each piece containing different information, but the only thing truly mattering on them was the seal at the bottom. No signature, just the sign of completion; another task finished, swiftly and efficiently as always. He placed them all aside, movements mechanical as he kept his mind blank of what his subordinates did-- will continue to do.

"I never understood the point of these games," the commander admitted, not for the first time. It had almost become tradition for him to utter those words, telling his confession to an indifferent Reborn. And as always, the man gave the same answer in response, only this time in his gaze. Tsunayoshi had memorized the words a long time ago.

"Are you going to have him play again?"

"Yes."

Silence met that answer, acceptance and understanding. Accepting in that Reborn approved of the choice and understanding in knowing that the person was best suited to the tournament that laid ahead of them. He wouldn't have chosen any differently either.

"I hate making him do this though," Tsunayoshi added after the short silence. The underlying message was clear enough, too clear for a commander to have. I don't want to use him like that.

"If you want to keep your position as the First Ship, then he's your only chance for it," Reborn reasoned. Your only choice.

"Still."

Despite being against it, Tsunayoshi knew that if he wanted to prevent Byakuran from gaining the First Ship spot, he would have to do this. Rely on the man who so hated him and the name he would represent, just like all the other times. Entwined fingers tightened briefly, same thoughts of 'if only' as before. If only I could... And the look from Reborn only said for him to stop, to not wish for something that wouldn't be granted. To stop being soft-hearted.

"Oya, such a face to greet us with on our arrival."

Tsunayoshi's gaze snapped up to the look at the two figures in front of him, surprise evident on his. Had he been so lost in thought that he hadn't heard the door open or hear the two walk in? Apparently if the amused smirk on the man's face and the small smile on the lady's were any indication. He had the decency to look sheepish before he remembered the reason why he had been so lost in thought, and the reason why the two were here now.

"Mukuro, Chrome. You got here fast." Faster than I expected.

A gloved hand pulled out the still crisp, white envelope from the inside jacket pocket, a knowing look coming from mismatched eyes. "How could we not after receiving such a request?" Voice almost mocking, masked enough only by the amusement Mukuro always held. A quick flick of the wrist sent the envelope flying, landing on the desk, the man's adapted crest stamped on the front.

The sign of completion... or acceptance.

A slow intake of breath. "Are you sure about this? It's going to be different this year."

"You doubt my abilities?"

"No!" The response was quick and if it had come from another person, Mukuro would have been suspicious of the fast reply. But it hadn't been. "No, I just--"

What could he say, what words could express how much he didn't want to do this to one of his lieutenants. That if he could, he would participate in the tournament himself rather than "requesting" Mukuro to represent him instead. That if it were in his capabilities, he wouldn't hesitate to go against Millefiore's commander in these games.

But he couldn't, and asking the other already said his admission time and again.

No words needed to be said though, a knowing look appearing on the man's face, the smile turning more of a smirk that said so much and yet nothing at all. This was what made Mukuro the most qualified in participating in the games, to face off against Byakuran Gesso of the Millefiore faction. Qualifications he lacked from the moment Reborn had told him what the games consisted of. The playing field was one that people like Mukuro and Byakuran excelled at, not one where he could enter. There's a league of difference between mental and physical.

A quiet sigh before eyes gave an apologetic look, amber meeting those dual colored eyes. He wanted Mukuro to know and understand that this wasn't what he wanted, but he knew that his silent words wouldn't get through to the man. They never did. Because the other already knew them and didn't want to hear them again.

"They start in one week," Reborn said, breaking the unease in the air. He remained where he was, leaning against the wall and just watching the proceedings, disinterest in his eyes. It was the same routine, same words being said over and over. There was no need to pay attention to something that wasn't new. "You have that much time to prepare yourself."

"That's more than enough time for me," Mukuro said, nothing but confidence. There was an edge of either mocking or boredom in his words that Tsunayoshi couldn't decipher from. It could have been both for all he knew.

"The location will be given sometime in the week. We'll give you the heads up about it when we receive word."

"I assumed you would. Who else is going to play your little game of power for you?" It was a question that needed no answer, it already hung in the air. No one. At least not up to par. "If there's nothing else, then I'll be going."

Neither Reborn nor Tsunayoshi stopped the pair as they left, Mukuro leading while Chrome followed like it always was. The commander had to bite his lip from speaking what was on his mind, to stop the man from walking away. Instead he watched the back move away, watched the load settle onto those shoulders, burdening them with something that should have been his own. It's only in his mind did he allow himself to say what he wanted.

I'm sorry, so sorry.

::

The annual event, The Games as they have been called by everyone, was just around the corner and those who didn't participate were roped into assisting with the preparations for the them. The lesser soldiers scattered about the area, cleaning and making sure every detail from the superiors were followed, nothing less than perfection allowed. There would be no sabotaging, tricks of the mind being the only deception from the players involved.

The Games were intricate, but not so to the casual bystander. The blissfully ignorant thought them to be nothing more than a simple contest, easy plays that only showed which faction the better side. But none of them knew of the graveyard that would lay in the wake of the paths the main cast would be leaving, none knew of the strategies needed to navigate the board, the ploys required to manipulate the opponent into doing what one wanted in order to succeed. Cautious steps, a dance that entangled the players until one of them knew how to unravel it and come out the victor.

Nothing was simple about The Games and only those involved could appreciate what it stood for. Power and prestige were the obvious, the ability to control how the organization worked and being able to make key decisions that established the fate of said organization-- that was the hidden incentive that the majority did not know. Those foolish enough to enter thought highly of themselves, believing that they would come out the winner and receive the title of First Ship, the commanding ship. But those that knew of how everything was operated, knew that it would always come down to the two main factions.

Vongola versus Millefiore.

The two leading factions that dominated the playing field in every aspect of the game. Commander Byakuran Gesso ambitious, wanting to have everything under his thumb; Commander Tsunayoshi Sawada steady, wanting things to continue as they have for generations since his ancestor's time and destroying anything that he didn't deem "just" in his eyes. It would come down to these two, as it always did.

The question that would remain until the end was which one would succeed this time?

::

Figures descended onto the platform, accepting all those transporting from various places into the single area, the meeting grounds for The Games. Neutral territory where no weapons could be held against the other, where nothing but words could affect those present. The appearance of so many leaders would lead one to believe they were assembling the army to fight with a unified front, and to enemies that could be the case. That's the basis of The Games, after all.

An amused hum broke through the silent, analyzing stares of the people within. Eyes turned to the source and were met with hidden eyes and a seemingly genial smile. To those observant enough, it was nothing more than a mocking gesture.

"So many faces I haven't seen in a while. It's a sight to see," Byakuran mused, gaze never lingering on one person long. He searched, bypassing the lesser ones easily until he met with apprehensive amber, smile widening just the slightest. A gleam of anticipation in his now open eyes. "Ah, Commander Tsunayoshi, there you are. I wondered where you were hiding."

Implications were in those words, ones that the Vongola leader could decipher easily enough. You didn't back down, you didn't run away. He didn't break away from that gaze, knowing the other could read what he was feeling about the entire situation. More than once Reborn said that his face was an open book that even the dullest person could read. He didn't have masks like the man before him did, like a certain someone he knew. His emotions were his strength and weakness.

"Commander Byakuran, it's nice to see you again," Tsunayoshi replied, keeping to the formalities. Too many eyes on them, but he kept still, the presence of his second keeping him grounded. He couldn't afford to show anymore weakness than he already was.

"Yes, likewise. I didn't see your confirmation until the last moment, so I was afraid that you wouldn't show."

The layers were on thick and Tsunayoshi wondered if he managed to even catch them all. Was the other commander glad that he had showed up, accepted the invitation to the tournament? Was the other glad in a mocking sort of way, happy that he'd been provided with a source of entertainment? Or was it that Byakuran only thought the Vongola worthy enough of his time, therefore glad for his presence?

Too many possibilities, ones that he wasn't even sure was definite.

"My, such low faith you have, Commander Byakuran Gesso. I find myself insulted on Commander Tsunayoshi Sawada's behalf."

And this was why he relied on his lieutenant to participate in his stead. Mukuro Rokudo could play on the field that Byakuran set out, knew the rules of the game before they were even told and would manipulate them in his favor. He knew when lavender eyes glinted in interest at the secretive one mismatched held that he had been right in his choice to leave it to Mukuro once more. The man reveled in the competition, finding enjoyment in the mind play with an opponent who could keep up.

Tsunayoshi could feel Gokudera tense up behind him, already knowing a retort about disrespect was on his lips that would be directed in Mukuro's way. And he always knew that gripping his second's arm in warning would make Gokudera keep quiet. He wasn't involved anymore, other than keeping an appearance for his representative in The Games.

"Ah, Lieutenant Mukuro, leader of one of the divisions within Vongola. A pleasure as always," Byakuran greeted, seemingly happy to see the other man.

"I don't appreciate the intimate association you've made between myself and Vongola," Mukuro replied, yet his smile didn't waver from his face.

They were words that have been easily said, time and time again. A reminder that he disliked being with such a group and plan to lead it himself one day, to his own liking. Or so he knew so many believed. Whatever plans he had, they would not be known until they actually happened. For the time being, he would play his part, play the game that would keep the Vongola in the position he wished them to be so to make his own plans that much easier for himself. And it would start with The Games and retaining the title of First Ship for Vongola, the first of many steps.

A short laugh. "Ah, sorry sorry. I always forget since you're always with them," Byakuran claimed, apology lacking the sincerity that the words should usually hold. The smile said as much. "I see that you're well though, as is your own second-in-command."

Mismatched watched as Byakuran's gaze shifted to Chrome and feeling her take a step closer to his person. However, he took no notice as his own eyes moved over to the young lady standing just beyond the white haired man before him. The eternal doll-- fragile looking but fair and always moving according to Byakuran's words, Uni Giglio Nero didn't have a speck of emotion to her. Not even her eyes betrayed anything, like glass orbs of blue that only reflected the artificial light and nothing else.

But Mukuro knew better, had seen through the porcelain shell and saw soft lines, gleaming hope. That fraction of a moment when her strings had been pulled of her own accord rather than through Byakuran's fingers. A second, that's all it had been but that was all that's needed.

She would be a key factor in how things would go and from what he saw of Byakuran, the man didn't even realize.

All the better for me.

"I return those words to you, Commander Byakuran Gesso," Mukuro replied, letting his secrets be veiled from searching eyes. He wouldn't let the other find anything worth a second look over. It was all part of the game, after all.

Before anymore words could be said though, the lights dimmed, allowing the holographic image of figures cloaked in shadows. The superiors. The ones they all took orders from, the true leaders of the organization that they were all part of. Their orders were absolute, their final word law; yet they take into consideration the words from the commander of the First Ship, the coveted position. They would be the ones to oversee The Games and declare the winner.

"All of you present are the ones who responded to the invitation, each setting his sights on the position of First Ship or retaining it," a gruff voice started, commanding nothing less than complete attention. "This year, The Games will be a series of events that will last throughout the next few weeks. Same rules will apply as years before. One chance with no second to redeem yourself. You are eliminated the moment you lose."

Hearing those words sent a thrill through Mukuro, eyes lighting with anticipation at the prospects of this year's games. It's going to be different this year. A memory from a week ago flashed through his mind, the words that Tsunayoshi had spoken to him echoing within his mind. They may be different, but he reveled in the unknown, intrigued by it and eventually making it into the known through his own means. He would enjoy the taste that was to come.

"The first event will begin in an hour. Enter through the doors and you'll be instructed on the first task from within. Competitors, prepare yourself."

A low chuckle followed the last announcement and eyes turned to the source, few not surprised from who it came from. Lavender eyes hidden away, a smile of amusement that masked the anticipation, Byakuran's attention no longer on the fading image of the superiors but on the Vongola group. Or more specifically, the person who would give him the most trouble.

"Let's have a fun game, shall we Lieutenant Mukuro?"

"I'm sure we'll be entertained until the very end."

Let the games begin.

::

"Tenth, are you sure about this? There's still time for--" Emerald green looked imploringly at amber, willing the other to change their mind. Unfortunately, even he knew there would be no such luck.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"But Tenth, he's--!"

"He's the best one we have to do this, Gokudera." I can't risk anyone else, not even you.

The second-in-command knew resolution when he heard it, his own voice sounding just the same when he made a vow to the man he served. He knew that the other could not be swayed once he made a decision that he would do anything to keep. That was a trait he admired and loathed at the same time. This was one of those times where he hated it, since he knew he couldn't make Tsunayoshi place his trust in anyone else besides Mukuro Rokudo and his second.

And he knew that Mukuro was the only one who could pull this off, who could play the mind games needed in order to win. It's in knowing that, that a sour taste was left in his mouth. Agitation showed clearly as he faced that fact.

He was shaken out of his thoughts by the hand gripping his arm, his gaze first looking down before going to the face of his boss. Gokudera could see the concern there, mixed in with what he could only describe as hope as amber eyes never strayed from the back of the person he placed the fate of the Vongola faction on. And he could do nothing else but add on to that hope.

Don't mess this up.

"Come on, Tenth. We have to leave soon."

Hesitation before the words came out, so softly he almost didn't hear them.

"I know."

They didn't leave until the double doors closed, shutting the players inside and the rest outside.

::

"It's amazing, isn't it? How quiet it has suddenly become."

He was speaking to no one in particular, the only one who could listen standing a mere few feet behind him, watching with glossed eyes. The both of them stood amongst the bodies scattered about the area, white against the splattered crimson red that pooled at their feet. No pity, no sympathy; only the feeling of impending victory that was within his grasp.

The others had been taken down, like the pawns that they were in this game they're playing. So easily deceived into thinking they were on the same side just because they wore the same color. They showed their backs to him, an ultimate show of trust. They never saw the sword slicing their backs open, allowing the rivers to flow.

Byakuran fingered the flower he managed to find amongst the overgrown grass. A pure white, the mark of innocence. But as he let the petals slip through his fingers, the only mark they provided would be the fallen's grave.

"Shall we go now, Uni? We still have to meet with the black pieces across the board," Byakuran said, straightening out the white top hat on his head. Predatory gaze became hidden behind lids once more as he determined which square they would move to next.

He never saw the lone tear that fell from brightening blue eyes, the dull sheen fading away as the light began to shine through. Never saw when she moved her hands, clasping them together above her heart, sending a small prayer for those that laid at her feet. Never saw the pursing of lips as an edge of determination appeared in her eyes.

"Come Uni."

It was a struggle to remain as she had been before, nothing but a doll who simply followed the orders of the puppeteer. But she schooled her expression into those lifeless blues once more, hands returning to her sides. Nothing but the fragile marionette that only moved when the master who pulled the strings allowed her to.

".. Yes, Master Byakuran."

She would follow along for the time being, until she saw black's knight once again.

::

Mismatched eyes scanned the board, mind attempting to decipher where white would next move to.

The Games had been interesting thus far and only continue to be as the days past and the rounds becoming more intense. Each one was an intricate mind game that he enjoyed playing, destroying the weak and disheartening the arrogant. It was almost pitiful seeing the so called leaders of the lower factions succumb to his subtle manipulations, even some not so subtle.

But he knew that the real entertainment wouldn't begin until he finally met with the white side's pieces, eager to toy with the strings he knew would be pulled by the Millefiore faction's commander. He would use his own strings and move them to his own liking, unknown until it was too obvious to hide. By then it would be too late.

For now he could only wait as he stood in one of the few open clearings within the wooded arena that the superiors had set up. Mukuro had played so that this would be the first meeting place, one of many he had assumed as he planned the route to take. It would be up to white to decide if they wanted to meet.

"Master Mukuro, your ring."

Delicate hands held out the said ring, holding it with reverence despite having used it per the lieutenant's orders.

"You did well, my dear Chrome. Rest until the next move has been decided," he said, taking the offered ring and slipping it back on. Fingers trailed along soft cheeks, something of a fond smile forming on his lips as he looked at his second.

"You should rest too..."

Despite the suggestion, she knew they would fall on deaf ears. She could see the anticipation within those eyes, could see that he was too eager to continue with the game to stop and take a rest. He had been looking forward to this next move and wouldn't be doing anything until it was done. Even so, she tried, doing her personal duty to assist him whenever she could and to make sure he was well. After all, it wouldn't be good for him to collapse during such a vital time. She would continue to be his silent support until the end was seen.

Her eye closed, leaning into the hand. Knowing that this moment's reprieve wouldn't last, she savored the feel of his unusual gentle touch. Rare seconds before a rustle disturbed the silence and bringing them back to the game that they were playing.

"Here you are! And I was thinking that we wouldn't get to meet anytime soon, Lieutenant Mukuro."

"Oya, your lack of faith is showing again Commander Byakuran Gesso."

Chrome took half a step back from Mukuro, knowing that this was the time to let him play, that she shouldn't interfere with his fun. But she couldn't prevent the lingering grip on his jacket that she didn't know she had done until she had to let go. At least she could still feel the warmth from his hand on her cheek, letting that be her hope that it wouldn't be the last.

Violet eye gazed past the white clad male, searching for the smaller figure behind the man and finding her easily. Blue met hers and even with the distance, she could see the light shining. The key players were finally here.

This was it, this move would determine the how the rest of the game would be played.

The start of the Endgame.

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