Plea Bargain

"...So what are you?" Gaav lifted Xelloss' head by the hair, coaxing the mazoku to look up. "A traitor?"

Xelloss' eyes didn't meet Gaav's. His gaze stayed low, fixated on the floor. He hadn't moved much after he was caught, letting the master of this place curse him or carry him or beat him. He didn't speak out of turn. He didn't struggle or try to escape from his cage. He behaved. "Whatever you want." His voice was so smooth. He was calm, because he was very, very afraid. He behaved. "Whatever you want me to be, Master Gaav." He wasn't going to die. He wasn't going to-

Gaav chuckled. "Oh, Xelloss. You really don't want that. Believe me..." He wound his hand around the priest's neck, fingers sliding against dry hair with a crackle. "...that's the last thing you want to be right now, Xelloss."

The boy swallowed, forcing himself not to squirm as Gaav rubbed his middle finger against Xelloss' adam's apple. "Nevertheless, that's what I am, Master Gaav." He shut his eyes as Gaav's breath quickened. "That's what I'm here for."

The Chaos Dragon idly brushed a finger down Xelloss' neck. "I see." He looked over his captive. Xelloss was lying chest-down, almost turned to the side but not quite. His arms and legs were limp, though not from anything Gaav had done. The lesser mazoku hadn't fought him after he was attacked. He had dropped to the ground, not even reacting when Gaav kicked him. After Gaav had dropped him here in this 'cage', Xelloss hadn't moved at all. He simply lay on the raised stone surface, waiting. The subtle flicker around the table gave away its true purpose. If he had tried to escape, the wards would have stunned him and dropped him back to the surface. Gaav was unaffected by them, of course. He could freely move in and out of it, while Xelloss was trapped. It was an exquisite cage.

...But Gaav was beginning to suspect that for some reason, he didn't need it. "What you're here for? Really? Were you ordered to come here, then?" His fingernails scratched against Xelloss' cheek ever-so-slightly. "Do they think you'll convince me to give myself up, or lead me into some sort of trap?" He paused, a new idea bringing a wicked grin to his face. "Or were you sent here as an offering to appease me?" He laughed. "Are they giving up their own kind, just for me? I could see them feeding a maiden to the dragon." His fingers slid around Xelloss' chin, gripping tightly. There would be no looking away from Chaos Dragon King Gaav. "So? Is it true? Or is the answer even more provocative?"

The priest did not respond immediately. His eyes, though locked between Gaav's twin emeralds, wandered into the invisible corridors between dust and spirit. His chest rose and fell steadily as an occasional twitch revealed the aches in Xelloss' body. What could have been an answer became a marriage between whisper and moan. He slowly blinked, pulling some sense back into his mouth. "I'm yours. I've been given to you in offer of a deal. Whether you accept or refuse to take part in the deal, keep me. Please keep me." Xelloss tried to stop it, but a shiver went through his entire body. "Zelas wants me sent away from her if you don't take up the offer."

"O-ho. Zelas has extended an offer to me? Rebellious, half-blooded Gaav? How gracious of her." Gaav propped his chin on his fist. "What could she possibly demand of me..." his other hand stroked Xelloss' head, fingers running through the short purple hair. "...that would make a servant such as yourself worth giving up?"

Xelloss' eyes locked with Gaav's, unabashed and pleading. Wide and deep, Xelloss' gaze gave away something to the Lord, told him secrets that Xelloss usually kept so easily. Gaav almost flinched. "Please come back to Zelas. She'll give you all of her support. With you two united, perhaps others could join, and Dynast and Fi-Fibrizo wouldn't-"

"Wouldn't murder me, is what you're going to say?" Gaav's gaze was stone now. "Forget it. Zelas can't protect me from them, so why should I-" Gaav did a double-take. Something in his words had made the priest react. "What did I say?" He wouldn't normally care about Xelloss' feelings in a situation such as this, but the twist in Xelloss' face while he spoke was more than just a flinch. There was a history in it, echoes of the hidden secrets in his eyes...secrets that weren't there before Gaav had been made half-human, and rebelled. Before he left Zelas and her and Xelloss' love.

Xelloss tried to curl up as whatever secrets were inside him began to make him shake. It wasn't a constant shiver so much as all of the muscles in his body seizing up together and relaxing to no rythym or heartbeat. The pulse hit him randomly, blinding him as it came and went. "I-it's just what you sa-said...Zelas c-can't protect m-me from them. She couldn't after you left. She can't...she couldn't...I couldn't..." The spasms came too rapidly for Xelloss to speak now. He just huddled against them and cried.

Gaav watched silently, letting the sobs rip through Xelloss as he wondered at how much the boy had changed. He had thought that the hesitation, the somberness, the way he yeilded to Gaav's orders and touch were just an act. But he was beginning to realize with dawning comprehension that Xelloss wasn't acting broken. He was broken.

Not broken by circumstance or tragedy. Broken intentionally, for the fun of it. Gaav mused to himself on Xelloss' condition. And then there's Zelas sending him away if I'm not there to protect him. But I didn't think...well, at least Dynast wouldn't go that far, and he usually keeps Fibrizo in check...but why should Xelloss have to be their toy at all?! Why...was Zelas really that weak? "...Your hair."

Xelloss sobbed harder.

He'll rip himself in half doing that. Gaav sighed, cancelling the ward with a flick of his wrist. Gingerly he picked up Xelloss' body, holding him close. The boy was shaking so hard that he was afraid he would drop him. "It's okay. I like the cut. It looks good on you." Talking to fill the silence more than comfort his guest. He knew better than to think words like that would matter to Xelloss in his current state. He walked, keeping his eyes on the boy. It had been a long time. He had...he had missed him. And Zelas. He really didn't want to admit it, but he did.

"Here we are." Gaav approached his bed and lay Xelloss down on it. He considered pulling the blankets over him, but despite the possibility that they might comfort the boy, Gaav decided against it. He wanted all of Xelloss' hands and arms where he could see them. Xelloss was too unstable right now. And honestly, Gaav didn't want him sleeping now. He wanted answers. At least the sobs were quieting as Xelloss calmed down. Gaav tentatively put a hand out and stroked Xelloss' cheek. He smiled as the boy leaned into his palm. The affection was still there. Good. "Maybe I might take Zelas up on her deal." A faint shadow of hope rippled over Xelloss' face, and Gaav actually felt guilty. "But I need to know what has happened in my absence."

Xelloss' breath caught in his throat. "I...I can tell you what they did. I can't...I can't remember it all..."

"You don't have to, Xelloss. Why did Zelas let them take you?" I probably can't make him tell me what I want to know without hearing things I don't. But still...I can try...

"Th-there wasn't much of a choice. Fi-Fibrizo could easy kill her on his own anyways, what would it take to snuff my life out like a candle's flame? She gave me to them rather than let me die or be taken anyways, and punished for her refusals. They wouldn't have dared it when you were there, but now they can take me, and play with me..." Another shiver. Gaav wrapped his coat around Xelloss shoulders. "They promised that they wouldn't hurt me. Dynast, to his credit, wasn't lying. Zelas thought that was enough, that since since they always played together, Fi-Fibrizo wouldn't try anything that Dynast wouldn't agree to. She...she really did hope that I would still be safe."

"Fibrizo convinced Dynast to play his games, then?" Gaav didn't want to know, but he knew he would hear it anyways. Might as well make it quick and direct.

"H-he d-didn't...he didn't have to. He just convinced Dynast that they should take turns with me instead of playing together. Dynast took me for a month, then Fi-Fibrizo would have his month, and then Dynast, and back and forth..."

Oh, shit. "For how long?"

"A year. It lasted a year."

Gaav knew. He knew he would have to hear it. "...What did they do?"

Xelloss closed his eyes and began to speak for a very long time.

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