BY : Macx
Category: Descendents of Darkness/Yami No Matsuei > General
Dragon prints: 3099
Disclaimer: I do not own Descendants of Darkness (Yami no Matsuei), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Touda woke to a world of pain and he wondered what had ridden him
to step in front of a mad dragon. His body ached, his broken ribs shifted
against each other, and he was dizzy with blood loss. Turning his head,
aware of a presence beside him, his hand twitched a little. It shifted
and he touched the pale hand lying closest to him.

Tsuzuki shifted himself and violet eyes cracked open, meeting golden

::Touda?' :: he whispered.


The presence of his friend moved closer in his mind, exhausted and just
as much in pain as Touda himself. It was phantom pain, transmitted from
the injured shikigami, but both their shields had been shattered by the
sudden blast of agony from Touda.

::'S okay:: Tsuzuki whispered and snuggled closer, his forehead resting
against Touda's upper arm.

He didn't reply, just closed his eyes and held the shivering presence,
needing the comfort as much as Tsuzuki.

° ° °

It was how Touda woke the next morning. Well, with one addition. A silver-haired,
red-eyed God was curled up on the couch not far away from the bed. Somehow
it reminded the fire serpent of events not too long ago. Back then he had
been injured by Suzaku's attack, had nearly died, had found himself waking
up to Tsuzuki and Byakko's presence.

Touda looked at his lover, smiled, then turned to the shinigami at his
side. His body still ached, but the healing factor had kicked in full force.
Broken bones were mending, muscles knitting back together again, and his
mobility was increasing. Right now he just turned to study the pale face
of his master and he reached out with one hand, fingers trembling slightly,
and touched the harried looking features. Even in sleep Tsuzuki was experiencing
the echoes of the agony Touda had gone through.

As his fingers caressed the smooth skin, Tsuzuki moved sleepily, violet
eyes blinking open. He smiled as he recognized the being close to him.

::Touda:: he murmured.

Touda smiled reassuringly and patiently waited as Tsuzuki took inventory,
pushing himself up in a sitting position.

"Are you in pain?" Tsuzuki asked, looking like death warmed over himself.

"I'm fine, Tsuzuki." He clasped one slender hand. "I apologize for flooding

It got him a weak smile. "It's not like you had a chance to stop yourself.
I'm okay. It's just an echo, not like the real thing."

His eyes were on the multiple bandages, some of them showing dark flecks
of dry blood.

"I'm healing," Touda reassured himself.

There was a sleepy noise coming from the couch and suddenly Byakko was
looking at them with slightly sleep-glazed eyes. A smile spread over his
features as he saw that Touda was awake.

"Hey, you're up? Thirsty?" he asked immediately, getting off the couch
with more energy than either of the other two men had at the moment.

Touda had no chance to say no as he was offered some water and he had
to confess that it felt good on his parched throat.

"How's Sohryu?" he asked.

Byakko's mood changed from one second to the next. His tail slashed
the air like a whip and his brows drew down, the youthful face now etched
with an unfitting, dangerous scowl.

"I don't know and I don't care!" he spat.

Tsuzuki winced like he had been hit by that whip of a tail, shrinking
back. "Byakko," he stammered.

"He attacked us for no reason!" the white tiger went on, furious. "He
nearly killed Touda!"


"I don't care what his moods are or what problems he has! I don't care
who he thinks he is, but he either gets it together or I'll make sure that
something like this won't happen again!"

By now Tsuzuki was pressed against the headboard, breathing hard. Touda
reached out, caught the trembling presence, wrapping his own weak shields
around him.


"Byakko!" he snarled in the real world.

Red eyes flared with emotions, then suddenly dimmed to their normal
light as the shikigami took in the distraught man.


Huge eyes looked at him, reflecting all those emotions raging through
the young shinigami.

"Tsuzuki, I'm not angry at you..." Byakko soothed, taking him into his
arms. "I'm just so angry at Sohryu. He's our leader, I respect him, but
he lost it... He can't have the luxury of that. If it hadn't been Touda...
if it had been a low level shikigami... he would have killed him or her."

Fingers dug into the light shirt and Tsuzuki sobbed dryly, emotionally
wide open and too vulnerable to control any of his reactions right now.
Byakko pressed a little kiss on the tousled head.

"Don't hurt him," Tsuzuki rasped brokenly. "Please, Byakko... we can
solve this... we can help him..."

The white tiger smiled tenderly and Touda, despite his own anger and
pain, had to mirror the soft expression. This was just like Tsuzuki.


"I promise," Byakko whispered. "I promise because it's your wish. I
promise because you want me to."

Touda felt Tsuzuki slip away again and his own exhaustion from regenerating
was taking him along with his master. He raised a hand and touched Byakko,
who smiled tenderly at him. His lover knew how exhausting regeneration
was, and he knew that Tsuzuki took priority a the moment.

The shinigami was placed back onto the bed again, asleep, and Byakko
leaned over, brushing a gentle kiss over Touda's lips.

"You okay?" he murmured.

"Getting there. All of us. Remember your promise," he whispered back.

"I won't do anything to Sohryu," Byakko agreed. "Just don't expect me
not to kick his ass... verbally... the next time I see him."

Touda smirked. "Get in line. I've got first dibs."

The tiger chuckled, the long, striped tail moving lazily, much calmer
now. "Go get well."

"Yes, Lord Byakko. As is your wish."

Byakko playfully tousled his still growing hair. "If you were just so
compliant every day..." he teased, then kissed him again.

Touda had no energy left to spar verbally. He fell asleep with the sensation
of the kiss and Tsuzuki safely wrapped inside the bond.

° ° °

There was nothing of the great leader, the Protector of the East, in
the man who stood in the private chambers of Byakko and Touda. Dressed
in simple clothes, face pale, hair held back in the plainest of bonds,
Sohryu could have been any shikigami. But he wasn't. He was still the Azure
Dragon, a God, and their leader. In his eyes, though, there was nothing
of the proud being left. His whole body spoke of a pain so deep, it was
threatening to destroy him.

Not like the rage and aggression that had already eaten away at him.
This was silent, deep inside, and Touda knew it only too well. He had felt
the same not long ago. Back then he had believed he had hurt his master,
which he had to a degree, and he had believed Tsuzuki had abandoned him.
It had launched an unstoppable avalanche of self-loathing and destruction.

Sohryu had lost it, had lost his control, and he had attacked Byakko,
almost killing Touda in the process. Twenty-four hours later the black
shikigami was conscious but not yet completely free of pain, and it would
probably take another day for him to heal enough to attempt mobility.

Byakko's expression was far from friendly as he allowed their leader
access to his most private room, something he had only done because Touda
had requested him to let Sohryu enter.

Looking at the man he knew since he had been a child, Touda wanted nothing
more than to help, but he knew this battle was none he could fight for
Sohryu. He was a Divine Commander and a warrior, but the fight was on a
soul-deep level, a matter that was between the proud dragon and the man
who had accompanied him here. Touda's golden eyes rested on Terazuma Hajime,
taking in the pale face, the red eyes that showed so much guilt and regret,
and the unlit cigarette he twirled between his fingers.

Terazuma was nervous, but he had come with his lover. Touda knew that
what Sohryu felt for this shinigami was true, was real, and that it had
a chance, if both men decided to be honest with each other. Well, Sohryu
was honest; had been honest. It had been the shinigami who had turned and
run away, leaving behind a man who hadn't loved since Aya had died in the
Black Fires.

As Sohryu approached, Byakko's tension grew, the long tail flicking
back and forth, the whole man almost vibrating with suppressed anger.

"Touda..." Sohryu started. "I... apologize. I cannot put into words
what I feel at what I did. I can only hope you accept my apology because
there's nothing else I can give you."

Touda met the agonized, blue-gray eyes. "Now you know what it feels
like," he said softly.

Yes, now Sohryu knew what it felt like when something snapped and the
world blacked out around him. He hadn't lost the one he loved in the way
Touda had five centuries ago. He hadn't held the tortured body, looked
into the broken eyes, and he hadn't torched half of GensouKai with an unstoppable
fire, but he had felt the same emotions Touda had back then.

The dragon lowered his gaze, eyes closing.


The eyes met Touda's, hesitant, still so broken, so pained, and Touda
sighed softly. This would need time. But he wouldn't leave Sohryu alone
in this; they needed him, he needed them. Touda considered himself a friend,
the five centuries in Tenkuu's depths aside. They had been best friends
once and he held a deep respect for the man.

We'll get through this, he thought, relaying those silent thoughts to
the man he knew so well. If you let us help, if you and Terazuma finally
decide on what's to be.

Sohryu nodded once, then his gaze came to rest on the second occupant
of the bed. Touda felt Tsuzuki's sleepy mind, not awake but also not completely
unaware. He had slept almost non-stop, recovering with shinigami speed
from the shock of the echoes that had come through the bond.



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