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lov3lyb0nes in majutsu_shi


Characters:  Sakon, Kimimaro, Ukon
Kimimaro's room in Orochimaru's castle.
Rating: PG.
Warnings: Ah... none that I can think of.
Summary: Kimimaro gets an unwelcome visitor, and things get ugly.

Sakon stretched his arm muscles casually as he walked down the dark hall to the room of Orochimaru's favorite.  He was done with training for the day; done with sparring and forbidden spells; done with baiting Kin, Zaku, and the rest of their weakling group.  He was curious, and he had time; it had been a long while since he'd seen him, and before that, what he'd observed had been...


Sakon found the door, eased it slowly open, and crept in like a shadow.  His eyes adjusted to the darkness, and picked out the fuzzy shape of the bed.

He was sleeping there, shrunken, small, a withered husk of his old self.

The dim glow of the lanterns lit up Sakon's eyes like something unholy.  He allowed himself a small smirk of satisfaction as he stood next to the cold stone walls, listening to the quiet beeps and hums of Kabuto's ridiculous contraptions, each tick and whir marking one more step Kimimaro was taking towards death.

Tick. Tick. Tick.  Silence.

The door closed.

Sakon would have laughed.  Without medicines and healing spells, and Lord Orochimaru's charity, of course, Kimimaro would be just another corpse on the road.  They shouldn't even be keeping him alive in the first place - he was practically dead already.  Killing him would be a greater mercy...

The skin of his palms tingled. 
It wouldn't be hard.  Kimimaro was sleeping.  Sakon could slide his hands into his throat, strangle him like he did the fawn.  He could grasp the invalid's slippery, struggling heart, and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze...

As if sensing his intentions, Ukon shifted restlessly behind him, making Sakon straighten up from his slight lean.  He sometimes forgot his brother was there at his back at all.

"Wall's damp," Ukon growled softly, before falling back asleep.  Sakon ignored him, watching intently the breathing mass of tubes and blankets across the room.  It wouldn't be hard.

This was true; Kimimaro had been in a state of deep sleep for the past two hours; his body rested in relative comfort beneath his layers of blanket, while his mind flitted in and out of various dreams.

He envisioned the cell he had occupied during his childhood in the Water Country, felt the cold stone floor as if he were there, saw the scratches in the wall as if he had freshly made them with his bone-dagger.

He felt the hunger pangs of his final journey away from that cell, the fear that it would be the hunger that killed him, and the relief when two strong arms- his Master's arms- picked him away from all of that and carrying him to the safety of his castle.

He re-experienced the agony of receiving his Master's curse, of once again fearing that he was going to die... and then living, testing this new power that he had been given, and chastising himself for ever imagining that Orochimaru would bring him to harm.

In his dream, he remembered the first time he'd gotten sick, and the moment when he realized that it wasn't going to go away. So many times he had encountered forces that might have killed him, but did not... and now this thing, this illness that no one could even put a name to, was to be his undoing.

It was at this point that Kimimaro realized that this was not merely a dream... it was his life, being played for him before his eyes.

Is this it? Is this the end? Is that why I'm seeing all of this; because I'm going to die now?

He decided that it didn't matter what his brain thought; he was sleeping, not dying, and he could wake up any time he chose. And so he chose to; exerting nothing more than his willpower, Kimimaro pulled himself up out of the sleep.

Sakon flexed his fingers at his side.  The sick man was stirring, dragging himself from unconsciousness.  He said nothing; let Kimimaro do what he wanted.  He was having a fine time watching him squirm.

He remembered when Kimimaro had beaten him and Ukon.  He'd beaten them all.  He'd been amazing.

The tip of Sakon's tongue slid over one sharp canine.  And look at him now.

He glided soundlessly across the floor and stopped a foot from the bed, to get a better view.  In the forest, the weakest were always the first to be crushed.  They shouldn't be keeping Kimimaro alive...

His heart sounded excitedly in his ears as he slowly drew his arm up; a long, pale hand hovered over a paler face.  The eyelids were dusky, the cheeks hollow and slightly sunken.  Kimimaro was starting to resemble that skeleton he was so proud of.

The sleeping man's pale eyes opened as he removed himself from his dreamworld and awakened... and the room was not as he remembered it.

Specifically, he was not alone.

The moment he saw Sakon hovered above his bed, he sat up, his body poised to strike at the slightest provocation. There was no telling what the other man was doing there, but it was unlikely that he was merely making a social call.

"Who let you in, Sakon?"

Sakon had withdrawn his hand before Kimimaro sat up.  He didn't step back, however.  "Myself," he intoned.  His voice sounded a little deeper than usual, and there was a sneer in it.  The word hung in the air, defiant, mocking.  His eyes glittered from the lamplight as he surveyed his companion's face.  Companion in the loosest sense of the word.

Kimimaro narrowed his eyes and moved to sit at the edge of the bed. "And to what do I owe this intrusion?"  He was familiar with the other  members of the Five, and their tendency towards petty scheming, and he had a strong feeling that something of that nature was afoot.

"I just felt like stopping by to see how the leader of our little group was doing.  You haven't been out for a while," Sakon replied silkily.  Reach in and snap off one of his ribs, a voice whispered.  Sakon tilted his head slightly, as if trying to catch more of what it had to say.  "So... how do you feel?" he asked, feeling a certain kind of relish.  Kimimaro was studded with tubes and almost as thin as if he was going through a famine, but Sakon had never been one for sensitivity.

"Better... Kabuto has instructed me to rest for our mission to Konoha. I'll be fine by the time we leave." And if not, he would pretend... Kimimaro was not going to be left behind during this mission, and he was certainly not going to allow some two-bit subordinate outstrip him. "I appreciate your concern, Sakon."
He was lying, and did not appreciate it at all... but of course, Sakon probably wasn't really concerned, so it was fair enough.

Sakon's lips spread into a sharp-toothed grin.  "Of course," he said smoothly, feeling magic stir in his veins and joints. Too bad bone-man there was under Lord Orochimaru's protection; Sakon would not want to displease his master by harming his favorite pet.  "I am glad to hear that your health is improving," he added, knowing perfectly well that it wasn't.

The room fell into silence.  He could almost hear the lamplight flicker.

Sakon held Kimimaro's eyes for five more seconds before he shifted to go.  A few more moments with such a temptation so close to his fingertips, and he could do something Lord Orochimaru would make him regret.  "You probably need your rest, don't you? I'm sorry for disturbing you," he drawled.  He gave a slow bow, straightened up, and turned - and the long, sharp nails of his left hand caught and dragged at one of the outlying tubes, almost dislodging it from where it was attached to Kimimaro's arm.

Kimimaro clenched his teeth at the sensation of the needle being pulled from his skin. "Sakon!" he hissed, turning to face the man.

Sakon jerked his hand away in mock surprise, whirling around with wide eyes.  "I'm so sorry, Kimimaro," he kowtowed, "I wasn't watching myself."  Sadistic laughter echoed inside his head; he liked the way Kimimaro had hissed.

The pale man's eyes narrowed as he moved to stand up. This was deliberate, it was pure arrogance and he was not going to put up with it any longer. "Sakon... if you do not leave this room immediately, I can promise that you will not enjoy the consequences."

The edges of Sakon's lips twitched.  His hair swept the floor as he curved up out of his low bow.  To challenge Kimimaro in his prime would have been suicidal...

...But Kimimaro was no longer as formidable as he had been.  How strong is he now?  Sakon wondered, dark eyes rising to meet green.  The thought simmered in the back of his mind as he cracked the knuckles at his sides.

"Oh?" he uttered, muscles humming in anticipation of a fight.

Kimimaro smirked... he may not have been in top condition, but he was fairly sure he could hold his own in a fight for long enough to convince Sakon that it wasn't worth finishing. With one swift movement, he raised his arm and launched four of his finger-bones towards Sakon's face. They missed him by just millimeters, their sharp points becoming embedded in the wall behind him.

"The next ones won't miss, Sakon," Kimimaro replied, his hand tingling with the sensation of new bones growing. "Leave. Now."

The wind from the finger-bullets' passing felt like a knife.  Sakon raised a hand, brushing away the dead skin the razor-sharp air had scraped off his face.  His eyes smoldered in the dark.

A thousand voices clamored in his head- Kill him break him kill him kill him kill him-  He wanted to make up for the humiliation he'd suffered when Kimimaro had defeated him, all those years ago.  The tone Kimimaro had used, too - low and with that edge of arrogance - only goaded him on.  Against what Ukon would advise were he awake, Sakon decided to rise to Kimimaro's challenge - for the time being.

"And what will you do if I don't?" he sneered, mimicking the way his colleague had spoken to him.  "Are you sure your body can handle it?"

The pale-haired man was in a bind. To back down or call for help would be showing weakness, admitting that he couldn't defend himself- unacceptable. But he knew that if he were to give Sakon's question an honest answer, it would be "no". He was not sure what his limits were right now, and he certainly hadn't wanted to find out in a situation like this... but it seemed as though he would have to.

He removed the remaining wires and needles from his arms, letting them fall by the one Sakon had already knocked loose. His arms now free, he  stood up, focused his power and grew a long spike of bone from the palm of each hand. A smirk found its way to his lips. "Would you like to find out?"

Sakon's face twisted into a mirror image of his teammate's expression.  "Please," he affirmed, sliding into a ready stance.  Satisfaction sang in his heart; for Kimimaro to detach Kabuto's contraptions probably meant that he was being
really riled up... in any case, Sakon was provoking a reaction from the normally dispassionate man, and that was cause enough for elation.

With no further preludes, Kimimaro sprang forward and slashed at Sakon's face with the bone-sword.  It struck the space Sakon's head had inhabited mere moments before, slicing off a few hairs.  The demon had feinted to Kimimaro's right; with hands curved into talons, he brought his fingers swiftly sideways, trying to claw off those pretty lips. Kimimaro blocked it just in time; had he taken a millisecond longer his face would have become a bloody mess. His reflexes weren't what they should be, and he knew it... he would have to end this quickly. 

Sakon allowed himself a small scowl as his fingers failed to rip away Kimimaro's mouth.  Leaping back before the man could retaliate, Sakon dropped and swept into a crescent kick, attempting to knock his opponent's legs out from under him. Kimimaro sprang up and out of the path of Sakon's foot. As he landed, he was thrown off balance (something which he knew would never have happened before) and slid to the stone floor of his room. He took an impulsive slash at Sakon's leg, hoping to hit his Achilles tendon or something equally important.  The desperate swipe split skin before Sakon could fully move out of the way, opening a bloody gash on his heel that was all appearance and no substance.  The flesh already sealing itself, Sakon pressed the advantage he had on his ailing superior, rushing forward to aim a vicious kick with his good leg at Kimimaro's belly.

Such an opening would not have been possible if Kimimaro had not been ill, and Sakon was going to milk it for all it was worth.

Except he couldn't.

Pain lanced through his l
eft leg as his foot suddenly wrenched; with a cry, Sakon twisted in the air, completely missing his target to fall bodily on the floor.  His right shoulder slammed stone with enough force to break skin, but Sakon was used to more serious injuries.  He growled as he realized what had happened.  "Ukon..." he hissed, pushing himself up with his arms. Kimimaro did likewise, edging his way towards the bed. He had to admit, Sakon's twin had awoken at a rather opportune time.

Even so, he could not afford to smirk at the other man's injuries... had Ukon not intervened things would have turned very bad indeed. And it was possible that any further provocation would make Sakon ignore his twin and continue with the fight, so Kimimaro remained silent.

Sakon's eyes snapped towards his foe.  He tried to scramble to his feet to lunge towards him, but was stopped once again by a pressure crushing his ribs like a vise.  "What- the hell- are you doing?!" he half-snarled, half-gasped, whipping his head back to send a blazing glare at his brother.

"You fucking idiot."  Ukon's voice was calm, but his eyes were infuriated.  Sakon's breathing was restricted further, but it might not have been solely because Ukon was clamping down even harder on his ribs.  He almost never heard his brother swear.  "If you kill him now, Orochimaru's going to kill us."  Ukon looked like he wanted to say more, but his narrowed eyes flicked towards the limp figure draping itself on the bed, and he settled for an incensed scowl that almost made his younger brother quail.  Almost.

Without another word, Ukon shifted themselves back into their regular positions, and the pressure in Sakon's chest eased.  He took a deep, appreciated breath, cursing Ukon with all his might for making him look weak.  Of course he knew Orochimaru would kill them.  He wasn't stupid.  He hadn't been planning on killing Kimimaro - he had just wanted to show him he wasn't top dog anymore.  You were using enough force to have killed him, Ukon's voice whispered nastily in his mind, and Sakon seethed as he finally got to his feet.

He crossed the room, turning his head a fraction for one last look at his adversary.  The white of his one visible eye glinted in the yellow light.  "You were lucky this time, but I'll get my chance."

Without giving Kimimaro a chance to reply, Sakon swept out of the room, the door slamming shut with such force it made the walls vibrate slightly. Kimimaro let out a shaky breath as he climbed back into the bed. He knew Sakon was right... this hadn't really been a victory, and if he hadn't been so lucky Sakon could have killed him. Of course, he hadn't been putting his full effort into the fight... if he had he could have held his own and perhaps even won. But the consequences would have been dire- it might have incapacitated him for several days at least, and he certainly wouldn't have been able to accompany Orochimaru to Konoha. At the same time, he knew that just now Sakon could have easily killed him, and would probably try it again. And given they way his health was deteriorating, Kimimaro knew that he wasn't going to be able to protect himself forever.

Sinking back beneath the blankets, Kimimaro realized that there was no escape from this situation. If this next mission didn't kill him, then Sakon- or some other petty, jealous subordinate- would. And barring that, there was already this illness... he was already beginning to outlive his usefulness. If he wasn't killed in battle he would soon be confined to a dark room somewhere in the castle, with the healers that came to poke and prod at him as his only company. Even Orochimaru would probably forget about him... and it was this thought, more than anything, that
almost made him hope for the next mission to be his last.