Author's Notes: These two villains are poetry in motion, and I don't think there are enough fics out there with them as a pairing. I decided to write one, as they have some things in common (both of them had a "father" that used them and experimented on them), I thought they might make an interesting pairing.
Sympathy for the Damned
As Kuja suspected, their dinner simply appeared on the table. There was far too much of it for the two of them to eat, and the selection of food was varied. He was surprised to find some of his favorite dishes among the banquet. He took all of this under careful consideration as he selected what he wanted and filled his plate. He noticed Sephiroth doing the same. Some of the food looked absolutely disgusting to Kuja, while there were some dishes he thought he might sample if he had room for any of it. As they ate in silence, the sorcerer pondered things. There were twelve seats at the long table. The abundance of food and the variety suggested that his jailers intended to cater to twelve “guests”.
“Does the same food appear every night?” He queried after sipping appreciatively on a glass of red wine.
Sephiroth shook his head. “No, there are different dishes from one evening to the next. Whomever put us here seems to be quite thorough about keeping our diets healthy and varied.”
“What will happen to all of this food when we’ve eaten what we want? Does it just vanish, or do we have to find someplace to dump it?”
Sephiroth chewed and swallowed before replying, “that door against the back wall leads to a cold storage. If there’s any food here that you want to put away for later, make yourself a leftover plate and put it in the storage. Everything else vanishes sometime after we leave the room.”
Kuja frowned. “This place is a mountain of strange,” he mumbled.
Sephiroth shrugged. “I’m not the domestic sort, so it works fine for me.”
Kuja asked Sephiroth if he would tell him his story, but the swordsman refused, saying that he “wasn’t in the mood”. He wouldn’t even answer when Kuja asked him how long he had been there. In fact, the only further conversation the sorcerer got out of him was when he inquired about if there was anything to do around there to pass the time.
“There’s a library downstairs, in the basement. There’s also some craft rooms branching off from it. I’ve only ever bothered with the library, so don’t bother asking me what sort of craft supplies there are. You’ll have to see that for yourself.”
Kuja sighed. Well, perhaps there was a tailoring room. Making himself some new clothing could occupy him for a time, while he tried to devise a way out of here. He considered asking Sephiroth how many people he had killed before he showed up, but the swordsman’s bright eyes were becoming distracted. Kuja decided not to say anything else to his fellow prisoner for the rest of the meal…especially anything with the word “kill” or “death” in it.
Kuja’s strength returned in full after three days, and he learned his prison like the back of his hand. Of Sephiroth, he saw little, except for the three times per day that meals appeared in the dining hall. The swordsman kept to himself and rarely spoke, and Kuja didn’t press him, for he sensed that Sephiroth was struggling with himself. The tall swordsman would sometimes suddenly press his lips together and glare at nothing, or his hand would tremble. Other times, he rubbed his temples as though a headache was coming on, but he muttered to himself.
The sorcerer came to realize something; Sephiroth didn’t want to kill him, but there was a part of him that seemed to be urging him to do so. He caught Sephiroth giving him strange looks occasionally, which ranged from predatory to worried. It was as if the warrior couldn’t make up his mind.
Kuja considered the reasons. He had counted, and there were twelve separate bedrooms in the building. There were six different bathrooms. There were books in the library that seemed to have been deliberately put there for the reading enjoyment of specific kinds of people. There were poetry books, horror novels, biographies of people he had never heard of, and books written in languages that weren’t native to either Gaia OR Terra. There were even pornography magazines, and when Kuja opened one of them up with a grin, he was disturbed to find that these particular pornography books were designed to cater to someone with a serious case of necrophilia. He didn’t want to, but he gathered the courage to ask Sephiroth if they were his. He had to know if he was at least safe in death from the man. Sephiroth gave him an insulted look and said he would rather gouge his own eyes out than glance at the stuff. This made Kuja feel a bit better, and he put the filthy magazines back where he found them.
In summary, this purgatory was meant to hold twelve specific criminals, each with different ambitions, personalities and preferences. Sephiroth had admitted nonchalantly that he had slaughtered everyone that came before Kuja. How many were due to arrive? Was he the last? Could that be the reason why the mysterious young swordsman hadn't killed him yet? Kuja was confident now that he could defend himself aptly, should Sephiroth have a change of heart. He was arrogant, but he wasn’t foolish. He knew that his handsome, insane associate would prove to be quite the challenge, should Sephiroth ever attack him. Kuja had himself decided that he wouldn’t be the first to strike a blow, however. Though he was confident that he would eventually find a way to escape this place, there was always the chance, however slight, that he wouldn’t. An eternity with absolutely no company was a fate worse than death to the genome. What use was there in keeping oneself beautiful, if there was nobody around to admire it?
He knew that Sephiroth enjoyed looking at him, though the swordsman only did so subtly. He knew that he was confused about him, and Kuja didn’t know whether it was amusing or annoying that Sephiroth couldn’t seem to make up his mind if he was male or female. There were times when the swordsman came close to doting on him, without even realizing it. He had a habit of pouring Kuja’s wine for him at dinner, and at least one of the three meals in each day always started with Sephiroth pulling the chair out for the genome.
It didn’t surprise Kuja, really. He just attributed his associate with more intelligence than most people he had met…after getting to know him a little better, that is. It wasn’t the first time a man had felt an attraction towards him based on his somewhat effeminate looks, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. The thing that bothered Kuja was that he was undoubtedly attracted to Sephiroth, but he had no way of knowing whether the return of attraction he sensed was genuine or simply because the swordsman had been locked away for a long time and was thinking of him as a woman. After all, even men who would never dream of touching other men in passion eventually changed their minds out of desperation, when they were locked up with other men long enough. Perhaps Sephiroth hadn’t attacked him yet because he was horny.
This made Kuja laugh. Well, it wasn’t possible to rape the willing, so if Sephiroth did indeed decide to attack him with that particular sword, he would gladly take the blow. He had to firmly remind himself to get the erotic images of such an encounter out of his head, for it was distracting him from his research. He spent several hours a day outlining possible means of escape. The first step, he imagined would be to find out what was beyond the walls of this little villa that he was stuck in. “Tonight”, he promised himself on the fourth day, after lunch.
Sephiroth didn’t show up for dinner that night, and Kuja wondered if it was possible that the swordsman knew of his plan to scale the wall and see what was beyond. Did he plan to stop him?
Kuja ate without tasting the meal. Perhaps Sephiroth was sleeping. He knew where the swordsman’s bedroom was, for he had stumbled past his open door one night on the way to bed, but he had never infringed upon him. The annoying concern that his associate was ill began to surface, and Kuja sighed heavily. “Face it, you don’t have anyone to show off to,” Zidane would have said. He would have been right, too. Kuja knew that he was vain, and part of the thrill of Sephiroth’s company was seeing that the swordsman was just as vulnerable to his looks as anyone else was. It made him feel alive, to see the attractive man’s emerald gaze linger on his body and know the sort of thoughts that were inspired. Even if Sephiroth’s interest was only caused by confusion and loneliness, it was better than nothing.
He finished his dinner and put the remaining wine in the storage room, for he sensed that he might need a drink to salve his frustration later, if he could find nothing beyond the walls that would aid his escape. He kept his senses open and his guard up as he moved through the building towards the outside. It bothered him that Sephiroth hadn’t come to dinner. The only pattern that the swordsman had shown so far was that he had a healthy appetite, and thus, mealtimes were when Kuja saw him the most. He still hadn’t figured out where Sephiroth went between meals. He knew he didn’t always go to his bedroom. Perhaps there was a secret nook somewhere in this place that Kuja hadn’t yet discovered.
For now, he would merely keep his guard up as he went to his task. He couldn’t afford to ponder the whereabouts of his associate. He needed to take notes of the terrain beyond these walls and decide if it was worth the risk to store food and set out to travel. Hopefully, before the next “arrival” came here. Kuja had no interest in a life or death fight against Sephiroth, and despite all that he had done in the past, no interest in killing a stranger the moment they arrived, either.
Once in the courtyard, he hurried to the wall. The moon was full, and it had an orange cast to it. He was glad for the extra light, though in truth, he had chosen to do this at night because he was a nocturnal creature by nature, and his vision was better in darkness. During the day, the sun was too bright for him to have gotten a clear view of the surrounding landscape. He had also prepared a farseeing spell, to aid him in his study of the terrain. He walked to the wall and looked up at it for a moment, pondering. He could scale it easily—he was very agile. However, it had been a while since he had used his powers, and a levitation spell was simple enough to cast, without draining his energy much at all. With a delicate shrug of his shoulders, the sorcerer murmured an arcane phrase, and he smiled and closed his eyes in pleasure as the magic coursed through him and lifted him gently off of the ground. What was the sense in risking a tear in his clothing, after all? Sephiroth never said whether the magic that repaired his wounds and clothing upon arrival would work again, so until he got around to making new ones, he preferred to keep these as clean and rip-free as possible.
“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you.”
Kuja checked a gasp and paused his ascent. His boots had just gotten level with the top of the wall, and he had barely gotten a look at what appeared to be a vast desert when Sephiroth’s voice startled him. He turned around slowly in mid-air and put his hands on his shapely hips, tossing his silver/violet hair. “Why not? You may be perfectly happy in this little paradise, my friend, but I am growing bored of it. The world awaits, and I intend to return to it…alone, if I have to.” He was a bit disconcerted to see that Sephiroth was floating as well. The swordsman didn’t bob, as Kuja did. He stood upon the air as if it was solid ground, and it was certainly an eerie sight.
Sephiroth smiled coldly. His naked sword glistened in the orange light of the moon, and his long, silver tresses flowed like water over his leather-clad body. “I told you, it’s even worse at night. Don’t go past that wall, little genome.”
Kuja might have taken his warning into consideration, but his last sentence made the sorcerer’s temper flare. “Little?! Of all the patronizing…insulting…” he sputtered and glared blue daggers at the taller man. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine!” And he floated closer to the top of the wall.
Sephiroth shrugged. “Have it your way. I warned you.” Then he shot straight up without warning and did a flip in the air, and then he rolled onto his back and flew into a window on the second floor.
Kuja raised his eyebrows at the display. “A natural ability?” he pondered, intrigued. “Ah well, it doesn’t matter. He can whiz around until he’s blue, for all I care. Ha! ‘Little genome’. I’m not the one who’s too afraid of the dark to risk having a look around.” He made an elegant, yet rude gesture in the direction that Sephiroth had disappeared to, and then he turned his attention back to the cracked and barren landscape beyond the wall. “What an ugly environment,” he mused as he murmured the spell of Far Seeing.
“Mountains!” he gasped when his eyesight sharpened and he could see beyond normal visual range. Indeed, he could see the jagged peaks of black mountains, far in the distance. Storm clouds boiled over them, and multicolored lightning streaked from cloud to ground. It didn’t look to be an easy trip. He narrowed his eyes and frowned as he noticed movement here and there. Focusing on it, he could swear he saw the figures of people, lurching along on the ground. “There could be a portal out there, somewhere. Or a city, with people who know how to escape!”
He decided to float out over the perimeter of the walls, to see what he might find on the other side. Perhaps there was a road, somewhere, or even a magical energy flux that he could use to his advantage. He floated over the wall…
…and dropped like a rock. With a surprised cry, Kuja plummeted to the ground. His fall was broken by something that felt squishy in some places, and hard in others. “Drat!”
He rose into a sitting position and shook his head to clear it, and when he looked around to see what he had fallen on, his hand flew to his mouth. Corpses. He was sitting on a pile of corpses that were stacked against the wall. He cried out in horror and jerked his other hand away as he realized it was resting on the decomposing face of what could only be described as a clown. The stench was horrible, and he wondered why he hadn’t smelled it before. Standing up hastily, he backed away, keeping one sleeve covering his nose and mouth. He recognized one of the bodies. It hadn’t decomposed as badly as the others, yet. Garland’s empty husk lay crowning the pile, and ironically, it was the body that Kuja’s butt had just been touching.
“Oh, this is disgusting,” he gagged, backing away, “I mean, this is really, REALLY disgusting!”
The bodies were neatly sliced open, and he could guess by what weapon. So, this is what Sephiroth did with all of the previous visitors. Kuja nearly vomited, but he managed to hold it down as he realized he could get information from this. Trying to ignore his twisting stomach, he carefully counted the bodies. “Ten,” he whispered. “I was the last prisoner to come here.”
He was dimly thankful to Sephiroth for disposing of Garland and saving him the trouble, but all he could concentrate on for the moment was the way his stomach was beginning to heave. He turned aside and emptied his dinner onto the scorched earth. He detected the sound of something shuffling towards him, but he was too sick to react to it, at the moment.
-To be continued
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