A High Price

Chapter 1

By Lizard


"He will not come."

Tatsumi's baritone seemed so firm and full of authority that no one should have questioned his words. There was not the faintest tremor to them. But this did nothing to dissuade the doctor from his plans. Muraki was perhaps the only man who disagreed with the secretary, other than the secretary himself that was.

How had this happened to him? How had he of all people come to be trapped in this sparsely furnished room with a being he detested to such extremes? He tested his bonds again, strong, lean wrists straining against the leather straps, which did nothing more than creak mockingly at his attempts. How pitiful to have been captured by a human of all creatures, unable even to use his manipulation of the shadows to free himself. Muraki had somehow nullified his powers in this room, some black magic or other rendering them useless. Now here he sat, bait to lure his co-worker from Meifu.

"Why do you speak such falsehoods Tatsumi-san?" Muraki asked, his tone as smooth and passive as ever. Tatsumi hated him for it. "Do you honestly believe that Tsuzuki-san would leave you here, knowing your predicament?"

Tatsumi did not answer. Tsuzuki was too caring for his own good, too na´ve and childlike to realise the danger he was putting himself in. That would be his undoing.

"Tatsumi-san, I do apologise for your discomfort, but really this was your own fault. If you had not come in place of that brat, you would be safe and sound in your office." The doctor's lips twitched into a ghost of a smile, so subtle that it was hard to tell if there had been any change at all. He was like a ghost, perched upon the narrow chair, washed out, faded, free of all colour, save for the tiny crimson studs in the lobes of his ears. A handsome creature by anyone's standards with hair of platinum silk and finely wrought features, skin like bleached bone and a perfectly serene look about his one visible, silver eye. It was when the thin-framed glasses were removed, the mass of hair swept away from the other side of his face, that he became nothing short of disturbing. The other eye, considerably wider, though no less beautiful than the other, was of a pale, piercing blue, and his mismatched twins focused with such intensity that anyone under their scrutiny tended to freeze instinctively.

"Why must you continually harass Tsuzuki-san? What has he done to deserve such perverse attention?" The secretary snapped uncharacteristically. The smirk on Muraki's face became more obvious, as if he had finally learned of some secret he had long suspected.

"Your emotions betray you. It is more than duty and friendship which causes you to speak so passionately." Muraki wound long, tapering fingers around the arms of his chair. "I believe you are quite capable of understanding my infatuation with him."

Quiet footsteps approaching the door distracted Tatsumi before he had chance to snap back a retort. His heart began to pound wildly in his broad chest, breathing becoming more erratic. Damn Tsuzuki, why hadn't he stayed away?

Three firm knocks sounded on the other side of the door, and Muraki rose from his chair with feline grace, hands smoothing the wrinkles from his flawless white garb before he strode across the room, a striking figure of intimidating height and stature, expensive trench coat licking at his ankles. Tatsumi watched the smug smirk disappear to be replaced by keen anticipation. The doctor's prize had arrived.

Tsuzuki seemed a small and vulnerable figure as he was revealed waiting in the corridor, though he was by no means vertically challenged. Muraki loomed over him, at first unmoving, simply drinking in the image of his prey, before he stepped aside, gesturing gracefully for him to enter the room. Tsuzuki did not hesitate, for he saw Tatsumi automatically, and brushed past the doctor to kneel in front of him, amethyst eyes full of their usual compassion.

"Tatsumi-san, are you."

"Tsuzuki-san you should not have come! You should know by now that I am capable of taking care of myself." Despite his harsh tone, Tsuzuki did not recoil from Tatsumi's words, only giving him a gentle smile, which did not entirely mask his fear.

"What kind of friend would he be, if he had not come?" Muraki asked, grasping the attention of both at once. Tsuzuki rose and stood before his superior protectively, unable to stop himself from leaning away very slightly. Tatsumi had no chance to respond.

"Muraki, you promised to release him if I came." Both men listening were surprised by his abrupt words, but the doctor recovered quickly enough from his surprise to answer him.

"You are quite right, Tsuzuki-san. And free he shall be, when you have paid for his release."

Muraki watched as Tsuzuki blanched, his pale complexion becoming all the more like his own alabaster tone. How beautiful he was, his dark hair hanging rebelliously over his eyes, eyes which were impossible in their hue, for a human at least, like vibrant amethysts, and so beautifully expressive that they were entrancing. No one failed to notice them, or the spark they carried, leaving the man like an open book, emotions clear for anyone to read. But now was not the time to gaze longingly at him. Muraki had done that often enough, forced to repress his compulsions to seize the man and bend him to his every perverted whim.

Now was the time to bargain.

"Tsuzuki-san! I shall not allow this! Return to Meifu at once and report to Chief Kanoe." Tatsumi could hear the tremulous note in his own voice, but there was no helping his feelings.

"No, Tatsumi-san." Tsuzuki turned enough so that he could glance at the secretary, a look of resolve on his beautiful face. "I can't leave you here. Muraki, I agree to your terms."

"No!" Tatsumi's voice was near hysterical as he watched Muraki step forwards to clasp his prey, one arm sweeping around Tsuzuki's waist and pulling them so tightly against each other that the smaller man gasped, unable to restrain a slight whimper of dread. "Tsuzuki, I forbid this!"

"Tatsumi-san, the choice has been made. You shall be freed on the morrow, when the debt has been paid in full." Muraki did not so much as look at the man as he led a reluctant Tsuzuki from the room, the door closing behind them, key turning in the lock, leaving the secretary in utter darkness.

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