What happened?” Omaki asked in a hushed voice looking between his friend and his pet. Toya seated rigidly on a small couch and Elwyn was curled in a corner of the room with his arms wrapped tightly around his knees.
“Riva, what else,” Oki sighed in disgust. It was a good thing Oki knew Omaki’s villa as well as he did or he wouldn’t have been able to get Toya and Elwyn through all the party goers with attracting attention. As it was he had been lucky enough to catch Omaki’s attention long enough to pull him away from his own party to help.
“I can’t be away for too long before people start looking for me. Hmmm, wait a minute I just had a brilliant idea!,” Omaki exclaimed. .”
He suddenly whirled and left the room, returning a few minutes later with a smug smile.
“Now, we have some time and your pet is off the hook for performing, at least for a while,” Omaki said with satisfaction.
“Ru will tell anyone asking where I am that I am viewing a private showing of your new pet,” Omaki explained. “Now I’ll take Toya, you take your pet, and Riva will just have to fend for himself.”
Oki nodded with relief and walked over to his quietly sobbing pet. . Glancing out of the corner of his eye he watched Omaki approach Toya and wondered if the Blondie would be ok. He wished there were two of him right now for he ached to help Toya as well, yet he knew that Omaki would find a way to sooth Toya. He knew that even though Omaki looked like a shallow man, he was actually very good at dealing with people and helping them with their troubles.
Turning his attention back to his pet, he couldn’t help but feel more than a little frustrated with Elwyn. Oki couldn’t understand his pet’s fixation on Riva. His pet was obviously very intelligent to have been able to hack the academy’s systems, especially since he couldn’t have possibly had any formal training. Yet all his intelligence seemed to go out the window when it came to his brother.
He looked down at his miserable pet for a moment before leaning down and grabbed the pet’s arm pulling him from the floor and into his arms in one smooth motion. Elwyn squeaked in surprise, his large watery green eyes opening wide as he looked up at Oki.
“Ma..Master?” Elwyn stuttered.
“Hush,” Oki said softly sitting down on an oversized chair adjusting Elwyn on his lap.
“I’m sorry,” Elwyn said wretchedly.
“Because you actually regret your actions or because you got caught?” Oki asked with a tinge of humor in his voice as he looked down at his unhappy pet.
Elwyn remained silent, looking at his hands as Oki sighed deeply. What was he going to do? Things had already been set into motion to deal with the problem of his pet, but he was beginning to wonder if he had made the right decision.
“Elwyn, Riva is not for you,” Oki said pressing a finger to the pet’s lips to stop any protests.
“Listen, you already know it, you just don’t want to accept it. With any other set of Masters, what happened tonight… well it wouldn’t have happened at all. And if it had, the consequences would have beenpublic punishment for you pet, at least with a great deal of Masters, especially a Blondie,” Oki said seriously looking at Elwyn, seeing the denial in the pet’s face.
“Master, we didn’t do anything, I swear,” Elwyn stammered.
“Because of Riva no doubt,” Oki said drily watching his pet flush a deep crimson looking away.
“You won’t be able to come between them,” Oki said quietly.
“You’re trying!” Elwyn said defiantly.
Oki threw back his head and laughed, causing Toya and Omaki to glance his way. He couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of his pet’s outburst. On the night he had finally tasted Toya for the first time he knew no one would come between the pair and he had conceded defeat. . . In fact, he very much feared the day when Jupiter and Amoi society tried to. His little game was nothing more than a way to seduce Riva into accepting him as Toya’s friend, and of course teasing him at the same time. His own poor little pet had no idea of what lay between the two, although the very fact Riva could so easily put a Blondie like Toya to tears should have given Elwyn a clue. But once again, the intelligent pet seemed blind when it came to his brother.
“Oh Elwyn, you have it wrong. But I doubt you’re ready to hear anything on the subject. Listen to me little pet, you need to stop this before you really do lose your brother. Love him, but let him lead his own life and you must find your own path as well,” Oki suggested kindly.
“You sound like you believe in my brother, but you didn’t when you saw us together,” Elwyn said suspiciously his mind moving in an unexpected direction surprising Oki.
“That’s because I was angry. Toya was almost frantic being away from Riva. Your brother made Toya a promise to stay by his side. I truly believe it was the only thing keeping Toya here. I don’t like seeing him so worried and upset yet trying to hide it, and then for him to find Riva hugging you so intimately……I could see the fear and hurt in Toya’s eyes. I reacted without thinking about it,” Oki explained.
“You really love Master Toya,” Elwyn said frowning a pretty pout coming to his lips.
Oki smiled and learned down kissing Elwyn gently, his tongue flicking over the full lips, tasting the salt of his pet’s tears.
“I love all my friends,” Oki said cheerfully.
“Oh,” Elwyn said looking away, but not before Oki saw a flash of sadness s in his pet’s eyes.
“My beautiful pet, you’re far too dangerous for me,” Oki whispered with regret, “I’m sorry.”
Elwyn looked up at Oki with wide eyes. Master and pet stared at each other, each trying to understand the other but with little success.
Riva growled punching the unoffending tree feeling the skin rip away from his knuckles, clinging to the rough bark. The pain seared through him almost feeling good. It gave him a purpose, something to concentrate on instead of the painful sense of helplessness. He hit the tree again watching some of the bark fly off with satisfaction. He poured all of his frustration, anger and weakness into destroying one of Omaki’s finely cultivated trees with his fist.
When the pain finally overwhelmed him and his blood stained the face of the tree he cried out his anguish. He began sobbing as he fell to his knees. He just didn’t know what to do anymore. No matter what he did he was going to hurt someone he loved. He hadn’t missed the absolute despair on Elwyn’s face when he had threatened his brother with severing all ties between them, nor the expression on Toya’s face when he had seen him holding Elwyn.
They were both important parts of himself. He couldn’t just ignore Elwyn now that he had appeared in Riva’s life again. Yet neither could he abandon the love he felt for Toya. They were tearing him apart, each wanting all of him, but neither one of them able to understand how much they were hurting him with their tears. He had never wanted love, yet now it seemed like he was drowning in it. One of the first rules of a pet was to never truly fall in love. Now it seemed he was to be punished for his transgression.
He sobbed in the soft grass, wrapping his arms around himself as if he could hold in all of the painful emotions overflowing inside of him. His anger and frustration churned inside of him mixing with his overwhelming despair and impotence at the situation. So much had happened to him in such a short period of time, so much change. What he had been, what he was now, and now what the two he loved most needed him to be overwhelm his mind. There was no way for him to reconcile all of it, to make everyone he cared about happy.
He wanted to protect them, to make them smile, and yet he couldn’t do it. He was just a pet, a broken pet with one too many scars. He couldn’t save Elwyn from his fate, he couldn’t save Toya from his inner fears. He couldn’t be everything they wanted him to be.. It was impossible and he felt something breaking inside of him. Riva looked down at his mangled hands, lost for the first time in his life and unable to deal with what he had to face.
“What’s going on with those two?” Omaki asked with a sparkle in his eye, distracting Toya from his thoughts.
Toya looked up, surprised to see Oki gently kissing his pet. For a moment Toya felt a surge of jealously run through him as he pictured Riva in Oki’s place. Just as quickly he felt the jealousy turn to guilt for his thoughts. He knew he shouldn’t doubt Riva, nor should he care what Oki did with his own pet. He just couldn’t help but feel jealous of Elwyn. He shared a bond with Riva that Toya never could, not only that, but their own relationship was so complicated and full of potential misunderstandings. It wasn’t just that Toya doubted Riva, he doubted himself so much more.
“Toya, stop it,” Omaki said firmly turning all of Toya’s attention to him.
“Riva loves you. Jupiter knows Oki is smitten with you. Well at least as much as Oki has ever allowed himself to be.”
“What do you mean by ‘as much as he ever allows himself to be’?” Toya asked in confusion.
“How do I put it? I’ve known Oki a long time. He is one of those people that loves everyone. He’d do anything to help anyone in need and he’s the type of person that gets carried away in the moment. Yet Oki never really lets anyone close to him, really close. In that way Oki is a true Blondie in the way he keeps his distance from people,” Omaki mused as observed Oki.
Toya looked down at his hands feeling the words stab deep within him. A true Blondie. Those words held an entirely different meaning to Toya who had always longed to be like the others of his kind instead of always being different. He knew that he had never been anything like a Blondie, too different in looks to his mind, and far too shy and timid. He had never thought of himself, could never think of himself, as a true Blondie even if it was what he really was. And yet… and yet he had wanted desperately to be that until he had meet Riva. Now he realized being a true Blondie wasn’t as important as it used to be to him. It didn’t ache inside like it always had before that he wasn’t like others in looks and temperament. It was because Riva had come to mean more to him. Riva was more important to him than being a Blondie.
Toya examined the new thoughts pouring into his head, realizing that the doubt he had about Elwyn and his own place in Riva’s heart came at least in part from the fact that he was a Blondie, that he had wanted to prove himself as one. The unspoken rules that hung over them both as Blondie and pet that was required of Toya because there was no other choice if he wished to keep his position. His doubts about his and Riva’s feelings came because he was also Riva’s Master, not just his lover. He couldn’t feel secure as long as one day Toya would be forced to sell his beloved. No matter what their feelings were it was just a game that would end one day. As a Blondie he would have to sell Riva, there was no other option available for him and Riva to stay together as they were now. He was jealous of Elwyn’s bond with Riva. That was real and secure where his own was so very tenuous and fragile. Biting his lip, he ignored Omaki’s words thinking quickly, wondering perhaps if there was a way to change their fate. His quick mind went over the scenarios in his head until finally he realized the only solutions was one he had never contemplated , something he wouldn’t be able to accomplish as he was now, but perhaps…
Toya stood up and looked down at Omaki feeling something stir within him, the beginning of a plan. A plan that would require reshaping himself, but in the end it would allow him to accomplish his goal…….to always be with Riva. Elwyn’s presence was a thorn in Toya’s side. Seeing Riva with him hurt, but not as much as the idea of losing Riva all together. The careless words spoken by Omaki and the threat that Elwyn posed to their fragile bond had made Toya realize something that he had been too afraid to think about. Something that was more important than Riva’s brother.
“Omaki, will you help me?” Toya asked his light voice surprisingly strong to his own ears.
“Did I miss something?” Omaki looked at Toya in surprise.
“Help me to seem like a normal Blondie, so nobody will notice me,” Toya said with a deep determination as Omaki looked at him in shocked confusion.
“Finally it’s settling down,” Omaki sighed with relief. “You did well tonight.”
“Are you sure?” Toya asked hesitantly.
“Very sure. I think you surprised everyone. You actually managed to mingle, although we really do need to work on your body language. You’re still way too tense and it shows. Still, you made some good connections. Just remember that when they ask you out don’t always refuse,” Omaki encouraged.
“I will try. It’s all thanks to you,” Toya said a little relieved.
“Well I did point you in the direction of people I knew would be charmed by your personality,” Omaki winked.
“You’re welcome, although I’m highly curious about your request. Don’t worry I won’t press. I did send some of my people to drag your pet out of the garden. He can’t spend all night out there,” Omaki said as they walked arm in arm though the empty main room where the number of party goers had decreased significantly.
“I usually let people stay, but this time I’m rounding up the stranglers and sending them home. I want the weekend for us,” Omaki teased.
Toya turned around to see a servant hurrying over to Omaki and whispering something in his ear.
“Right, get him into the guest room, and make sure nobody sees him. I don’t want any gossip,” Omaki said seriously.
“It’s Riva, come on .”
“What’s wrong?”Toya asked all of his control flying out the window.
“I’m not sure, but it appears he was trying to beat up one of my trees,” Omaki said with a hint of humor as they both hurried to the guest room.
They entered to find Omaki’s’s servants laying the barely conscious pet out on the bed.
“Is Heiku still here?” Omaki’s asked.
“Sober I hope. Go get him.”
Toya moved to Riva’s side, uncaring of appearances. His heart lurched at the site of his pet’s mangled hands.
Toya looked down at his dazed pet, terrified at what was happening. His fists were covered in dark dried blood and he looked pale and helpless. . Toya had never thought that word would ever apply to Riva, not even when he had hung bound by chains in the Taming Tower had Riva looked so broken.
“I think it would be better if you moved aside while I examine him,” said an unfamiliar voice from above him.
“No,” Toya said his voice brittle and cracking, his eyes never moving from Riva’s face.
“I will be able to work faster. Omaki?”
“Toya, come. I promise Heiku will take good care of him. Come here,” Omaki said gently pulled Toya to his feet.
Toya only allowed himself to be taken a little bit away before he planted his feet, unwilling to go any further, his eyes totally locked on Riva’s pale face. It wasn’t until he heard a voice whimper Riva’s name behind him did he awaken. Slowly looking over his shoulder he saw Elwyn’s stricken expression.