Albert and Yuber have a discussion about intentions in the Great Hollow. (yaoi)
The chamber was, Albert had to admit, quite beautiful. In the heavy-handed, dimly-lit,very...ROCKY way that the Lizard Clan preferred. The columns were gray-blue stone, shot through with quartz illuminated from within by some source that Albert couldn't see. The pool in the center was almost perfectly round, and heated either naturally or by some other mechanism, if the temperature of the room and the steam coming off the pool was any indication.
He wondered for a moment what in nine hells the room was for, and why Yuber would be down here, until he saw the man floating on his back in the center of the pool. His eyes picked out the pile of black on a nearby bench, two slender swords lying side by side on top, cradled lovingly in the cloth.
Well. Walking in on Yuber bathing wasn't exactly what he'd expected to do, but one did have to make the best of the unexpected. He stepped closer, so that he could speak low enough not to be overheard.
"Did you accomplish your task?"
The reply from the pool was almost a hiss, though a slightly contented, definitely mocking one. "Yes, keeper."
"Did you find anything to trouble us?"
"No. Taking out that dried up old bastard will be simple. TOO simple."
"Watch your words."
Yuber sighed, flicking water Albert's way with one hand. "There's no one here, Albert. Relax." He stretched in the water, a small smile on his lips.
Albert's eyes narrowed. Yuber wasn't usually in this good a mood unless he'd killed something.
"You didn't take any...liberties, did you? This is supposed to be reconnaisance."
"No. I...RESTRAINED myself. You would have been proud."
Albert pursed his lips in distaste. So predictable. "You will have all the blood you want soon."
Yuber chuckled, his eyes flashing as he flipped over in the water, his smile showing teeth. "Don't make promises you can't keep, boy."
Albert chose to let that pass. "What are you doing down here?"
A derisive snort and a dismissive ripple of water was Yuber's answer. "What does it look like? Taking a bath. Would you like to join me?"
Not for all the power in the world. "No."
Yuber's lips twisted into something that might have been a smile. "Are you sure?"
"Yuber, I would rather take on a stone golem blindfolded than get in that pool with you."
"Your loss. You might learn something."
"I doubt it." Albert turned to leave. "We leave at dawn tomorrow. Be ready."
Yuber's only response was a vaguely affirmative noise and a slight ripple of water.
Albert looked back and saw that he had laid back to float in the pool again. His hair, surprisingly long now that it was freed from its braid, drifted along the surface like strands of gold. His face, almost at peace, or at least sated for the moment on the thought of future bloodshed, looked almost as young as Albert himself.
Hard to believe that he's centuries old.
"May I ask you a question?"
Yuber's voice was languid, his eyes still closed. "I think you're incapable of NOT asking questions." One eye opened, brow arching.
"You fought for Windy in the Liberation War." He waited, but got no response. If it weren't for the slow sweep of Yuber's arms across the water, he would have thought the man asleep. "Luc fought against you then, and again in the Unification War. Why do you now fight with him?"
Yuber laughed, his voice ringing hauntingly off the stones, echoes upon echoes. He disappeared under the water, coming up still smiling as he pulled back his hair. "Perhaps I wish to. Perhaps we have a deal, the Bishop and I. Perhaps the sound of a million souls screaming their release will be music to my ears. Or perhaps I don't really aid his plan at all. Or perhaps...." His push up out of the water was cat-like, all arm-strength and sure-footed landing. "...I just don't have anything better to do." His hands, moving to gather his long hair and throw it back over his shoulders, weaved hypnotically in the humid air.
Stop staring, you fool. Albert shook himself. "You don't answer the question."
Yuber laughed again, head thrown back, torchlight catching the water on his skin as he turned to catch a towel off a nearby bench. "Oh, but I do. Or maybe I don't. Probably both at the same time." He cocked his head to regard Albert amusedly. "Would you be able to tell the difference?"
Predictable, Albert thought. And there was absolutely no reason, he told himself, why seeing the man standing there, unarmed and unflinchingly naked, should have made him feel threatened. Perhaps it was because the man didn't act unarmed at all. Or maybe it was the fact that Yuber was looking at him, something interested in his eyes that Albert didn't usually see unless Yuber was about to kill something.
"Hmm." Albert turned to leave. The man was obviously not going to answer, and what other reason was there to stay, after all?
He was almost to the door when Yuber called after him. "Just when are you planning on selling us out?"
Albert stopped, turning his head to stare back. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Yuber chuckled, running the towel along his arms slowly. "Fighting for Luc in exchange for a cushy position in a government that shortly won't exist?" He shook his head, his eyes never leaving Albert's face. "Either you are a fool, or mad, or you plan to gain the benefits of helping without truly expecting success." Yuber's mismatched eyes bored into his. "And you may be young and arrogant, but you are not a fool. And you don't smell of any sort of madness I've ever tasted." He dropped the towel on the bench. "So...you must be planning on turning traitor."
Albert scowled, scoffing as he turned away yet again. "You are delusional. I do not need to explain myself to--"
He froze as a slender blade seemingly materialized at his throat and another laid its cold edge across the back of his neck. Yuber's voice purred in his ear. "And you were doing so WELL, too. Pity."
Nothing human can move that fast. "Let me go, Yuber."
The chuckle was warm, Yuber's breath tickling his ear. Albert could feel the heat from the man's body, even through his clothes, as if he were standing next to a bonfire.
Yuber's blades turned a bit, rotating, scraping along his skin. "A bit of advice, boy. Don't turn your back on me too many times." His breath washed hot over the back of Albert's neck. "It's never good for your health."
"You won't kill me." He won't. It would not make strategic sense, for Luc or for him. He won't....
"Wouldn't I? I hadn't noticed."
Again that chuckle, and then the swords were gone, both drawing a little slice of blood as they retreated.
Albert spun, and found himself alarmingly close, almost touching. He jerked his chin up to glare at Yuber.
The Chaos-bearer brought one of his blades between their mouths, tongue flicking out to taste the traces of Albert's blood, some predatory, unreadable emotion hot in his mismatched eyes.
The first step backwards was the hardest. The others followed more easily.
But it was a retreat, and they both knew it.