Kyo needs release from something far more personal than the stage.
His gaze trails over his body and the chest that gleams in the small lights of the darkness. Inch after inch of once perfect skin is covered with scars and scabs, reminders of still-healing wounds and self-inflicted torture that plagues and releases him, week after week.
He sits there for hours, and his reflection steadily grows colder as his hands begin to quiver. His silent cries and torment boil inside of him, making his body shake as the hot lashings sting the base of his throat. He wants to swallow, but he can’t bring himself to move. He can’t break his own gaze and let himself win, casting his eyes downward in his own shame, fearing his own reaction and what was crawling in his mind. The inevitable. The one thing they had always, unconsciously, expected from him.
The cold, cruel hatred he harboured for society -- for those in his past, for the world -- that manifested itself so physically in an overwhelming passion was constantly at the verge of driving him where they always thought he’d go. His own madness would reach a peak and mirror the blood and grime and torment that he bruised his lungs for each night.
The hand that slides across his chest is not his own. Soft hair dances onthe skin of his neck like a ghost sinking in for the kill, but still he does not move. His breathing is calm, natural, but his hands shake in confined agony, concealed hate; only his eyes show his rage, his thoughts, his wants and needs, his overwhelming sadness and uselessness.
Because he was useless. He looked into the mirror and saw nothing. Nothing but scars of battles and ordinary people. Because he was ordinary. He was crazy, he was hurt, he was what he conjured, but he was essentially the same, so lonely and insignificant. So ugly. So bruised. Heartstrings torn and ripped like blades of grass, gone off to decompose and start life again elsewhere without him.
And as his pain stares back at him, the hand inches its way across his neck, finally closing around it as it’s owner leans forward against Kyo’s shoulder to meet his eyes through the dirty reflection.
“You’ve been staring at yourself for hours,” the voice rings lowly, deep and conserved. “No matter how long you sit there, nothing is ever going to change.”
“I can try,” Kyo whispers, his own voice sounding fuzzy and dormant.
Kaoru trails his fingers down Kyo’s chest, letting the heat linger across the newly formed cuts across his body and causing Kyo to let out a small hiss of pain. Kaoru’s expression remains unchanged as he replies pensively, “You’ll fail.”
“It’s my body,” Kyo responds weakly, protesting. His prodigious rage and sorrow has always been coupled with deep traces of fear, usually unnoticeable, but once they were found, they delved far, unleashing the terror he felt towards himself and pitting it against how much he couldn’t stand it. Kaoru knows this. Kaoru had seen it all before.
“Always so selfish, Kyo,” Kaoru sighs gently, his voice laced delicately with hints and promises, the coy nature spilling out and morphing into something Kyo finds irresistible, despite the consequences.
“I--I’m sorry. I--”
Kaoru growls in frustration, his fingernails scraping across Kyo's skin.
“Shut /up/, you worthless piece of /shit./”
The hand around Kyo’s neck tightens, cutting his ability to breath so drastically that he finally moves his body, reaching his fingers up to touch Kaoru’s, as if to assure himself that they were real. Kaoru instantly brings his other hand up to push Kyo’s down, giving him a cold stare through the mirror.
Kyo’s only response is a choked off cry as Kaoru’s fingers tightens against the tender skin of his neck. His eyes begin to water, both from the physical pain and the emotional hurt, but he refuses to struggle, letting the cruel treatment wash over him as a cure and punishment to his malcontent. And when Kaoru’s nails finally sink into his arm, he lets out a strangled sob, this time more of relief than pain.
It’s somehow a release to hear those words pour from Kaoru’s mouth, a confirmation of that sentiment -- that he’s worthless. A waste. A burden on his friends, a burden on the band, a burden on the earth. A space that needed filling.
Kaoru’s hand doesn’t relent it’s pressure, and it’s all Kyo can do to sit there and choke; choke on his own mistakes, his own regrets, his own choices in life and all the things he never did. All the things that could have made him a better person. He begins to asphyxiate on his own life, his breath coming in winded gasps as he struggles to remain level-headed, attempting to fight but doing so weakly.
When he is finally released, his throat is sore and each desperate swallow burns his entire upper body to the point of suffocation. He takes gulp after gulp of air, tears blurring his vision and he’s coughing, trying to focus on his reflection in the mirror and Kaoru’s body behind his, but he can barely hold his head up anymore.
It’s a long time before his breathing settles and he stops coughing, each tentative swallow stinging the rips and constricted tissues. When he trusts himself enough, he looks up to meet Kaoru’s eyes through the mirror, and there is no pleasure behind the dark orbs that stare back at him. No hint that Kaoru is enjoying this, or that he desires to continue. He does it all for Kyo, and in shame, Kyo casts his eyes downward again, single rivulets of tears masking his face.
But Kaoru’s hand in underneath his chin instantly, forcing his line of vision back up. “Look at me,” Kaoru hisses, his fingers harsh against Kyo’s skin. “Look at me when I talk to you, you worthless bitch.”
The words are even more harsh as they contrast against Kaoru’s calm tone and nature, and Kyo is shivering, his insides like ice and his body racked with heat. Heat and guilt and shame; shame that he pulled Kaoru into this, shame that he is who he is. The shame that he can’t control himself.
“I’m sorry. Please, I--”
His broken syllables earn him a hard slap across the face, one that sends his head in a new direction and his thoughts in the air. The force of the blow blanks out his comprehension, and he’s momentarily stricken dumb and immobile, unaware of his surroundings or of himself. Then, as the pain begins to set in, and the feeling of tiny needles pinpricking at his skin jogs his memory, he quickly blinks to clear his eyes of the tears.
“You’ll talk when you deserve the right to speak,” Kaoru growls, lowering his burning hand and immediately seeing the red mark he left so visibly across Kyo’s cheek. He can almost taste the humiliation coursing through Kyo’s form, can taste the shivers as Kyo constricts his body in spastic twitches and cut-off sobs. It brings him no satisfaction.
He lets Kyo regain his senses completely, running a hand through his hair in an oddly comforting manner, and he feels Kyo loosening beneath him. The tenseness in his fingers and shoulders are gone, and his body was heaving now with controlled reactions to pain and not an overwhelming desire to do something drastic. His will was gone. Dead. Tears flow from Kyo's eyes in such a meaningless manner that it seemed to mirror his own resolve: bleeding and breaking from the inside out.
He jerks Kyo’s head back, and as Kyo yelps in pain Kaoru lets out a small gasp and choked cry, as if the action were performed against his will. His breath is on Kyo’s neck as he terrorizes him, words hard and cutting placed so calmly in his speech. “Tell me what you want, Kyo. Tell me what you deserve.”
“Pain,” Kyo breaths back, his lips and hands trembling. “I deserve nothing… but the…pain.”
With little hesitation, Kaoru leans forward to whisper, “And you shall receive it.”
The words instil shock in Kyo, and time ceases to exist as his blood runs cold and his heart aches. Aches for the release, for the purification that only this torture could give him. His eyes leak more tears as Kaoru speaks these words so delicately into his blood, chilling him so thoroughly and effectively that his very bones felt bleached with the promise.
Kyo opens his mouth in a silent scream as Kaoru’s fingers deftly tear open one of his healing cuts, scrapping his nails across the new skin underneath until Kyo could feel the red liquid running freely down his chest. He whimpers and squirms instinctively in pain, and his breathing races. A second’s pause and those nails are back to tear open another wound, and another, until all Kyo can feel is a hot throbbing against his chest, and the cool warmth that his blood brings against his skin.
“Look at yourself,” Kaoru commands, “And tell me what you see.”
Kyo raises his eyes groggily to the mirror, tears slipping down his face as hair clung to his skin in sticky sweat. He could smell the iron of blood in the air, could see the shine of red liquid in the semi-darkness, seeping into the waistband of his pants. His own eyes look back at him, helpless and unresisting. He is there. So hurt and so beautiful yet so /alive/. And for the first time in months, Kyo feels that familiar sting of painful regret. Everything he had done, everything everyone else was, all comes rushing back to him, and his heart pounds against his ribcage as he sobs.
“I see nothing… Nothing,” he chokes out, and Kaoru’s hand is on him again, gripping his bruised neck harder than before. Kyo lets out a strangled gasp at the sudden intrusion, and swallows as thickly as he could, his mouth open as every emotion he had ever felt coursed through his body. Each heartbeat was like the tick of a bomb, counting down to his salvation and damnation.
“You see /failure/,” Kaoru’s hisses, and Kyo knows he’s right. He sees failure. He failed at his attempts to solve his own problems by himself. He failed at keeping himself in check. He failed at being able to give himself release alone, the release he needed to continue to function in life.
The slim fingers are cruel, cutting off his air supply, and the pain of his already damaged throat makes the bile rise from his stomach, threatening him and taunting his control. He barely dares himself the attempt to breath, but it makes no difference. He tries to swallow, but Kaoru’s hand prevents it. He tries to block it, but it comes.
With a sudden lurch, Kyo pours out the contents of his stomach onto the floor in front of him, tasting the acid on his already burning throat. His eyes blank at the severity of the ejection and he is momentarily blind, stunned at the harsh burning of his throat and the amount of energy it took to get the bile up and out of it. He has no time to recover before he felt his shoulder slamming into something hard, and he dimly realizes, a second later, that he is lying on the floor.
But now, it was different. He was shivering in agony and his body was in anguish, but his mind was clear. He feels purged. And laying in the blood and dirt and grime of his own doing, he finally feels clean. The layers of skin were peeling off, and Kyo felt like he was walking through fire, the burning on his body stripping off the layers, all the things he hated and loved. His life. Himself. All the damaged skin that he tries in vain to cut off himself, but it never manages to bring quite this feeling.
Kaoru walked over to him softly, his very presence so entirely different, and when he bends down next to Kyo, the fingers that run through his hair are soft and comforting. Kyo finds himself being pulled against Kaoru’s body as he cries hysterically, his eyes bright red from his continuous sobs and his entire being drained from the throbbing pain and effort it took him to even breath. His cries are the sounds of pure relief, of black pain lifted from his thoughts and body until he feels timeless and suspended. Kaoru holds him through every moment, his arms circling around Kyo’s body and never loosening; and Kyo is grateful, because never had he felt this raw, this open, as if that same fiery wind that was taking off all those dead layers would become to strong and leave him bleeding to death in the open air.
But he feels safe. Safe to tremble and sob in Kaoru’s arms.
“Thank you,” he whispered, his voice cracked and broken, but alive.
Kaoru’s only reply was to hold him closer, closing his eyes to Kyo’s body and the abuse he had put it through as tears streamed down his own eyes. And as Kyo shakes against him, his form heaving with heavy, relieved sobs, he hopes that this sin, this catharsis, would finally be enough.
But in the back of his mind, he knew better.
Nothing is ever going to change.