Gilgamesh had almost no morning rituals. (It was nearly impossible to keep the king on a schedule, and Kirei did not bother to expend the effort to try). Kirei, on the other hand, had what seemed like an every increasing number of things he did with vicious punctuality. This ranged from hygiene to cleaning to exercise and eventually prayer. It was that last one (with a momentary and obligatory attempt at disruption in Kirei's life somewhere between cleaning and exercise) that gave Gilgamesh the most pause.
"Does he ever answer, your 'god'?"
". . ."
"Say, Kirei . . . why not praying to someone who will answer? Or, should I put it this way. . . someone who already has? Those answers you're intent on, haven't we already gone over them?"
This was met with silence. There were some topics that neither of them gave particularly well on. Kirei's God was one of them. Gilgamesh's gods, another. Both were treated by disdain by the Servant, but Kirei was still a man trying to have faith.
Kirei knelt, recited a prayer, and leaned forward to rest his forehead against the floor. Instead his face encountered Gilgamesh's shoe, strategically placed (not a kick, the king was being benevolent) between him and the floor.
"Try worshipping something worth worship." Gilgamesh pushed at Kirei's cheek with his foot, tilting his head so he could look him in the eye. "Like me, for instance."
Kirei obliged the gesture, meeting Gilgamesh's gaze. He knew there was nothing on his face, a blank expression constructed out of years of being an executor and having a firm hold on his own heart.
"Oh? In need of praise, King of Heroes?" He did not shift one inch while speaking. His hands remained flat to the floor, his back partially curved -- halfway to speaking with God. But his words were tainted with just a small piece of snideness. It was a reminder of how King Gilgamesh was forgotten of, how his kingdom was no more and even his grand treasury was not even a passing thought to the average person who walked this world. There was nothing but echoes and dust -- broken tablets -- that called Gilgamesh out of history. An epic about folly and loss.
"Watch your tongue, Kirei." Gilgamesh's tone had turned soft, but his eyes had narrowed. He moved the toe of his shoe to the corner of Kirei's mouth. "Or I'll cut it out."
"Then I'll have to write your praise instead of speak it." The reply was dry, but the snideness remained.
"Kirei!" Gilgamesh's fury (he disliked these reminders, the weightiness of his own flesh and blood body, the ache of living as a man again), was spoke through his tone and how he shoved his shoe into Kirei's mouth. The priest did not move, still, his jaw slightly parted with Gilgamesh's force. He continued to meet GIlgamesh's eyes, but there was a slight curve to his lips and it was not simply because of the king's foot.
In this moment there were two possibilities. Yielding or conquering.
"Enjoying this? Do you have another well of pleasure we haven't drawn from yet?" Gilgamesh continued in his soft voice. He applied more pressure. This too was a kind of desire that the king had indulged in before.
At that, Kirei turned his face back towards the floor as best he could. There was an awful sort of laugh welling up in him. It was not an action Gilgamesh would allow, of course but that was what made the moment all the more perfect. In the instant when his anger spike again -- Gilgamesh's soft voice gained another edge -- Kirei grabbed his ankle and pulled back.
It was easy.
With the corner of his mouth turning red Kirei pulled down the King of Heroes (there was an impressive clatter of Gilgamesh's back and head against the other pew, the floor, the hollow church sound echoing with his fall). An instant later Gilgamesh roared, moved to push himself up, and found Kirei's hand at his throat. It was not a violent gesture but a placating one.
"I am enjoying this, but you've interrupted my hour of prayer." Kirei answered, finally, smoothly. His eyes moved from Gilgamesh's to the thin trickle of blood that was making its way through the king's hair and down his neck. "My apologies, I didn't mean to make you bleed." He dropped his hand and moved so he was kneeling in front of Gilgamesh. Then he lowered himself to the floor again, as if to hide his amused face.
"You will have to do better than that, Kirei, to return to my favor." Gilgamesh snarled. His own hands exploring the small cut on the back of his head, unamused by the bruises already forming as well.
"Then anything you ask of me, King of Heroes, I will provide to you." Kirei's voice was still even and his head still bowed.
"I want you to beg for forgiveness."
"Please forgive me, for I have sinned." Kirei lifted his face as he spoke. His expression had not altered, much, but there was a regard in his eyes that spoke to a shift. He moved deliberately, both hands to Gilgamesh's knees, then his hips. "I struck you and made you bleed." A matter-a-fact statement that caused Gilgamesh to frown again.
"You do not mean a single apology in your life, can you? Your repentance is always false." But that did bring a laugh out of Gilgamesh. "Come then, Kirei, I change my order to you. Show me what this has brought out in you."
"As you wish."