"You win," Isamu says hoarsely. "Do as you please." He hurts all over, down into his bones, and he's tired. Behind him Noah is a wreck of wasted flesh, magatsuhi bleeding out of its eyes, and if he looked up through the cracked sphere that holds him -- he doesn't want to, because he'd rather not have Naoki's goddamn smug satisfaction be the last thing he ever sees -- he'd be watching the power swirl and eddy around the demi-fiend. Stupid bastard's always been ahead of him, in everything.
Tattooed hands close on the jagged edges of the sphere, pulling until the crystallized magatsuhi snaps. Isamu flinches, because that hurts, too, even if he can't explain where in his body he feels the pain. Where the fuck did Naoki get that strong?
"Raphael," Naoki says.
"My lord," says one of the demons behind him. Isamu flinches preemptively, waiting for the killing blow -- is the son of a bitch too cool to even do it himself? -- but what comes isn't the piercing stroke of a sword, but the soft warmth of a powerful healing spell.
Isamu looks up. "What the hell are you doing?" he says.
Naoki's eyes are glowing, icy blue with power, and it's hard to read his expression with those marks on his face, whether it's a smile or a smirk. "What I want," he says. He sounds patient. Isamu always hated that.
"No, seriously," Isamu says, and then Naoki's hands close around his biceps and pull him up, even though he goes limp and makes himself dead weight -- he was going to just stay here, die here, and whatever new world comes won't be his anyway --
"I won," Naoki says, like Isamu couldn't tell. "I'm taking you with me."
Isamu shakes his head, trying to pull away, but diarahan or no diarahan, he doesn't have any strength left, and if Naoki let go of him he's afraid he'd fall on his ass in front of the demi-fiend's army. Which, well. Bad as things are, he still doesn't want to die of embarrassment. "You can't do that," he says.
Naoki laughs -- god, was his laugh always that creepy? It's not even harsh, not mean, but it's like...he sounds like one of the goddamn Yoyogi Park fairies. Like he just doesn't understand what Isamu means, or why he should care. "Of course I can," he says. "There's nobody here who can stop me."
"I'm not going," Isamu says. "I gave up on you."
"Yes, you are," Naoki says. He holds onto Isamu's arm with one hand, and holds up the other, and there's this little wispy shimmery thing between his fingers -- a feather? It catches the light, sparkles, and Naoki raises it up in front of his mouth.
Shit, Isamu thinks, because that's a wagtail -- and Naoki blows on it, and the feather crumbles to shining dust, scattering across Isamu's face.
"Fuck," Isamu says, even though it's too late. "You son of a bitch, Naoki, you, god, you fucking bastard, you smell so good," and his hands are clawing at the waistband of Naoki's shorts without him even meaning to.
Naoki smiles again, and the part of Isamu's brain that still belongs to him thinks this is why he didn't win, because Naoki's more of a demon than he'll ever be, doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks and doesn't have to care about not giving a damn. It just comes naturally. "Now let's go," Naoki says, one hand in the belt loop at the back of Isamu's jeans, steering him, and Isamu's glad that he doesn't have to let go, and angry that he's glad.
"I hate you," he says as they stumble toward the elevator that'll take them further up the tower. "You're such a bastard." A couple of those rainbow snake things try to stop them, and Isamu catches himself rubbing his face against Naoki's shoulder while Naoki motions for his demons to take care of it.
"But we're friends," Naoki says. He leans over and nips Isamu's earlobe, and Isamu goes weak in the knees.
"No we're not," Isamu argues. They're moving again, and he hates that. He wants to touch more of Naoki, wants to rub up against him and lick the power off his skin, the bastard.
The elevator hums upward smoothly and stops with a click on the new floor, and the manikins up there -- how did they make it this far? -- don't even flee when Naoki's crew march into their camp to visit the Lady of the Fount. While Naoki's waiting his turn, Isamu clings to him, sucking on the spot where his fiend-mark crosses his collar bone. There's power there, and raw nearly-human sweat, and Isamu's hard for it, hard for the first time since the Conception happened.
"And your friend?" the Lady asks, when she's given the healing waters to Naoki and he's drunk from them.
"He's fine," Naoki says. His thumb strokes Isamu's spine.
"I'm not," Isamu says. "You son of a bitch, you know I'm not fine, why --" and Naoki bites his throat, and the rest of the words turn into a moan.
Naoki nods to the Lady of the Fount. "Thank you," he says, and steers Isamu back out again. "You feel good," he says, leaning against the wall outside. "Come here."
And Isamu does, plastering himself against Naoki's body despite himself, humping Naoki's leg like a goddamn dog. "Please not here," he says, and the friction hums along his nerves, makes his skin feel tight and hot. "Not in front of all of them." The manikins have the decency to look away -- mostly -- but Naoki's demons are watching, curious, hungry-eyed.
"You still want to be alone, hmm," Naoki says, like a goddamn freak who doesn't remember that people don't do this crap in front of other...well, the demons are as close to people as it gets, anymore. "All right. That's easy enough." He pulls Isamu with him down the hall, opens the door to one of the unmarked rooms, tells the manikin inside, "We need this space for a while."
The manikin twitches in alarm -- probably in alarm, maybe just because; they were always weird -- and bows before it leaves. And thank god, because Isamu's had about all the waiting he can stand, and he's pawing at Naoki's skin, hot, needy --
"Goddamn it," he says. "You're -- you taste like -- like magatsuhi, like power." He bites, sucking on Naoki's skin like he could draw it back out, even though he doesn't know if he can with his Reason lost and he's sure Naoki wouldn't let him, but --
Naoki trips him, tumbles them both to the floor, and the air goes out of Isamu's lungs in a huff. "You like it?" Naoki says. "I like you like this. You're much friendlier now."
Isamu pushes up with his hips as Naoki rolls on top of him. "This isn't, ah, friendly, you prick, don't stop," and he's going to fucking come in his pants if they keep this up. Naoki's hands slide over his skin, smooth again now that the Amala souls have deserted him for failing Musubi, and nobody touching him has ever felt like this, made him nothing but one tight seething coil of want.
And then Naoki bites, teeth scraping against his throat, and the demon instincts he's learned in the Vortex World make Isamu hiss and shudder -- but he still doesn't struggle, damn it, even with Naoki's hand pushing down to yank the buttons of his jeans open.
"Yes," he's saying instead, "yes, fuck, Naoki, just --" he bucks into Naoki's hand, would swear he can feel the humming power of the demon marks pressed against the sensitive skin of his cock -- and his head clears all at once. "Fuck," he says, trying to squirm away, to get out from under Naoki's weight, "stop it. Stop it, Naoki, I don't want this."
Naoki leans back enough to look him in the eyes, weight still bearing down on Isamu's thighs. "No?" he says. "Here, then."
"No," Isamu says, when Naoki reaches for another wagtail plume. He turns his face away, won't breathe that stuff in again. "Leave me alone, Naoki. I don't like --" he's not even sure; you maybe, or people, or even sex, at this point.
But Naoki just crushes the plume in his hand and reaches for Isamu's face, demon grip catching him by the jaw and holding him still, fingers rubbing against his lips, pushing for entrance. The goddamn dust smears the wet inside of Isamu's lip and his resistance dissolves, and Naoki pushes three fingers into his mouth.
The crushed plume melts on Isamu's tongue, and it tastes like honey, sweet as nothing else in the Vortex World. He sucks on Naoki's fingers, moaning, angry enough that he wishes he could bite but incapable of doing it when Naoki's petting his tongue like that, god. Instead he's reaching down to help Naoki push his pants down off his hips, and the little growl that Naoki makes against his skin makes a flush of heat run down his body.
"Yes," Naoki hums, "yes, there, much better," and Isamu has every intention of hating him when this wears off, but not now, with his mind charm-blurred and Naoki settling lean and muscular between his legs. Isamu hears himself whine when Naoki's fingers leave his mouth, and Naoki laughs like he's delighted, the bastard. "It's all right," he says. "Look, it's fine. I'll put them back in you."
He pushes his fingers up Isamu's ass, and it burns but Isamu can't make himself fight it, just arches his back and hisses and braces his hands against the floor as if he could dig his fingers right into the stone. "You bastard," he says, "Naoki, just -- fuck --" and he's hard, still, moaning when Naoki's fingers twist inside him.
Naoki hums, smiles down at him, eyes glowing strange and bright. "Don't fight," he says. "I'll take care of you, Isamu. You'll be fine now."
That's such a strange thing to hear -- here, now, from the demi-fiend -- that Isamu almost laughs, but then Naoki pulls his fingers out and Isamu clutches at him helplessly, because he wants -- the stuff in his blood wants -- "More, damnit, don't stop, please --"
"Not stopping," Naoki says, and spits in his hand.
It hurts when his cock pushes in, but that doesn't matter, not right now. The need fogging Isamu's mind doesn't care about that, and when he opens his mouth he can't make himself complain. "You," he says, "fuck, Naoki, you --" but hurting isn't all it does, either. This is nothing like what happened with the Mantra. Isamu wraps his legs around Naoki's waist -- what happened to wanting nobody, wanting to be left alone? -- and holds on, and Naoki reaches for his hard cock.
"Yes," Naoki whispers, "yes, you're coming with me now, Isamu, it's all right," and the way muscle moves in his back, under Isamu's hands, god. Isamu reaches up, finds the demon spike on the back of Naoki's neck, wraps his hand around it to hold on. Naoki shivers over him, so Isamu rakes his nails up the length of that spike, and Naoki growls, purrs at him.
"Please," Isamu answers, and he's moving with Naoki now, rocking into it, hot everywhere their skin touches, his blood pounding in his veins with the need -- and when Naoki shudders above him and drives deep, going still inside him, Isamu whines through his teeth, like he's forgetting to be human, too. "Don't stop," he says, "damnit, don't."
Naoki hums another low demon sound and strokes his cock harder, and Isamu clings tight, digging nails into Naoki's skin and biting down on Naoki's shoulder until he tastes the clean brightness of magatsuhi against his tongue and he can't stand it anymore and he's coming in Naoki's hand.
The bastard looks so smug about it, too, when Isamu looks up as he's catching his breath. "Fuck you," Isamu says. "Don't give me that look."
"What look?" Naoki says, and smiles, and for a second he looks almost human. "Do you feel better now?"
"I --" Isamu pauses. His mind feels clearer now, at least enough that he can think about something other than licking sweat off Naoki's chest. It's funny, but most of the anger has gone with the charm. He feels...calm. Like he's starting over at something. "Let me up."
Naoki strokes the side of his face, the pulse beating hard in his neck, the bone of his shoulder. "You won't go far, will you? I want to bring you with me."
Isamu has to look away. "Up the rest of the tower?" he says. "Without my god, or my Reason?"
"Why not?" Naoki says. "I'm going to Kagatsuchi with no Reason at all."
"If you can get past Chiaki," Isamu says. "Let me up."
Naoki rocks back, pulls out, and hums when that makes Isamu flinch. "We'll take you by the Fountain before we go," he says. "And then we're going upstairs, and I'm going to kill Chiaki's god."
He says it so matter-of-factly, so calmly, Isamu can't help staring. "You're -- you don't even have a Reason, and you're that certain?"
"I believe in myself," Naoki says, with a little sidelong smile that makes it arrogant and scary, instead of cheap self-help crap.
"You're crazy," Isamu says, but he means it as a compliment. Probably.
Naoki shrugs, rises gracefully to his feet, and offers Isamu his hand. "Maybe," he says. "Come with me."
And Isamu must be crazy, too, because he takes Naoki's hand and lets himself be pulled to his feet. He's already lost, but he can still keep going -- he might as well see where this goes.