He always liked the way the purple contrasted against Asch’s skin. Dark marks around that too pale neck, just starting to appear; a reminder of what he’d done. He liked the anger in Asch’s eyes, too, whenever he remembered, long fingers almost gingerly brushing over the bruises.
The boy saw it as a punishment, perhaps, but Van knew it was so much more than that. A lesson well taught and received, another reminder of just who Asch owed loyalty to. Loyalty for taking care of him.
Loyalty for leading him on the right path.
He took his time with it after his plans were set into motion, preparing his key chess piece so he wouldn’t waver when the time came to be used, burned it into every nook and cranny of the boy’s mind while he laid the foundations for a greater future. A future Asch would not be part of, but one he would nonetheless be proud to have helped building it. All in accordance with his plans.
No, not a punishment indeed, even the deep gashes he sometimes left, turning into ugly scars. Just a way of making sure his toy would be useful when it was needed, a lesson repeated until the boy understood.
Until, when Van commanded, Asch obeyed.
“Come to my chambers tonight.”
He sees the slight stiffening in Asch’s spine, long used to noticing subtle changes in the boy after all these years he has honed him as his perfect pawn. Notices the way his eyes narrow for just a split second before his gaze turns impassive and he gives a curt nod.
Asch doesn’t like it, and the thought makes Van smile.
The terse rapping on his door later that night only proves it. Asch doesn’t like it, and yet still he obeys. A lesson driven home well over the years and now, finally, the boy has seen the error of his ways. Has recognized that Van alone must be trusted, that the Score must be destroyed. That the way this world existed was an error in itself.
The smile is back on his face when Asch opens the door, his armor already removed, knowing full well that Van doesn’t like to be held up by such things. Well trained indeed.
There is no tenderness to his touch when he pulls Asch close, deliberately tightening his hand around the wrist that still must be bruised from the last time. All he gets is a low hiss of pain and nothing else, and that is good, too. Complete obedience, to the point where the boy won’t even speak out against him. It’s exactly what Van needs, and for a moment he considers giving Asch a reward before brushing the thought aside. Tools don’t need rewards after all.
He hasn’t spoken another word since he told the boy to come in, but Asch knows what to do anyway, sinking to his knees in front of him, deft hands quick to undo Van’s trousers, his lips sure and warm when he takes Van’s arousal into his mouth.
Perhaps he will take him later, too, though for now he will let the boy prove his loyalty.
After all, that is what he needs. Perfectly loyal tools, who will work for him and his goal until the very end. Until he has purified this world from all its imperfections.
Asch had followed him willingly, in the beginning. Naïvely so, perhaps. No, naïvely for sure, with how he’d trusted the man, how he’d almost worshipped him. His master, his teacher, the only person who knew what was right in the world. After all, who had he had after that replica had taken his family from him?
Only Van, Van who had seen the truth, who had known that the Score must be destroyed, for the betterment of this wretched world.
It was necessary, he’d thought in the beginning, the way Van would sometimes grasp his neck and tighten his hold, harder, ever steady, until Asch couldn’t breathe, until he recognized that his master was right. Until his spirit had been almost broken, body littered with bruises.
It hadn’t even been necessary, then, for Van to force him into submission, to make him hate and fear him at the same time, for Asch had seen the right of his plans.
Or had thought he’d seen it.
Until Van had revealed the last of it.
Replicas to take all of humanity’s place, to do the same that worthless dreck had done to him. That was when the fear had left him, replaced by anger.
And yet still he played his part.
It is hard not to lash out at Van when he commands him to his chambers that day. This is hardly the first time he’s done so, and yet Asch still can’t bring himself to get used to it. What Van does now is different from the beatings he received when he was smaller, different, and yet the same in its intention. To remind him that he is but a pawn, that he belongs to Van mind, body and soul.
He’s wrong, of course.
Asch hasn’t belonged to anyone since the day he decided that Van was wrong. Wrong, not for his desire to destroy the Score, but wrong for wanting to replace feeling humans with inferior fakes.
Perhaps he should have realized it from the start, but he’d been blind, then. Blind and young and devoted to a master who didn’t deserve it.
But his own plans have been put into motion now.
And that’s what makes him keep playing his role as a faithful pawn in Van’s games, what leads his steps along an all too familiar corridor that night, making sure his face isn’t betraying any emotions before he knocks.
Van isn’t kind to him when he takes, toys with his body like it’s the man’s property, and Asch would be lying if he said it didn’t hurt. Not just his body, but his pride, for not working fast enough in setting his plans into motion, for still for still having to act as if he accepted all of this as inevitable.
He knows it won’t be long until he can break away, until he can ensure Van’s filthy replicas will never take another person’s place.
It’s that thought that keeps him sane as he allows Van to lay claim on him time and time again.