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Into this wild Abyss

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Meeting Shin Hyuga Shaing was the best and worst thing that ever happened Andrea Farnese.
The room was orante. It was filled with heavy curtains in a deep cream and lined with carpets in a dark burgundy. The couches, covered in furs and arm rests bejeweled, glistened in the setting sun resting on the hills just out of the window. Andrea Farnese stood, tumbler in hand and eye just catching the light in a way that made the room glow almost ethearally. Manfredi had poured him a glass of something strong as they stood and stared at the boy. The boy sat on the couch just in front of them, feet not quite touching the ground as he tried not to fall into the deep cushions behind him. Andrea was not a superstitious man, not by any stretch of the imagination but he’d say that there was something about the boy that was deeply unsettling. Maybe it was the deep emerald of his eyes on his olive skin- not truly olive but much deeper than Farnese’s own pale complexion- maybe it was the long black hair and perfect stillness he had as he looked at them both with a unnatural sereneness for a boy his age. Maybe it was just how totally ‘other’ the boy looked. Everything, from his ripped clothes and bloodied appearance against the clean cut of their uniforms. He even smelt difference, smelt like death and something exotic that made Farnese’s nose curl. No, it was his eyes; the coldness in them. If Andrea was a lesser man he may have trembled under that gaze but he was no coward and this was a boy, barely a teen, that they were dealing with. He could do them no harm.
“Would you like some water, Shin?” Manfredi asked the boy, he crouched at knee height, sword making a heavy clunk against the ground but eyes holding an almost mocking kindness. Then again, he was an 11, how else were you really meant to look at him. That’s maybe the other thing that was so deeply unsettling about the boy. Andrea had never seen an 11 look so haughty, so self confident and yet so self aware. The boy looked up and with a gentle voice said;
“No, thank you”
His tone was international and accentless. Andrea wondered if he even spoke Japanese. He must have been wealthy, he looked it. Andrea had never met a wealthy 11 before, one who looked like this, looked so pretty. The boy was exotic and oddly beautiful, chin tilted up and expression almost bored. Not that Andrea noticed the beauty in a 14 year old boy.
“I think he’s traumatised” Manfredi said to him, standing away from the boy. Andrea disagreed, that boy was far from traumatised, he looked complacent. He was watching them speak, those bright green eyes following their every movement so he could change himself to suit but Andrea saw, he saw the fakeness there.
“Think hard now, Boy” Manfredi said a little harsher this time. “What happened? Tell me the whole truth”
The boy had the audacity to smirk, it spread little by little across his face.
“I don’t remember” He murmured, eyes downcast and hands interlaced across his lap, like he’d tried to minimise his impact on the surroundings. Good, Andrea thought, that blood won't come out the sofa.
“Come now” Manfredi chuffed in his overly authoritative tone, loud and brash. Andrea watched the boy flinch, eyes full of unhidden contempt this time. “You’ve lost your family, son.”
The boy looked away and his sigh almost seemed humoured. “I know. It’s a tragedy.”
“Well you’re an 11 without parentage now so that makes you nationless. You understand?”
That got the boys attention, his head whipped round, hair fanning his face and there was something satisfying about the shock in his eyes, the drop of his jaw in protest, the way his fingers tightened on the fur underneath him.
“My family-”
“That means nothing anymore” Farnese said over the boy, voice calm but he couldn’t quite hide the smug edge that seeped into it. “You’re in a difficult position...given how young you are.”
The boy’s lip curled and for a moment Andrea worried the boy might attack him, the strand of black- jet black hair- fell in front of his face. It framed the anger beautifully.
“Then what do I do?” He sounded desperate and Manfredi’s gaze softened. Andrea’s didn’t because it was so clearly fake. The boy was a monster under it all.
“You have potential and I am not a man who wastes potential” Manfredi said and the boy blinked as though he didn't quite understand.
“It’s okay. I can find you a host family” He said the words sharply, over-pronouncing every word so the boy would get it. Andrea busied himself with putting the glass away, not wanting to look at the boy anymore.
“Farnese will look after you”
He tensed, in fact even with his back turned he felt the boy tense too. He turned to Manfredi.
“Why me?” He asked, polite to his superior as always. Manfredi’s patted his shoulder.
“You’re a boy as well” He said as way of explanation and it deeply offended Andrea, even if he’d never have the gallantry to say it.
The worst part was that the boy - No- Shin, that’s his name and Andrea’s was not petty enough to deny the boy that- was awfully pretty. Farnese would never admit how pretty he found certain men but it was a fact all the same. One he would never really address but one that lingered in the back of his head like a virus.
“Shin” He said and the boy stood, obedient to a degree. Farnese appreciated that. “Come with me and I’ll find a bed for you”

They walked side by side, Shin half a step behind out of courtesy.
“I’m sure you’d like a change of clothes” He said, tone conversational if not a little begrudged. Shin seemed to notice and he sounded timid as he replied.
“If it doesn’t bother you”
It must have been a little overwhelming, whatever had taken place today for this boy could not have been nice so maybe Adrea should have given him a chance but then he remembered the look in that boys eyes and he finds the sympathy drain from him. No boy this young could be irrevocably bad though. It was merely impossible.
He opened double doors and allowed Shin to enter. The room was equally as decadent as Manfredi’s but it was darker. Decked in deep shades of red and purple that to Andrea seemed a little exuberant. Tinkles of gold around the edges of the chandelier.
“You look shocked” he said to the boy who was staring at the delicate patterns of cornice around the ceiling.
“We don’t decorate like this” He sounded almost mildly disgusted.
“No I’ve heard you 11’s are quite spartan” His smile was trying to be nice but it came of acrimonious.
“It builds character” Shin said, eyes trailing from the ceiling down onto Andrea’s.
“Evidently” He said, he was brought up polite and he wouldn’t let this little creature ruin that.
Shin’s shoulders seemed to drop and he swayed a little for a moment. Andrea worried that the boy may actually pass out but he didn’t, he steadied himself and seemed to steel his expression even more.
“I think I may cry” It sounded distant, detached and cold. “Do you mind?”
It left Andrea reeling. Did he mind? Off course not but the boy was trying desperately to shake the tears off so he presumed maybe it was meant rhetorically. He was a strange boy but then again this might just be how all 11’s were.
“You’re young, Andrea” Shin said, as though his almost outburst never even occurred, he settled on the edge of the bed and slipped off blood stained shoes and then socks also. He had dancers feet, with pronounced ankles and a dainty calve that made Andrea forget the boy has just called him by his first name.
“I am” Andrea agreed. He was, only 17 and yet knighted but it’s not unusual for Britannia to award skilled soldiers regardless of age.
“Yet you’re here” Shin’s eyes bounced across him, taking in and evaluating him. His delicate fingers spreading the cotton underneath him like a cat kneading it’s mother. “On such an important mission”
Andrea wanted to say that this mission actually wasn’t important at all but he risked undermining himself and he’d rather inflate the boys ego than damage his own.
“You’re inquisitive” He said, forcing out a chuckle as he undid his uniform, laying out the heavy cape on an armchair.
“Forgive my ignorance” Shin said, lip quirking a little. “Britianinan customs go over my head sometimes” He sounds startlingly older than 14 but there was something startling about the boy in general.
Andrea huffed just a little and smiled “In Britannia you can achieve anything through skill and hard work”
The boys eyes ignited with something and he seemed suddenly alert.
“Is that so” Shin almost whispered and Andrea settled himself into the armchair, pulling of his gloves and interlacing his hands across his knee.
“Well, status matters as well...It plays a roll at least” Andrea back peddled as he realised how that would sound given the fact Shin currently had none.
“How do you mean?” Shin asked, leaning forward a little, hair cascading down his front, it made the movement seem more than it was. Betraying his intrigue.
“For instance” Andrea sighed, a little too tired to explain this to some blood stained 11 Manfredi had taken an interest in. “You could achieve my current position but I doubt you could get higher without true noble blood”
“Current?” Shin tilted his head but he cannot hide his curiosity. In many ways it’s the most child-like thing he’d done all evening.
“I aim for greater things” Andrea felt himself blush a little at his blatant ambition being pointed out by a boy, a foreigner nonetheless.
“Greater things I couldn’t achieve” Shin stated, eyes on Andrea’s. Those sharp green eyes, so bright and cat like in the dim night light.
“Not without you being...” Andrea struggled to find the right words, unsure how he could achieve that sort of position. “Exceptional” He decided on.
“And if I was?” Shin tilted his chin up like he’d accepted a challenge. “Exceptional?”
“Well” Andrea said, a little too threatened sounding for his own liking. “We’d just have to see”
Shin’s eyes shone with something that went beyond ambition and erred of the side of blood lust. It was almost scary but Andrea refused to find anything about this boy frightening. How could one boy look so broken?
He let Shin use the shower, marble and bright lit compared to the dull lit bedroom.
“Are you injured?” Andrea asked as he stood behind the boy, he spoke over the flow of the water and watched Shin watch himself in the mirror above the faucet. He shook his head, running a gentle finger over the dried blood on his collar. They looked obscene standing together; Andrea, just a little taller and decked in full uniform, the gold chains and sword around his belt glinting in the reflection and hair almost glowing in the slowly steaming mirror. Compared with this boy in his ripped clothes with his bolt straight black hair and trembling frame. Andrea could see underneath it all, however, the potential for greatness and probably unparalleled beauty.
“Undress” He said sharply and Shin hesitated just a little before he pulled off his jacket but did it all the same and Andrea hated himself for looking at the lines of the boys back, clean cut and muscular and well trained for someone so young. Shin looked back around, facing him.
“Thank you” He said. Shin was dismissing him and Andrea let himself be dismissed, the door slid shut with a delicate hiss before the boy could see the hunger in his eyes. Pathetic, he was pathetic. He felt himself tremble a little, horrified at himself and the more he considered it, the more he thought just how beautiful that boy was, the more he wanted to kick something or scream or- Christ he was disgusting. When he turned, light flooding the bed, he looked up to see Shin in the doorway, skin flushed from the heat of the water and in a loose bathrobe, the colour of which matched his eyes.
“You look flustered, Sir” It was full of knowledge and power and so wrong on the tongue of a boy not even 16 years old.
‘I know’ his eyes seemed to scream. ‘I know’ they said again and harsher this time as the boys eyebrows drew together.
“Your” voice cracked and he cursed himself and this boy. “Your room is next door. Call if you...If you need anything”
A grin, full and curled, unravelled on the boys face, making his features seem less delicate but not any less beautiful. “Oh I will” He said.
That night Andrea lay in bed, curtains just letting cracks of moonlight through and thought of that boy, just a wall away who ripped apart his defenses in under an hour and now knew his greatest secret. His stomach dropped painfully, like a cramp but so much worse. He can’t bare to think what would happen to him if anyone found out about this. So the boy had him in checkmate. Hatred, unholy and all consuming burned in him in a way it never, ever had before. When he heard Shin cry, full sobs that are buried into the pillow, he felt no remorse, no sympathy like he should- Like he usually would- instead he just grinned. It was around 3am when those sobs had stopped and Andrea heard, whispered into the night;
“Akito”

 

From the moment they met Andrea Farnese was in the palm of Shin Hyuga Shaing’s hand. It had been clear to Shin the moment their eyes had met that Farnese couldn’t keep his own of him and Shin was never one to back down from an opportunity. He’d been aware- aware since Manfredi had told him how helpless he was- that he’d need to work hard to gain the trust of these people but Andrea was different. Andrea was smart and intelligent in a way the others weren’t and he had stared with those ice blue eyes into Shin’s soul and seen all the imperfections before Shin had had a chance to hide them. Sadly, Andrea had forgotten that when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back. Shin was 17- the same age as Andrea when they first met- when their paths crossed again. It was a cold night, rain slashed across the window of the train as it passed through the Europian mountain ranges at top speeds and Shin had trembled a little in the Autumn air that had seeped into the carriage. The mountains flashed by like gross misshapen creatures, warped against the water on the window and hidden in the clouded starless sky. Shin leant on his wrist, gloved but starkly cold, looking over as Manfredi came into his compartment.
“Horrible evening” The man said, bustling into his seat and flashing Shin a smile.
“Indeed” He agreed. Conversation between him and Manfredi was always short and for the life of him Shin had never really understood what the man saw in their friendship that made him care so deeply about him. Shin didn’t care, he was knight now and It was half thanks to Manfredi alone, who convinced a few people that, really, the fact Shin was technically an 11 had nothing to do with his skill. It had taken Shin a moment to accept that people were going to treat him differently. Whether it was at high class parties where woman would stroke his sleek black hair or comment on his complexion in a way they must of deemed completely inoffensive when in fact it made Shin’s skin craw or in his first few weeks of training where officers and cadets alike stared at him with such unhidden contempt it was palpable. He was an oddity to them all and he knew it and it made that hatred burn so much deeper inside him; The one that made him want to destroy most of the world. Yes, some deserved to die and others needed to. The difference was subtle but Shin liked to think it was important.
“Did you hear about Farnese?” Manfredi asked, on the subject of people who needed to die. Pouring tea for both of them and rubbing his hands together before his removed his gloves, slapping them down on the table beside them. A soundtrack of tinkling accompanied their conversation as the tea cups rattled from the movement of the train.
“He was promoted” Manfredi continued when Shin just shook his head softly. “So young as well. He always was ambitious though” Manfredi sighed and sipped the tea, wincing at the heat. “He’s funny. A lot like you in many ways, he doesn’t ever seem interested in anything.”
Shin laughed, slowly taking of his overcoat as he pulled down the sleeves of his uniform a little more.
“Are you calling me boring, sir?” Shin sounded bemused, a voice he could affect at any moment to really be interrupted any way. Shin had an unparalleled ability to hide his true emotions and it came in so handy when dealing with Manfredi, who had an unparalleled ability to be completely unaware.
“I would never dare” The man chuckled, stretching back against the seat he stared at into Shin’s sharp green eyes. “He’s joining us, heading back to base before he’s flown out to wherever the Knights of Raphael are headed next”
It made Shin’s skin itch a little. He’d worried about meeting Andrea again since the night they’d spent alone. He’d cried loudly that night and he worried, obsessively, over whether Andrea had heard him. It wasn’t so much the idea that he’d cried. It was the idea it had been Farnese who had heard him. It undermined the power he’d managed to create over the man in one night.
“And us?” He asked Manfredi, hair tumbling over his shoulder as he leant forward.
“That’s for me to know, young man” Manfredi chided. The door hissed open and Andrea was there, saying goodbyes to the two officers beside him as he swept into the seat opposite Shin.
“Sir” He said politely, head inclined towards Manfredi. His eyes swept over Shin, soft but judging, from the tip of his pony-tail to the curve of his elbow, the lacing of his fingers on the table, all seemed to intrigue the blonde. Shin bowed his head a little out of respect but otherwise said nothing.
“Good to see you’re doing well, Shaing- if that’s what they call you now.” Andrea’s voice was hard to discern. The tone could easily have been mocking but it was equally curt- a Superior talking to Subordinate and nothing more but those cold, ice eyes gave him away; Contempt still hid in that gaze, hiding an even deadly emotion Shin doubted Andrea was ever going to acknowledge. It was a pity but then again, it wasn’t like Shin would have slept his way to the top. He was much too proud.
“I’m glad you think so, Sir” He said, eyes softening around the edges as he rubbed his wrist with affected bashfulness.
“Shaing’s one of my best knights now” Manfredi boasted, hand coming down on Shin’s shoulder hard, landing on the starched material with a loud thud.
“You’re very young for your position” Andrea said, face unreadable but brows closely knitted.
“As are you, Sir” Shin said, gazing out at the lights of a nearby city they were passing through.
“How’s the war then, old friend?” Manfredi was asking, a conversation meant for Andrea. “Are you well?”
“As well as I can be. I feel wherever the empire is it is at war...” Andrea trailed off, tone concerned. “It’s unsettling”
“We’re not losing though” Manfredi shrugged. “So we can’t be doing badly” His laughed turned into a wheeze.
“The death count is growing, My friend” Andrea sighed and Shin turned back.
“And why is that a concern to the leader of an order?” Shin tilted his head and Andrea’s gaze fell back on him. Sending an odd, almost unpleasant shudder through him.
“Death creates fear and fear creates disorder” Andrea snapped, pulling off his gloves as he lay them on table, one neatly on top of the other. Shin wondered the last time Andrea had actually fought in a battle. “Discontented people are worse than soldiers”
Manfredi shot Shin a ‘behave’ glare and Shin backed away, leaning against the cool leather of the compartment.
“I understand why they promoted you. You have a good head on your shoulders. Although, I knew that from the start” Manfredi laughed as a sign of peace although Andrea’s eyes never left Shin’s. “This one only thinks of death” He added, hand flung at Shin.
“Unsurprising” Andrea remarked but those eyes turned softer, almost pitying. Shin felt hackles rise all along his back. How dare that man pity him. Shin looked away, unsure now. Maybe the playing field was more evenly matched.
“Shin is good warrior” Manfredi smiled and Andrea smiled in return, eyes flickering down to the table as though he couldn’t manage eye contact anymore. Good.
“I don’t doubt that. Besides, the order of Michael and especially you, Shaing, are spoken of highly and frequently”
They continued there chat and Shin let himself zone out when he realised he was not part of it. However, Andrea’s eyes burnt into him, more intense than the first time. It wasn’t unusual for people to stare at Shin, he was used to it but something about Andrea’s stare was harsher than those other ones. It wanted- it ached- but it also saw through him. Maybe Shin was a little intimidated.
Andrea got up as he was summoned by a terrified looking stewart. Shin stared back at Manfredi who just shrugged a little.
“Be nicer to Andrea. He’s your superior. Besides, you owe a lot to him” Manfredi said in a stage whisper, close to Shin.
“How?” He asked, intrigued now.
“You didn’t know?” Manfredi leaned back a little, eyebrows knitted. “It was Andrea who found you that host family”
Shin was shocked. No, speechless, he couldn’t even form a response before the door slid back open and Andrea sat back down. Unaware of the chat that had taken place he gave annoyed sigh and turned to Manfredi.
“There was double booking and apparently I don’t have a cabin”
Shin watched the way Andrea’s jaw worked, anger on the tip of his tongue though well concealed by his meretricious features. Shin couldn’t even deny how handsome Andrea had become. His hair now cropped to just under his chin, though still curled in a way Shin’s never had.
“You can stay with me” Shin said, sudden and unexpected but Manfredi had asked him to be civil and civil he would be. Andrea’s eyebrow curved up his face.
“Oh?”
Manfredi seemed to pause for a moment. “A perfect idea! Shin bought a cabin for himself!”
Shin didn’t share bunks, not since he was in training. He didn’t sleep, not really. Fretful half naps that he could catch whenever. Even when he’d done a good deed for people, for his family, the guilt seemed to hang heavy. Honestly, it wasn’t fair. He’d accepted the fact he’d just have to survive of four or five hours and there was no point ruining some hapless stranger’s good night sleep with his inability to control his emotions. He could make an exception here. Andrea was a person worth getting on the right side of.
It was late now already and Shin did feel tired. As did Andrea, who concealed a yawn behind his forearm and excused himself for it.
“I’ll show you back to the cabin” Shin said, standing and sliding out into the hallway. Andrea followed, a little slower and they bid Manfredi goodnight.
“It’s good to see you” Andrea said, clipped and professional given the circumstances on which they parted.
“And you” Shin answered, swallowing a little as they both entered the small cabin. It wasn’t big enough for them both really and the rhythmic chunter of the train did nothing to ward of the awkwardness that stood between them. “I don’t sleep well.” He warned.
“I know” Andrea answered. “I do. So don’t worry too much” He began to undress, movements slow and deliberate like it was some show of power. As though he’d beaten Shin to vulnerability. He paused in his polo neck, cut at the arms. He was slender, a little bigger than Shin in build but weaker in nature. A tactician not a warrior but formidable nonetheless. Shin stripped too, leaving his clothes in neat little piles on the metal floor as he felt Andrea’s gaze on him. He was muscle and not much else, lines of sinew that twisted over one another as he moved his arms. It wasn’t something he was resentful of, it was a mixture of having to work harder than most and being worked harder as a boy. His father had made sure of that.
“Good night, officer” Andrea said, grabbing the faux mahogany of the side of the compartment as the train swayed.
Shin climbed up into the smaller bunk above. His feet couldn’t quite stretch out and he had to balance his head a little against the wall to not crumple up like some captured house spider. He crossed his arms, both hands holding his biceps as the night air chilled them. He could feel a breeze, ice cold, coming in from a little gap in their window. Andrea’s breath was only just audible over the sound of the engine, it was shaky and a little nervous and Shin wanted to bring up what happened before but he would risk disenfranchising Farnese even more and he couldn’t afford that.
An hour or maybe two pass before Shin was sure that Andrea was asleep and in another half Shin found his own eyelids falling shut.

It was a dream. Shin knew it was a dream because Akito was dead and probably- if alive- wouldn’t have looked like this anyway; All sleek muscle and sharp eyes with a desperate hopeful edge to them. This was a recurring dream. Shin had it almost every night he could sleep.
“I’m sorry” He would say.
Akito’s eyes would narrow, his mouth curled up into a grimace. “No you’re not. Stop saying you are”
And Shin couldn’t deny it because no, he wasn’t sorry at all.
“You’re trying to ease the guilt” Akito would say, coming closer until they were inches apart. “You don’t deserve to have anything eased”
Shin would stroke his hair, vividly real even if he had no bases for how it should feel.
“This feels real” He murmured and Akito would look with wide eyes and clench his jaw.
“I know... but I’m dreaming” Akito sounded pained, hands clenched at his sides.
Something would pull them, almost like gravity, closer still until Shin had to tilt his head to avoid his brothers nose. Heat, strong and buzzing would surround him, feelings more vivid than anything he allowed himself to feel when awake.
“So am I” He whispered, soft against Akito’s cheek.
“Please” Akito’s voice broke, cracking through the mirror of the dream and just as their lips would almost meet Shin would wake up.

He was drenched in sweat but cold to the bone, the buzz and the deep set horror of what he’d thought of curling in his stomach. It could be chalked up to trauma, unspeakable asks in his childhood that messed up his sense of right and wrong and blurred the lines between types of love. He pulled his knees up, trying to even his breath and stared at the wall, flashing with light as the train moved through a tunnel. Yes, he shouldn’t be having dreams like that but his relationship with Akito had always been strenuous and he was a teenage boy with no outlet for his hormones and no bases for love. It was a potent combination that made him dream dream’s like that. It was okay. It’s okay. He was trembling violently and he clenched his fist to stop it.
He closed his eyes, headache pounding as his body rebelled against his sudden wake up but he couldn’t bare to go back to sleep.
“Who’s Akito?”
Shin felt the breath pushed out his filling lungs in one swoop as Andrea’s voice pierced the night. He’d forgotten the man was underneath him. There was silence, long and pregnant.
“Who is Akito” Andrea asked again, voice more demanding this time.
“He’s dead” Shin growled, more unhinged than he would have liked but fuck, he shouldn’t have gone to sleep.
“That’s not my question, Lieutenant” Andrea snapped back and Shin heard the movement underneath him.
“That’s my answer” He replied, lip bitten and hair falling out the slept in ponytail he’d left it in.
“I’m you superior” Andrea said. “And you are in the military now, Shin. So you will answer my question-”
“You’re not my commanding officer. Bring up my insubordination with Manfredi” Shin spoke, not a shout but with enough force that it sounded out of place in the small cabin.
Andrea’s anger was hissed out between his teeth and Shin decided that he didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in a power struggle with Farnese, not after that dream. He got up and moved down the ladder, not even bothering to grab his shoes as he made his way toward the door. He was stopped by a hand, cold, on his wrist.
“I’ll go above that” Andrea was saying. “I’ll make sure your ambition is never fulfilled, Hyuga”
Shin, oddly, felt himself tear up. Pathetic as it was , it felt equally as cathartic.
“What do you want from me, Andrea?” He whispered into the night. The grip on his arm lightened and then doubled down harder.
“I want to know the truth” Andrea answered, sharp and cold. Shin laughed, hard and bitter into the night.
“No you don’t” He hissed. “You do not”
There was a pause and Shin counted the clicks of the wheels on the track as time passed.
“You killed them” Andrea said, soft and shocked and that grip left his arm. “Didn’t you”
Shin breathed, eyes closed and head hung low as he let a tear slide down his cheek. Andrea wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for how loud it landed on the metal floor.
“You couldn’t understand” Shin whispered. He hadn’t felt this out of control since-

‘Try harder Shin’ The blunt force of the back of a blade against the backs of his knees when he was seven and uncoordinated. His father's gaze, austre in the dim lit dojo, on him like he was a dog.
‘Here’s your baby brother’ The look on his mother’s face, smile pleasant but eyes full of tears and fear. His father’s full of contempt and lip curled with disgust. The face of a man who’d ruined his family but would never be able to create his own, watching as his child was swept into the arms of a man who would never love it. Shin had wanted to make it better. He’d managed, hadn’t he? Akito was free and it was Shin who selfishly clung to his memory.
‘A useless Son and an illegitimate one. My disappointment is immeasurable’ Every Word punctuated by a blow from his father’s favourite bamboo cane. It broke the skin on impact. Shin remembered the feeling even now. The words hurt more though, the pain was something you could get used to.

“Try me” Andrea barked, eyes severe and cold but they held a glimmer of fear. Off course they would. If Shin wasn’t afraid to kill his family he’d have no qualms killing some officer he’d met once. “Shaing! Focus!” it sounded almost hysterical. As if the soft glaze on Shin’s eyes unnerved Farenese more than any violence could.
“You wont understand” He snarled, pulling his hand away in one graceless pull, throwing them both off balance.
“It’s despicable” Andrea breathed. “There is nothing more important than blood-”
“To you maybe!” Shin snarled. “To your people” He added, voice softer. Oh he was beginning to cry now, full bodied trembled he’d never let anyone see before. “I did it for honour”
Andrea stepped back, more horrified by the outburst than the words. Shin watched him and grinned, feral through his tears.
“What? did you think I was unaffected?” Shin stepped closer. “You pegged me for some cold, calculative bastard and now that I’ve proved you wrong you don’t know what to think”
Andrea looked down, nostrils flaring as he was backed against the wall, eyes wide and jaw slack.
“You’re not proved wrong very often, Sir” Shin said, teasing and low, it helped him feel incontrol. “You can’t justify that burning hatred for me anymore can you?”
“You’re a murderer” Andrea whispered, flinching as Shin’s hand came down against the varnished wood beside him with a loud ‘Smack’
“It was mercy!” Shin barked and Andrea’s shoulders tensed for a blow, crystal blue eyes shining with fear. Shin sneered. “Do you think I would be stupid enough to kill you here?”
“I know your secret” Andrea hissed. “I’ll tell Manfredi”
“Then I’ll tell Manfredi yours. He’d be horrified”
Andrea seemed caught off guard and blushed. Silence descended on them until Shin, head dropped, seeming suddenly tired and suddenly young whispered;
“I don’t want to kill you”
Andrea swallowed, tilting Shin’s head up. “You’re scared”
Shin nodded, fingers curling in on his palms against the wall. “So are you”
“Then maybe” Andrea’s voice took a tone Shin had never heard before, as though his voice was about to give out. “Maybe we’re not so different”
Shin almost fell back when Andrea’s lips covered his. It was strange, the heat that radiated from his lips and through the rest of his body. It wasn’t as intense as his dreams, which made his stomach twist with guilt. Andrea kissed harder, tongue slipping into Shin’s mouth. Shin gasped and tilted his head, conflicted as to whether it was to escape it and or to deepen it. It felt nice, being able to let go and Andrea was a capable kisser. He could feel his tense shoulders unwind and that feeling inside of him that he got whenever Andrea Farnerse was mentioned now seemed more explainable- Maybe it really wasn’t hatred at all.
“Shin...” Andrea whispered, eyes full of a pitying concern that suddenly made Shin back away.
“I-I” Shin tried, hating himself for not knowing what to say. Andrea’s eyes filled with guilt.
“I shouldn’t have done that” He said, voice trembling. “I’m so sorry, Shin-”
“I don’t want your pity, Andrea” Shin snarled, pointing a finger straight at him.
The suddenly their lips met again, trailing hot patterns over each others cheeks and necks. Andrea seemed wild, blonde hair eskew from sleep and touch desperate and starved. Shin didn’t have the experience to kiss back but he tried, feeling utterly helpless in the best way. He could kill Andrea with a word and nothing more and yet he was here, trembling, under his lips. Andrea seemed similarly helpless, as though the idea of Shin’s ruthlessness made him eager to please. It was wrong. It was fucked. Yet they both yearned for comfort, Shin could understand that, maybe eachother was the safest place to find it.
He was weak. They were weak and Shin wanted nothing to do with weakness. It’s why he pulled away with enough force to throw Andrea across the room. They stared, Andrea’s eyes wide with fear of exposure and Shin’s full of loathing, until Shin sighed.
“I can’t do this”
In the quiet of the empty carriages, Shin drifted in between sleep and awakeness, with a sickening clawing feeling building in his stomach. Andrea had got a hold on him, seen through him in a way no one else ever had- almost no one else- Shin shut his eyes with a choked, held back gasp. Andrea Farnese would not be his downfall but he would be a naive idiot to think the man his salvation.

Meeting Andrea Farnese was the best and worst thing that ever happened to Shin Hyuga Shaing.