Author: TJ Dragonblade
Pairing: Nii/Kou, mild implication of Kou/Doku and Gyokumen/Nii
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Nii lurks in Kougaiji's room while the prince sleeps one night...

Disclaimer: The many incarnations and characters of Saiyuki were created by the wonderfully talented Kazuya Minekura--may she be forever blessed and properly deified for sharing her vision with the rest of us. I venture onto her playground in the name of entertainment and maintaining my sanity; in so doing I mean no disrespect or copyright infringement...

Spoilers: Refers to Nii's background, as found in the Ukoku Saga of the Burial Arc

Notes: Daiji na mono - precious thing. Also, while I am attempting to imbue this piece with a flavor of sinister sensuality, please--rest assured that I just don't do NCS.

Dedication: For Brad and Alias, who are entirely to blame for my abject fascination with the pairing--I hope I've done it proper justice.

Musical Assistance to the Writing Process Provided By:
The Cure, 'Lullaby', Disintegration, 1989
Evanescence, 'Going Under', Fallen, 2003

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Daiji Na Mono

Tsk, tsk. Your bedchamber door *still* squeaks dreadfully, Kougaiji-sama. How very un-fitting for the prince of Houtoujou...haven't I told you to have someone come up here and oil those hinges for you? Perhaps I'll send a lackey myself, in the morning...but for tonight, I have other business to attend to.

Namely you, my addictive little plaything...

Ahh, yes, there you are, all dusky skin and untamed hair and latent wildness caught in the cold silver light of the moon, asleep in your bed with your sheets fallen low on your waist...innocent as a child...a dangerous child, you are; a beautiful child...

Beautiful, yes...I am not above appreciating beauty. Would it surprise you to learn that?

Ahh, but, you see, everything beautiful will eventually be broken, or wither, or die...and I can't seem to help but have a hand in such things...

It is quite a burden, at times, to be me...

Have you any idea what it's like to view the world as I do? To be so far above everyone else, to know the utter boredom of such superiority? Life has always been that way for me, you see, ever since I was very small...Kenyuu, he always excelled in leaps and bounds beyond his peers; and oh, how they grew to hate him for it...

Yes, that was my name once upon a time. Kenyuu. He was a very bright boy, bored to distraction by the mediocrity around him, unconcerned with the resentment of those beneath him, always seeking for some pursuit worthy of his time and attention...but truly, that is a life long ago and a tale I don't care to re-live just now. Suffice it to say, then, that through Kenyuu, and then Ukoku Sanzo, and now Nii Jienyi...I'm afraid I've become quite addicted to the pursuit of suitable challenge...

And that, Daiji na Mono, that is where you come in...

...You don't mind if I sit on your bed, do you? No, of course you don't...or rather, I'm sure you do but you're not awake to protest...

Truthfully, I have little real concern for Gyumaoh and the consequences of that woman's obsession to revive him. I entered into this little game of hers purely for the opportunity to match wits with Genjyo Sanzo and his little group of misfits; and while they have never failed to keep me entertained, I'm afraid that I quickly discovered a pursuit far more fulfilling here within these very walls.

Yes, my prince, I am speaking of you.

You, Kougaiji, are a delightful challenge, a most exquisite opponent, a paragon of pride and righteous indignation and simmering fury strapped under oppression and coercion and confusion; and the mere thought of you does such...*things* to me...

There is incredible promise within you, such a great irresistible potential...

...I was once told that on some deep sub-conscious level, I was seeking to be devoured; and I must admit, that sentiment does still hold some truth. I think perhaps that I am playing with fire, that I have always been playing with fire, all my life; and I am yet unconsumed...will it be you, my precious thing, who finally burns me at last? Could it be that which draws me to you so?

The moth and the flame...such a cliché. And I am hardly a moth.

Perhaps a better metaphor would be that I am the tiger, toying with you as I would toy with the hunter, tempting fate, courting destruction, both of us caught on the thrilling edge of danger, neither sure which one will claim victory or even what that victory will truly entail until the very end...

And you are so tenacious a hunter, so unwilling to back down despite the teeth and the claws that tear at you time and again...

I adore your stubbornness; it presents me a challenge that I could never refuse, provides me a game well worth the playing...my dear Kougaiji, where *is* your breaking point? And what will it take to bring you to it? Circumstances push you so close to the edge, and yet you remain always controlled, chafing against your intangible bonds but holding yourself in check nonetheless. You are defiance and obedience in one conflicted soul; and such duality cannot be maintained indefinitely. What will come of it, I wonder, when you finally decide that you can tolerate no more?

I long to see what happens when your restraint shatters at last.

I yearn for it.

...Shall I tell you a secret?

There is a part of me that *wants* to be caught up in your fury, to find that you are that challenge which will prove my undoing...for I am perpetually the victor in every game I undertake; and there is little point to playing if I am never going to lose. I seek...I want an opponent who is capable of besting me, who can match wits with me measure for measure, who will take all that I can give without breaking, who in the end will prove himself triumphant and force me to admit defeat for the first time in my life.

And defeat would likely mark the end of me; for such are the stakes in these games of mine.

You see, then...there is a part of me that craves the sweet death that you promise, a part of me that aches to die by your hand...

My prideful, angry, oppressed prince...will it be your face I behold as I am finally slain?

Ah, me...I suppose it's possible that you could be awake, for all I know, waiting to see what move I make next...tell me, then--if I were to lean closer, touch your skin as I have been touching your hair, breathe these musings of mine into your ear...would you remain asleep, unaware of the small liberties being taken? Or would you strike out, seize me in those delicious claws of yours and tear into me with the violence that simmers behind those lovely eyes? Would you unleash that stymied rage, take payment for all I've done to you and yours; disfigure...dismember...disembowel me, while I laugh at you still?

Would you murder me upon the very bed where you sleep?

Ohhh, how *delightful*...

The prospects are just too tempting...I'm afraid I must know, my proud little puppet...

...Goodness, you are thoroughly chilled...Kougaiji-sama, this simply won't do at all. You *must* take better care with your health. Your skin saps the warmth from my hand and you're fraught with shivers; there is gooseflesh all along your arm, my precious thing, and your fingers are positively icy...

Ahh, Kougaiji...so much regard for those you hold dear, and always so little regard for yourself...I'm afraid I must speak.

"Now now, Daiji na Mono...we can't have you catching cold..."

...Do you feel me even in your sleep, then, my prince? Is that why you shivered so soundly just as I whispered in your ear...?

...Are you feigning sleep after all, perhaps...?

...No; I think you would not let me so close if you had the choice; your face is too peaceful, your breathing slow and unconcerned, natural...there. Keep your bedcovers pulled close about you--I wouldn't want to see you fallen ill, now...

...tch.

...Any afflictions you suffer should be at my hands, after all...you are *my* challenge, my toy, mine to break...though I should be just as pleased to be broken in turn...

You are mine to play with...yes, yes; and illness would dull the luster of our game, would put you at an unnecessary disadvantage, would cheat me of your full potential as an opponent...

Yes, that is the only reason for this hint of...concern. How dreadfully unfamiliar...

I care for none. I need none. The world and its creatures and you above all are here to serve *my* whims. That is the lesson, one of many such lessons, learned by Kenyuu long ago. You are my latest amusement, nothing more.

There *is* nothing more, after all...

Well. Shall I leave you to your rest, then?

How odd...I can almost smell the faintest trace of blood on you. Now why would that be...?

Could it be that you are awake, after all, and so intent on keeping it from me that you would do yourself harm? Ohh, that would not be so hard to believe, really; you are such a proud one, Kougaiji, so determined to walk your own path despite the strings that keep you bound to your puppet master...

I *do* so adore your stubbornness...

I'm leaving, yes; but I'm afraid I can't resist saying the words aloud, whether you're aware of me or not.

"Goodnight, my prince."

But you don't seem to hear me...how disappointing.

"Pleasant dreams..."

Mmmmm...perhaps I won't send anyone to see to your door, after all--the squeal of that hinge, somehow, is quite satisfying...

#####
I know it's You.

Who else would it be? Only two people in this bleak forsaken place are brazen enough to dare entering my bedchamber at this time of night without knocking to wake me; and Dokugaku knows where to lean on the door to avoid that squeaking hinge.

You realize, of course, that I've never had it fixed because it serves nicely to alert me when you come stalking on these damnable midnight visits.

Oh, yes, I'm well aware that you do this regularly.

Even without that hinge, though, I'd still know it was you. Doku doesn't smell of tobacco and cinnamon mints the way you do. And he doesn't smell so unmistakably human, either.

No one else here smells so unique.

Nii Jienyi, enigmatic human doctor in a keep of Youkai, a demented genius dancing with the demons for your own unfathomable reasons--what are you about? Power? Destruction? World domination? You've been pulling Gyokumen Koushu's strings for so long, now; what do *you* get out of all this?

And why do you insist on creeping into my bedchamber in the middle of the night?

Not that you need to know I'm aware; you are master of every game that you play, and I will take any advantage I can get against you.

But I will admit, your visits only frustrate and confuse me further. I do not understand why you come.

I can sense you, you know. I can feel you over by the closed door, shifting, gliding quietly across the room in those ridiculous bunny slippers; and I know you've got that damned doll tucked underneath your arm, you always do. You're circling, now, moving closer around the head of my bed, stopping, standing still, shifting your weight from one foot to the other...you see? I'm aware of every little move, and you haven't got any inkling that I'm awake. One small victory for me.

You're not usually this restless, Doctor. Why so agitated tonight? Has one of your many carefully-laid plans fallen to pieces again? Or is it that cursed woman--has she neglected your physical needs this evening?

Poor, poor Nii-hakase...

You can tell, I'm sure, how inordinately concerned I am for your welfare.

I still cannot fathom how any man could stomach sharing the bed of such a cold, greedy witch; but then, this is Nii Jienyi I'm speaking of, and you are not at all like any man I know. You are immoral, unethical, completely twisted; you live to manipulate those around you, you take your greatest pleasure from doing so...

...I wonder, then...perhaps you suspect that I'm aware of you, and your apparent restlessness is less agitation than a carefully calculated behaviour, designed to unsettle me, force my hand, pin yet another little triumph to your belt.

Well. I wish you luck--you'll get no such gratification from me.

What...why in hell are you sitting on my bed? You should be hovering in the shadows as you always do, not settling behind me--and get that creepy rabbit *off* of my pillow.

No. I *won't* tense, won't even shift away--that's what you want, isn't it. You're always rocking the boat, prodding, goading, testing me; seeing how far you can push. I won't give you the satisfaction of proving that I'm awake. I will never let you see how ill at ease you put me...

And yet my skin is crawling, cold across my back, like I'm waiting for you to drive a knife between my shoulder blades.

I wish I had worn clothes to bed tonight. I wish that I had moved to pull the sheet higher before you came in. I can feel the weight of your eyes in the dark, and there is far too much for them to see.

I can feel the heat of your body, too close for my liking and yet somehow still not close enough...

And your presence chills me, despite it all.

Don't--

Oh, you think yourself crafty, don't you; you think that by touching my hair, you can force some reaction from me? You think that I will jerk away, will tell you to stop? No. You may have initiated this match, but the victory will be mine, no matter my lack of understanding toward your reasons...

Why? *Why*? What do you gain from feigning affection? You, the mad doctor who does nothing without any number of ulterior motives, who has tormented me at every opportunity, tormented everyone dear to me...and yet you creep into my bedchamber in the dark of night, and sit here stroking my hair like some moonstruck lover--what are you about? *What*? What advantage does this twisted game give you?

You cannot possibly think that I would be naive enough to believe your little tender gestures are sincere, or motivated by any real sense of kindness. Nii Jienyi doesn't know the meaning of such words, after all--

--And you simply will not give up, will you?

It's fruitless, Doctor--no matter how far you push me, I will not give you what you want. Lean in close behind me, touch my arm--it makes no difference. Much as I would love to turn and lash out at you, slice that complacent little smirk from your face, I will not allow myself to move. I am asleep, unresponsive, immune to your sinister charms. I will have my victories, no matter the warmth of your body at my back or the prickle of your unshaven face at my shoulder, no matter the chill that your breath at my ear evokes, no matter that the glide of your fingertips down my arm strings me taut inside. I will show no reaction.

I will not move. I *will* have my victories, no matter how small.

Stop it. *Stop*. I don't want to feel your hand over mine or the gentle lacing of our fingers. You have no right to act affectionate with me--

"Now now, Daiji na Mono...we can't have you catching cold..."

And I hate you for the softness of your lips against my ear and the note of concern in your barely-murmured words, for the shudder that I cannot suppress as your voice trickles warmly over my senses. I hate you for this smallest of defeats as I hate you for all the evils and wrongs you have done me, done my friends, done my sister. And yet even as I hate you, there is some dark corner of my soul that wants you to stay; I can't deny that I crave your affections, false or not, and that only makes me hate you all the more.

How can you do this to me? How can you make me want you when I know there isn't a shred of sincerity in your caring gestures, the least scrap of common decency in your cold black heart? You are an evil man, self-serving and not completely sane. Any tenderness you ever show is just one thread in a tapestry of sinister design, calculating, not without reason, certain to bring torment sooner or later.

I am a fool to even consider the possibility that your kindness is genuine. Dokugakuji...*Doku* is the one who cares for me; and the gods willing, you will never find out how much. I won't allow what he and I have forged together to serve as ammunition against either of us.

And I won't let you destroy it.

...What gives you the right to tuck me in? Am I your child, now?

I hate you, with everything that I am.

Get out. Get out of my bed and get out of my room. And take that damned doll with you--I don't need any reminders that you were here.

Never mind that your scent is all over me, now, and will linger well past sunrise to haunt me with the fury and frustration you evoke...ha. See what a mess you've made of me? The hand beneath my pillow, the one out of your sight, it's clenching so hard to maintain my facade of peaceful sleep that I've pierced my own palm.

I've reached the point where I'd rather mutilate myself than provide you the fulfillment of provoking any sort of reaction from me. Tell me, truly--how sick does that make me?

"Goodnight, my prince."

And your voice still sends cold thrills down my spine, no matter the hate knotting tight in my stomach.

Get out. *Get* the hell *out*, before I break and lose my control and attack and hand you yet another victory. *Get* *out*!

"Pleasant dreams..."

The squeaking of that hinge has never been so welcome.

Not that I gain any relief from your absence--I can smell you in my bed, still, you sadistic bastard; smell your cigarettes and your cinnamon and your human scent over the faintness of my own blood; and it sickens me how naturally those scents complement one another.

I think that I will burn these sheets come morning, tear them to shreds with my bare hands and hurl them into the furnace...

And yet I am spending the rest of this night with my face buried in the pillow that bears your scent, curled in the blankets that you pulled up about me, denying that I wish you had stayed, denying that I miss the feel of my hand twined in yours, denying that the smell of you stirs me in ways I don't want to admit, hating myself for this sick fascination and hating you for making me discover its existence.

Had you moved to kiss me, or...anything else...I don't know that I would have stopped you.

And that frightens me. Angers me. Frustrates me beyond belief.

Someday, Nii Jienyi, someday I will figure out your game. And when I do, you had best beware. Hatred this deep makes a powerful ally.

And I am more than capable of holding my grudges.
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Beg: 8/20/04
End: 11/19/04

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