Disclaimer:  The characters from Saint Tail are the creative brain child of the talented Tachiwaka Megumi and are the property of Kodansha, and TMS. It was a pleasure to borrow them for this piece, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Positive feed back is always welcome.


There is another story, of the same title, in the hentai section of this page. This version is rated PG, so if you're worried, don't. :-)

                                                                                                                                           Stirling Twilight

 

Invictus

"‘Black as the pit from pole to pole,’" he said stating the obvious.

Asuka Jr. rolled upright and he felt for the tender spot on the back of his head. He winced at the gentle contact. There was a good-sized lump there. He tried once again to look around but the darkness was complete. Holding a hand to his face, he saw nothing.

Pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes, he waited until large blotches of color blossomed against his closed lids. Well, at least it wasn’t his eyes he concluded with a sigh. With that he tried to relax. Obviously there was nothing he could do at present; other than hope he didn’t have a concussion he thought with annoyance. Settling himself in a more comfortable position he went over the circumstances that had brought him to this place.

It was after school and he had been walking with Haneoka…

With a gasp he began blindly searching, frantically groping in the blackness. The ground under his hands and knees was rough, covered with sharp rocks and somewhat damp. He crawled forward, his head throbbing, one hand stretched out before him. He called her name, over and over, with no response. Panic began to take hold of him. Either she wasn’t here or she was unable to answer. He hoped for the former, but even as he did he knew it was a vain hope. He distinctly remembered her strangled voice as he was hit from behind.

After several minutes he sat down, the pain in his head making him nauseous. The young man was breathing hard, fighting off the rising bile in his throat.

 

When Asuka Jr. awoke the situation was unchanged. He sat up slowly, supporting his head as he rose. He didn’t feel better, but he didn’t feel worse. He swung his arms in an arc around himself and felt nothing. Moving as if he was made of glass the young detective slide a few feet and repeated the process. On the third move his hand slapped against flesh. Relief flooded his body as he slid closer. Keeping his hand on her as he moved, Asuka Jr. fought his fearing of losing her. When he was close enough that his leg was against her he carefully began to explore her prone figure.

He had encountered her thigh first, which accounted for the flesh on flesh sound. She was lying on her back, her clothes and hair in disarray, and no amount of shaking could wake her. He had panicked for a time, but her breathing was steady and her pulse was strong so he had to conclude she had been drugged. She had been placed against a wall his bruised fingers discovered. Placing his back to it he gently lifted her head onto his lap, hoping she would be more comfortable and wanting the human contact for himself. He knew he was suffering from a concussion and began talking to her to keep himself awake.

"I’m sorry you have to be here," he began, allowing his head to rest on the wall, "I’m sorry I got you into this…whatever it is."

He began puzzling the mystery aloud and came up with two possible answers; either someone was also after Saint Tail and wanted him out of the way, or someone his father had angered had kidnapped them. That Haneoka was there was just bad luck. He had tried to think of a reason that someone might be after her, but he just couldn’t make it work. Unless… unless Haneoka was in fact…. He swept this thought away with a contemptuous wave of his hand. He must be delirious.

Sleep was threatening again so he began stroking her face, hoping the motion, and the receiving object, would keep him alert. For a moment he lost himself in the softness of her skin and he smiled down at her, "’I thank whatever God may be….’" Suddenly she stirred and he helped her to rise. He began talking immediately, repeating himself, hoping some of it would get through to her.

"I’m sorry Haneoka, we seem to have been kidnapped. I don’t know why, or where we are, but you’ve been drugged and I was knocked out. This is not a dream and I’m sorry to be so harsh but you should know. Yes, it is so dark we can’t see, there’s nothing wrong with your eyes."

He kept on like this, repeating himself, until, on the fourth repetition, she spoke.

"Thank you Asuka Jr." she said, her voice hoarse, "I understand. Thank you."

They sat in silence for a few minutes. He could hear her arranging herself so he let her be. No doubt this was an incredible shock. It was when he realized she was quietly crying that he reached for her. His hand encountered only the cool air.

"Haneoka," he murmured, letting his arm fall, "I’m sorry, so sorry."

She sniffed softly, "It’s ok, I was just surprised, I’m better now."

She put her hand out, toward him, and when she bumped into his chest she wrapped her fingers in the material of his shirt.

"Is it alright if I sit near you? This way we won’t get lost."

Asuka Jr. nodded, realized she couldn’t see that and caught her hand, "Of course."

In the next minute Meimi was pressed against his side. She didn’t let go of his hand, and he didn’t pull away. She asked him if she was too close and while he said she was not in his mind he wanted her closer. Once again they lapsed into silence.

Asuka Jr. slowly became aware of Meimi shaking him. He could just make out her telling him to stay awake. His head pounded and he belatedly realized he must have drifted off to sleep.

"I’m awake," he mumbled dully, swatting at her hands, "I’m up, I’m up."

She slowly loosened her grip on him and sank back into her space next to him. "You can’t leave me," she pleaded, a hint of fear in her voice.

Asuka Jr. slowly turned his head toward her, "I’m sorry," he sighed, "It’s just that my head is killing me."

He felt a hand on his arm that slid upwards until it suddenly left him, only to be pressed against his cheek.

"I’m sorry," she whispered, "Does it hurt that much?" Her questing fingertips gingerly rose to his temples and stroked his skin. Even in the darkness she could feel him blushing. Embarrassed she went to withdraw her hand.

"Thank you," he said dreamily, "that really helps."

With a smile she reapplied her hand and continued her gentle ministrations. He lightly pressed against her palm when she sought to stop so she placed herself in a more comfortable position on her knees before him. From there she was able to add her other hand, stroking both sides of his face. She had the satisfaction of hearing a soft moan of pleasure from him as she applied her free hand.

"Your hands are cool," he said softly.

She giggled, "You mean cold."

He caught her wrist and slid her hand along his jaw, into the collar of his shirt and to the base of his neck. Meimi could just feel the swollen lump their captors had inflicted on him. With a gasp of sympathy she carefully moved her fingers onto the hot skin, sliding herself closer to him to better reach. Rising up she carefully added her other hand, effectively wrapping her arms around him. His gasp was loud to her ears, so close was she, and she felt him turn his head away. This position was not lost on him and he made some noises like she didn’t need to worry so much but Meimi ignored him.

"Just relax," she said softly, with feigned annoyance, "I’m not going to bite you. And besides your head is so hot this will only last a minute at most."

She could feel his eyes on her even in the blackness. She felt herself blushing and in the next second a small laugh escaped her. "Asuka Jr." she whispered, shaking her head.

"What?"

"Just you," she giggled again. She carefully turned her hands over so the tops of her fingers were against his skin, and after a few seconds she returned to his side. "I think you’ll live," she said with a sigh. Another silence descended on them and Meimi decided that she needed to know more about their prison.

"Have you explored this room?" she asked, fruitlessly looking around.

"No, I was to nauseous too."

Meimi began to rise and immediately felt his hand on her arm. "What are you doing?!" he demanded, a hint of panic in his voice.

Meimi stopped and smiled down at him. "I’m going to feel around, see if I can find anything that might help us."

She felt him moving, and then he was pressing something soft into her hand. "It’s my tie, don’t let go of it."

She looked down at him, her head cocked. This just wasn’t like him. As she rose she concluded his head must be a lot worse than she assumed.

Her questing hands encountered very little. The ground was covered with rocks and there were random pools of water. She continued feeling until she was at the limit of the tie. Moving in a slow arc she stretched out as far as she could and her startled fingers encountered cold metal.

"I think I’ve found the door!" she cried with pleasure, turning toward him. Very softly he mumbled something. Alarmed she rushed back to him, dropping to her knees before him. "Asuka Jr.!" she screamed grabbing him and shaking him hard. This time he didn’t come around as fast. He seemed groggy, so she decided to stay with him.

"Asuka Jr.," she said sitting down next to him, "You have to stay awake."

The sound of scraping metal made them both turn. The golden outline of a back lit door materialized as if by magic on a wall to their left. Asuka Jr., realizing Meimi was closer to the door, moved to guard her from harm and tried to shove her behind him. His actions were weak and sluggish. Meimi rose, shielding her eyes against the light. She could just make out the forms of two men framed in the light. She placed herself before her defenseless classmate and, ignoring the burning of her eyes, yelled at them.

"I don’t know who you are but he needs a doctor, badly." She pointed downwards, indicated where Asuka Jr. lay slumped against the wall. She quickly glanced down at him, still seeing very little, but able to make out his blood stained shirt collar. With a cry of alarm she reached toward him, only to be thrust aside as the two men entered the cell. One held her while the other lifted Asuka Jr. to his feet and began dragging him in the direction of the door. Meimi’s eyes were beginning to recover and she tried to look around her as much as possible.

Beyond the metal door she could just make out racks of wine, a single swinging light bulb and in the distance, stairs. It was toward the stairs that Asuka Jr. was being dragged. He was unconscious again, the man holding him was forced to support him by an arm thrown over his shoulder.

"Asuka Jr." she whispered with a pain in her heart.

The man still in the cell set down a camp light and two bottles of water. He glanced around the room and pulled the door closed behind him. As soon as the sounds of movement had gone Meimi smiled and laced her fingers together, "Forgive me, for I am without tricks or deceptions," she said as she bent over them. Pure magic swirl around her.

Saint Tail slipped into the shadows and snapped her fingers. The cacophony from the exploding cards was almost deafening in the small closet. It had the desired effect however, as she heard the sounds of running feet, then people pounding down the stairs, and then the door being flung open. As the same two men rushed into the room, Saint Tail slipped out. She didn’t go far, fading into a niche in the wall. She could hear the two men yelling at each other. The conclusion they came to was she must have escaped when they had taken the boy away. This started an argument, which lead to a search, which came up empty. After a few minutes they responded to a call on a radio one of them was carrying, and they left. Saint Tail sighed and began exploring her surroundings. There was a small window, above an almost empty rack that she propped open, assuming it would be their only escape.

When they came back with Asuka Jr. Saint Tail had everything ready. It had been almost two hours, and Asuka Jr. looked noticeably better. He came down the stairs on his own, and didn’t fight as he was placed back in the cell. When the door was locked on him the two men turned to leave.

"Wait!"

Coming down the stairs was the lithe form of Saint Tail. Both men reached for their guns, and came away with bouquets. Throwing it down with a howl one of them rushed her. With an elegant grace she flipped over his head and landed on the floor between them.

Asuka Jr. pressed his ear to the cold metal. He had been surprised to hear a voice, and then even more surprised to recognize it as Saint Tail’s!

"Give me the key." she demanded calmly.

"Do you think you can just come in here and we’d hand him over?"

"If you don’t, I’ll be forced to take him, like I took the girl."

This brought about a barking laugh from both men. Asuka Jr. began pounding on the door, calling her name. At the sound of breaking glass he stopped and strained to hear. The strangled sounds of the two men could just be heard, and then there was a profound silence.

"Asuka Jr.?"

"Saint Tail!" he yelled as loudly as he could. It caused his head to pound, but he hardly noticed.

The next sound he heard was the scraping of the metal door as it opened. He rushed into the wine cellar, frantically searching for her. The key hung in the lock, and the still forms of the two thugs lay on the floor, amid puddles of wine. The smell was heady. Looking around himself Asuka Jr. quickly learned that he was very alone.

"Saint Tail?"

"Your friend is outside," came a voice, "she’s waiting for you. There is a small window on the far wall, you’ll find her there. Take good care of her, Asuka Jr."

Mutely he turned and slowly moved toward the window. The rack made a sort of ladder and as he began to climb a hand came down and touched his.

"Asuka Jr.?" Meimi whispered.

"It’s ok," he said glancing over his shoulder, "they’re out cold."

With her help he was able to reach the ground above and he allowed her to support him as they moved for the cover of the bushes, but even as they moved there was a hue and cry. Lights flooded the grounds and police were suddenly swarming everywhere. Meimi looked around herself, panic written on her face but Asuka Jr. chuckled.

"What’s so funny?" she asked.

"Saint Tail must have alerted the police before she rescued us," he said, sinking to the ground where he stood. Meimi sat down beside him.

"Saint Tail?"

Asuka Jr. smiled at her, "It was Saint Tail that unlocked the door, and knocked out the guards."

Suddenly Asuka Heiji was squatting before them.

"Haneoka! Asuka Jr.! Are you alright?"

 

It was after class several days later that Meimi found herself alone with Asuka Jr. He sat across the room from her, just watching as she gathered her things. She felt his eyes on her but didn’t say a word until she was packed up and ready to leave.

"Haneoka," he began as she turned toward the door, "I wanted to apologize for the other day, and to thank you. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been there."

Meimi smiled at him and wait for him to go on.

"I’m sorry you got dragged into my problems…"

Meimi’s eyes flashed as she interrupted him. "I’m glad I was there," she said sharply, cutting him off.

He looked surprised, and blinked at her.

"Now I know I can get all the math help I need," she finished and spun toward the door. For a long moment Asuka Jr. just stared in disbelief, this last statement sinking in, and then he rushed out after her.

"Blackmail?!"

Meimi’s silvery giggle was his only reply.

 

 

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Invictus: the complete text