(2016-12-26) Little Boxes
Little Boxes
Summary: Ryuunosuke gets caught sneaking around not being evil.
Date: 2016-12-26
Related: Bean Me!, A Demon Curries (or Coffees) Favor
Scene Runner: N/A

     'Twas the night after Christmas, and all through the school…
     More seriously.  It's very late, on the day after Christmas.  The holiday break hasn't ended yet, so most of the students still aren't here.  But now, it seems, is the perfect time for the vessel of Yamata-no-Orochi to put his plan into action.
     Ryuunosuke exits the Metis dorms, and he's carrying something.  It's… a box.  A pretty large one, but not too big to carry.  It's wrapped in red paper, with a golden adhesive bow stuck on top of it.  It's unmarked aside from that.  As he exits, he looks around, as if trying to see if the coast is clear…

     Sprawled out on the floor, making notes on a book he's reading, Taka hardly expected to be disturbed at this hour.  So he not only looks up, he even catches his breath when he hears a door open and close and "Oh!  Kie, Ryuu!  Are you still celebrating your holiday?  I thought it was yesterday."
     He pushes himself up to a semi-seated position, wings splayed out behind him.  "I suppose I should wish you the appropriate greetings of the event, but I am still not clear on which of the several I have heard is most appropriate.  I am told that 'Happy Holidays' covers most needs, except when talking to the most intensely religious."

     Ryuunosuke actually jumps when Taka greets him.  The box rattles as he nearly drops it.  And there's a moment where it almost looks like he's blushing, his eyes wide with surprise!  But he recovers, clearing his throat.  "Ahem.  Yes.  H-happy holidays.  Though I do not exactly celebrate them."
     A pause as he regards the box.  "Chotto matte, kudasai."  Pause.  "…Please wait one moment, I need to place this where it belongs, before someone else sees me."

     "You seem awfully agitated," Taka says, sitting up a little.  "I thought the giving and receiving of gifts was a happy thing, especially on this holiday."

     One of Ryuunosuke's eyes twitch, just briefly.  He remains silent for a moment, thinking.  Taka needed to know, he realizes.  He needed to know what evil resided in the one called 'Ryuunosuke'.  For his own sake.  Ryuunosuke sighs.  "…I will… explain in a moment.  I should place this."  He nods, and then ducks into… the Guardians of Promtheus dorms?
     He's in there only for a few moments, and then returns, with a sigh of, "Yokatta…"  Then he straightens.  Walking over to Taka, he begins.  "Saa… do you want to know why?  It will explain why everyone who knows what I am reacts as they do."

     "If it will help me understand, yes."  By the time Ryuu has returned, Taka is sitting on the armrest of one of the couches, his book and notes neatly set aside.  "I know that Besa is troubled greatly by you, and I cannot fathom why.  I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should fear you sometimes, and I do not know why.  Yes, you deliberately drugged me, sort of, with coffee, but you also took responsibility for that.  Which you would not have done if you were a bad person."

     Ryuunosuke sits down on the couch Taka's perched on the armrest of.  Notably it's on the other side from the birdman.  He nods to both observations.  "He is… and you should.  For good reason."  He stops, though, as if trying to think of how to begin.  "…Do you… have a mythology on your planet of… an ultimate evil?  A destroyer, a seducer, a great evil that seeks only to consume that which is good?"

     Taka blinks a couple times.  "No, of course not.  There are the kerhys'yw, but that is a tale to frighten children, and even they don't really believe it.  If the Gods are truly Gods, how can there be an evil that powerful?"

     Ryuunosuke nods.  "This will be difficult to explain, then."  He tries anyway though.  He leans forward, propping his elbows on his hands.  "The thing inside of me… it was once a great serpent with eight heads and eight tails."  Perhaps as if it sensed it was being talked about, a note enters his voice that's almost… proud?  "Before the age of technology, it terrorized mortals.  It consumed seven of the eight daughters of a pair of earth gods.  It was the god of the storms, Susano-o, who stopped it.  He bade the earth gods whose daughters had been eaten to brew sake that had been purified eight times.  The serpent was drawn to where the sake was, drank it and became drunk.  While it was drunk, Susano-o cut off each of its heads."
     He looked to Taka then.  "Even the god of the storms could not face me in battle and win.  He needed to get me drunk before he could defeat me.  That is the thing inside of me.  What I am.  I am a demon.  The demon Yamata-no-Orochi, whom even the gods feared."

     Again, Taka blinks.  That's a bit much to absorb, and the look on his face says quite plainly that he's having trouble believing it.  All he says, however, is: "And yet, when you had me drugged and helpless, you neither abandoned me nor took advantage of me."

     Ryuunosuke frowns, the look frustrated.  "The Boy has too much influence over me.  He would not allow it.  His father was to sacrifice him to me, but that meddling priestess sealed me instead.  You saw the marks on my arms and legs, yes?  Those are permanent sealing marks.  When the temporary seal was placed, something… happened.  The Boy's soul did not disappear, as I wished it to.  He influences me too much."

     "I think," Taka says delicately, "that he is a good influence on you."  He is close to being convinced that this is a case of multiple personality, and he wishes he had some training in mental redaction to help poor Ryuu out.  But he doesn't, so he daren't.  "How absolute is an evil that can be overridden by a teenaged boy?  I repeat to you what I said on the ferry back to the school: I do not think you are evil."

     Ryuunosuke's frown doesn't ease.  "He is a weak-willed influence," he states.  As for not being evil?  "Perhaps not.  Not now, anyway.  But I will free myself from him one day.  Until then I have no choice but to struggle with his silly whims."  Looking back to the Guardians of Prometheus dorms, he notes, "Like that."  It's a wicked little smile then.  "But… Besa will know who gave him the gift.  The contents will be enough of a clue.  He will remember me, and he will be upset.  Thus the Boy's little gesture turns into something I would have done myself, purely to needle Besa."

     "Or," Taka says with conviction, "that is the excuse you are giving yourself to do something nice for Besa to make up for scaring him."  He leans forward, making firm eye contact.  "I do not think you are evil," he repeats.

     This close, it's not at all difficult for a telepath to feel the mental flailing from Ryuunosuke.  Particularly when Taka leans over so.  The twitch of his eye might or might not be missed, too.  "Does it matter?" he asks.  "It will upset him either way.  He will feel he is being taunted."

     "Why should he feel upset?" Taka asks, eyes not wavering.  "You left him a gift he would have every reason to like, and enjoy, and use.  No, I do not know what it is, but I can sense that it was not something deliberately cruel.  So why do you claim the mantle of evil for yourself when I know personally that you are capable of good?"

     Something about Ryuunosuke seems to change suddenly.  The area between his eyes seems cast in greater shadow, his eyes seem abnormally bright.  And the sense of something dark seems to fill the room; the feeling is much like the increase of barometric pressure.  Like a heavy blanket of shadows has been cast over the area and is pressing down.  His voice sounds deeper, even, when he speaks.
     "Because that mantle is MINE to claim.  I enjoy it.  I have not forgotten the taste of the celestial maidens' sweet flesh, and I will taste it again.  I will consume Amaterasu if I must, to sate my hunger."
     Whups… looks like that bad eight-headed danger noodle in there is getting a bit restless.

     Taka doesn't sound angry.  Truth be told, he never sounds angry.  Grumpy sometimes, but never angry.  So there's no accusation, no rancor—not even grumpiness—in his tone when he says, "I am sorry, Ryuu, but I do not believe that."
     And his hand lashes out, and grips Ryuu's wrist, so that he can make mental contact.

     About to respond, he notes the lashing out, and is about to stand up.  But he's too slow.  By the time Ryuunosuke's realized what Taka's doing, it's too late.  Nonetheless, he all but squeaks, "Dame da!"
     In his mind, it's something far different.  There's no resistance to the mental intrusion, as few here on this world have.  By the time Taka passes in, he can hear a single friendly-sounding voice.  A young male, one that sounds enough like Ryuunosuke to notice.  The voice sounds panicked.  «No!  Do go in there!  We'll hurt you!» But now it's already too late, the voice is 'behind' Taka by the time he hears it.  And beyond it?
     Hunger.  Death.  Ruin.  Evil.  Eight times all of them, the mind of an immortal god-beast that even killing it didn't fully vanquish.  It's very possible that Yamata-no-Orochi is the personification of hunger and consumption… of consuming all until nothing is left.
     Eight massive heads like Asian dragons on eight thick necks the width of tree trunks, a body massive enough to support all of those tree-trunk necks, and eight writhing tails.  'It covered eight hills and eight valleys', was said of Orochi in the flesh.  It's believable, from this vantage point.
     There is a glare.  Eight burning gazes like coals from the deepest, fieriest pits of hell, each of them trained on the mental presence inside, on that of the mental presence of Taka.  It unquestionable feels like being eyed by a predator.  Hunger barely restrained, as if in the next moment it was going to make a meal of Taka, even though it's only his mental presence there.
     That voice… it's not loud.  Not at all.  But it's powerful, and so low in pitch that it's almost infrasound.  Beyond baritone, beyond bass, it's so deep that it's felt more than heard.  If it was real it would rattle the bones like thunder from inside.  Powerful, shaking, rattling, and so full of malice and darkness.
     …That is not a nice thing…

     Oh, Taka wants to run, wants to let go and fly for his room and stay in there and never come out again.
     A couple things stop him.  First, he is an Akiar telepath.  He is used to multiple minds linked with his own.  Eight—as a number, anyway—is nothing.  He's shared his mind more deeply, with more people, at the same time.  He can put up with eight.  Even a very scary eight.
     Second is that he is an Akiar telepath and he will not cede what he considers his ground: the mind.
     And third, he really believes what he has told Ryuu repeatedly, that he is not evil.  And now he has evidence.  And he is perfectly willing to use it.
     (You said 'we',) Taka sends with as much calm as he can muster: not much, but not bad under the circumstances.  (You warned that "we'll hurt you".  You—*all* of you in here, not just Ryuu but this other creature within—care enough to not want to.)

     Mental silence, save for the shifting and odd slithery sound of serpents' coils slowly shifting.  A serpent's coils shouldn't make that sound.  It sounds like the romanticized versions of spiders' legs in fantasy movies—slithery, chitin-y, rasping sounds.  Like any other bully, it seems, when confronted, this thing doesn't know what to do or say.
     «Please.  Don't taunt us.» The Boy's voice.  Nine minds?  It is Orochi and all eight of his minds.  But also The Boy.  Yet no, there is only eight minds.  Nine voices, but eight minds.  Confusing?  Maybe.  The Boy's voice comes from one of Orochi's heads.  «You're… well, you're almost right.  But…»
     But before he can say much else, the sounds of slithering coils increases.  SILENCE!  I AM YAMATA-NO-OROCHI, THE ETERNAL DARKNESS!  I WILL NOT BE CAST AWAY BY A MERE BOY! The feeling is there that the voice of the Boy has retreated slightly, further inside that of Orochi.

     (I am not taunting.  What I have said is true, is it not?)  It is certainly true in Taka's mind, that's easy to tell from the mental link—whether or not it is objectively tryue, he believes it.
     He is almost dismissive of the other, the loud one, the bully.  Ah, that's the thing about a mental link—he can't hide being a bully any more than Taka can hide being frightened.  (Don't shout.  I can hear you perfectly well,) he sends primly.  If the little birdman has any advantage, it is that he is utterly, absolutely comfortable with his own mind and with his own self, which lets him manage his fear.  For now.

     It seems like both sides of the mind inside Ryuunosuke are confused.  This is a difficult situation for them both.  Orochi seems not to know what to do with someone that isn't afraid of him.  Same for the Boy, he doesn't know how to deal with someone that's not afraid of Orochi.  It's the mental equivalent of the two of them looking at each other in confusion, with their expressions wondering what to do next.
     But… their silence gives Taka the opportunity to 'feel out' the nature of their connection, if he's interested in doing so.  The Boy and the Demon—at least, the one of Orochi's minds that is dominant over the others—are merged.  But the merging was not complete, nor was it in any way practiced.  Or, probably, intentional.  It's less a willing merging and more being mentally 'Siamese twinned' together, if that's even a word.  Their minds were roughly mashed together, and it wasn't either of their doing.  Little wonder everything's confused up here.
     To be fair, it doesn't sound like Orochi can help being loud.  But he is, unfortunately, evil, and all he can think about is… well, being evil.

     And what the demon is facing, possibly for the first time in its existence, is someone who simply does not have a concept of absolute evil.  There is no doubt visible in Taka's mind—and if it were there, it would be visible—that the demon cannot be completely evil simply because nothing can be completely evil.  The Gods wouldn't allow it.
     (Do?  What would you have me do, separate your minds?  I haven't the knowledge or training to do that.  I would hurt you both, I couldn't do that.)
     That, too, may give the demon pause—Taka is genuinely concerned and would not want to hurt him, as much as he would not want to hurt Ryuu.

     There's more confusion there, both The Boy and The Demon.  But in response to that concern… a rising feeling of panic begins to wash over everything, painting it with the color of fear.  It's hard to know where the source is, since there are so many minds in there.  Nonetheless, it's there.  It almost feels external, but it isn't.  It can't be.
     The contact will be abruptly broken, though, as Ryuunosuke pulls his arm from Taka's grip finally.  "Hanase yo!"  That is pure panic.  Ryuunosuke's eyes are wide, and he's breathing roughly.  The sudden breaking of contact is disorienting for him though, as when he stands up quickly from the couch, he wobbles, falling to the floor on his hands and knees.
     He quickly recovers though, and scrambles to his feet.  And once he's on his feet, he runs.  It's not towards the dorms.  It's hard to say if he even knows which way he's going.  Likely not, at that speed.  Considering he only just manages to avoid running full-tilt into the side of the doorway out.  He bumps the frame with his shoulder and turns, but quickly rights himself and continues out.

     As soon as Ryuu is gone, Taka closes his eyes and takes a couple deep breaths, re-setting his mind—breaking contact that quickly is always a little jarring.  So is the notion of having badly scared someone for the first time in his life, though he never meant to.
     Even so, he allows himself a very small smile.  Ryuu's demon would never have reacted like that had Taka been wrong about him, he's sure of that….

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