The Shine

Sanada and Belial talk about Seiichi. Drama, I-3

For once, Genichirou thought he might have spotted Mad Hatter’s arrival beside
the courts before anyone else. A quick glance at Renji, and a nod toward
their captain detailed Renji to distract Seiichi’s attention so Genichirou
could take advantage of this.

They had discussed it days before.

"Hatter. I want to talk to you."

Bright blue eyes widened ingenuously. "Seiichi-san must have a tighter
grip on all of you than one had thought," Hatter mused. "One was
expecting you days ago. Very well, then, come along." When Genichirou
hesitated to follow him, Hatter glanced back with a slow smile. "One
wouldn’t wish to distress Seiichi by doing this out in the open where anyone
could see. Don’t you agree?"

At another time the tone of lascivious suggestion might have made Genichirou
turn around and head back to the court, but today he was far too angry.

"So?" Hatter asked, leaning against a tree.

"What do you want with Seiichi?" Genichirou asked, bluntly.

"His soul," Hatter answered.

Genichirou reminded himself, strenuously, of Renji’s caution that he wouldn’t
get anywhere with Hatter unless he could keep his temper. He told himself
it was just like dealing with Niou in a really bad mood. "What,"
he amplified through gritted teeth, "do you want his soul for?"

"To play with, of course," Hatter said with a bright smile. "It’s
lovely and shiny."

Genichirou knew it was a bad idea, and still couldn’t stop himself. Red clouded
his vision and he lashed out.

When the world stopped spinning he was flat on his back with Hatter kneeling
over him, and his arms pinned under Hatter’s hand and knee. The free hand
was playing very, very sharp nails just under Genichirou’s chin. "Did
you really think one has lived this long without the ability to deal with
people who want to kill one?" Hatter asked, amused.

"At the rate you must make enemies, I’m sure you’ve needed it," Genichirou
shot back.

"You aren’t entirely without interest yourself, you know," Hatter
murmured, cold eyes glinting over a laughing mouth. "Now, one doubts
Seiichi would be pleased if one damaged you too badly, so listen. One contracted
for his soul, in return for some considerations and assistance. The bond
of that contract gives one access to his soul, even now. One can touch it.
Touch it, taste it, know it. And Yukimura Seiichi’s soul is beautiful. One
is really quite smitten."

Genichirou heaved against Hatter’s hold, violently. "His heart belongs
to us," he ground out, glaring.

"Of course it does."

Genichirou paused, staring up.

"One isn’t actually blind, you know," Hatter said, patiently. "His
heart belongs to you. And his soul will not come into one’s keeping for some
time yet. In the meantime, he’s given a significant part of that
to you lot, too. That doesn’t mean one can’t appreciate it in advance. And
that," a nail flicked and Genichirou bit back a hiss, "is more
clarity than you have any right to expect from a demon, let alone from oneself.
Evidence of one’s infatuation, no doubt." He licked Genichirou’s blood,
delicately, off one fingertip.

Genichirou gritted his teeth. "Is that," he enunciated distinctly,
"supposed to make us feel better about Seiichi signing his soul into
eternal torment?"

Hatter blinked. "One begs your pardon?" Then he paused, tapping a
thoughtful finger against his chin. "Well, actually, no one doesn’t,
but in any case who said anything about eternal torment?"

Genichirou gave him a very suspicious look. "That is the general consensus
on what Hell is."

Hatter’s mouth curled in disgustingly smug delight. "There has been,"
he informed Genichirou, "a change of management recently. So there’s
no need to worry."

Judging from Hatter’s grin, Genichirou’s expression said quite clearly what
he thought of that directive. Hatter did let him go, though, sliding away
in a flicker of movement Genichirou couldn’t quite follow. By the time Genichirou
had gained his feet, the infuriating demon was nowhere to be seen.

"So?" Renji asked, as Genichirou joined him at the edge of the courts.

"It’s all a joke to him," Genichirou stated, flatly.

Renji tipped his head. "What makes you think so?"

Genichirou narrowed his eyes, looking out over the practice in progress. "Because
if he isn’t joking then he’s in love and I refuse to believe that."

"Hmm." They both fell silent for a time.