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Like Brothers

Title: Like Brothers

Author Name: Orin Drake

Disclaimer: All characters and worlds contained within this work are from the Kingdom Hearts series, owned (and pwned) by Square-Enix and Disney. I only get to play with them, and not for profit. Alas.

Category: Torture, Gore

Rating: MA/R

Summary: Xaldin/Xigbar - Following orders doesn't necessarily become easier without hearts.

Any notes you want to add: I like this. That is all.


"He needs to be reminded of his place." The words slow, deliberate. "He must be punished."

It was insubordination at best. At worst... Xaldin found perhaps he'd rather not consider. Things had changed. "With all respect, Superior... I do not believe I'm the one in position to do such a thing."

"You are in the perfect 'position', III." Xemnas smirked in a terribly empty sort of way. "I am granting this duty to you for the very reason of your ranking. And... because I know you are capable of carrying out my orders."

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His Other had never been a cruel man. At times Dilan had admittedly laughed at his colleagues, and even occasionally set them up just for that purpose--but there was never ill intent behind any of it. He was always the type that preferred to scoop insects onto paper and escort them out a door or a window rather than crush them on sight; though there had been that incident with the ant invasion where he found a good pair of boots to be just the thing to stop the terrifying army from overcoming the lab.

(There had been words exchanged with Even, later. Something about fusing sugars and creating "reverse calories" out of sheer curiosity had gone a touch wrong, but it was all babble and all quite destructive considering it drew out more insects than anyone had ever wanted to see during a lifetime. Ansem was not happy. Ienzo became quite squeamish near the end of the ordeal. Braig kept yelling, "Bring 'em on!" and conducting target practice with various devices. His favorite had been a nail gun. Ansem was not happy about that, either.)

Dilan had never been cruel... but he had been thorough. Since he'd lost his heart, he'd found himself following orders a bit more fiercely than strictly necessary. And Braig... he'd always been friends with Braig. But the guy could be an absolute hard-ass bastard sometimes. Regardless of friendship--and perhaps more, could he bring himself to remember--there had been the occasional scuffle. A quick exchange of fists or words or shoves.

Not that any of it mattered, it seemed. Xaldin had guessed correctly, emerging from a dark portal to see the object of his hunt atop a skyscraper in The World That Never Was. Taking shots at Heartless far below. It was almost enough to bring a false smile... but there was a task at hand.

Xigbar turned at the sound of the portal closing, giving a wave and a grin. "And to what do I owe this honor?"

He suspected the gunman must have known. To have done something to figuratively piss of Xemnas enough to be hunted down for it... Xaldin refused the urge to make small talk, calling his lances to hover delicately behind him.

The scarred man turned fully at the sight of weapons. His legs tensing slightly, clearly ready to run, he coughed out a bitter laugh. "Not much for conversation, huh?"

"Just tell me why I'm doing this, Xigbar."

That all too familiar shit-eating grin... only the corners of his lips were trembling. It was a minute motion--but it was better than allowing the fear to show in his eyes. He knew when horror was about to strike; the very fact Xemnas wasn't handling matters himself said that things were very likely to get... messy. "Guess you're just lucky."

Xaldin held back a hiss. He could not feel that kind of hurt or anger, could not feel affronted by the refusal to answer. But he did have orders to follow. Calling his spears into an attack configuration at his sides, he resigned himself to what he was about to do. "Will you be running, then?"

"Not running." The grin turned into a sneer as Xigbar's second gun appeared in his hand. "But I will fight."

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The artificial landscape offered a plethora of good cover--and good places to perch and attack from. They were evenly matched where it counted, both getting their share of injuries and shrugging them off with potions... but the potions did eventually run out. They must have fought for hours, both at a distance and close enough to reach out and touch--though neither did.

It was finally with aching muscles and an uncomfortable layer of sweat that Xaldin decided he'd had enough. He called a Dragoon, and gave a very specific order.

A shrill cry confirmed the act, and Xaldin portaled over in case another hit was needed. He didn't have a thing to have been concerned over; Xigbar looked as if he'd been knocked on his ass... holding the side of his face. Blood and gore ran thick between his fingers, and for a Nobody he looked incredibly shaken.

"Well... ya got me." The gunman tried to laugh, but it sounded like a wet, dying thing even in his own ears.

Xaldin barely held back a cringe. He still hadn't decided whether he'd have preferred to win or lose... not that it mattered any longer. He advanced slowly; not to intimidate, but simply because he could not will his footsteps to be any faster.

"So tell me..." Xigbar coughed, almost successfully flashing that challenging smirk which rarely seemed to leave his face, "What happens now?"

It was a good question. The lancer distantly wished he had a better answer. "I was ordered to remind you of your place."

The smirk died quickly, replaced by the challenging snarl of a rival wolf. "Oh really? And how do you plan to do that?"

Dilan and Braig had been close. Like brothers, really... but Xaldin and Xigbar hadn't really shared the same kind of bond. They couldn't have. Regardless, there was still a pause. A long, searching look between both men. And then a final decision.

"I thought we were friends, man." Xigbar seethed with pretended humor, trying so hard to bring that goddamn grin back to his face. The pain was crucial--but he'd been through worse. He had to remember, he'd been through worse with his heart in-tact. It could never be that bad again.

Xaldin sneered at his words, but felt an enormous weight settle upon his chest. It was as though his ribs were constricting, like he was being crushed by an unseen force. Desperately he schooled himself not to gasp for breath, reminding himself over and over that what he was doing was the Superior's will. That he did not feel, and therefore he felt nothing for the suffering he'd inflicted--or was about to inflict. "You were always a bit of a bastard, you know."

The gunman sputtered what was supposed to have been a laugh... but it faltered strangely when he heard the zipper of Xaldin's pants. Well, that was... different. "I s'pose I always suspected you were into violence."

"Oh?" The conversation was surprising in itself. But that statement seemed worthy of a bit more examination; even as III ever so slowly dropped to his knees with no hint of submission.

Xigbar swallowed, willing his body to stop shivering with the pain racing through it. "Th' way you always stared at Even's little live experiments... Wasn't always in disgust. Don't forget we shared a floor. Walls were pretty thin."

"That was another life." Xaldin reminded, schooling himself in nonreaction. He reached forward, grasping the other man's ponytail and fisting it tightly against the scalp, lifting the Freeshooter's head and staring into that one remaining eye. "Tell me." For Xemnas to have given him the order to punish II... it must have been something particularly big. He had no theories, but he felt like he should.

Through tightly grit teeth, the scarred man managed a strongly convincing, "No."

Maybe Xigbar had been right about Dilan. As Xaldin gazed down into one narrowed eye and that wet, warm, bloody socket... It was revolting. It was absolutely stomach-clenching and disgusting. Xaldin found quickly that he did not particularly care.

There was screaming. Broken, shattered curses and screams that neither had heard men nor animals make. Xigbar was twitching, struggling pain; but even two histories together could not deter the Whirlwind Lancer. It was like any hot, tight, well-lubricated passage--and he treated it as such.

It almost made him feel--even if that sensation was disgust. In himself, in the situation. In that slick, searing channel he couldn't help but ram himself within. It was good, it was sick, it was intriguing, it was wrong--it was Braig. But it wasn't Braig. And he wasn't Dilan. They were nothing, Nobodies, and they didn't exist. The punishment was not happening. The screams were not getting more high-pitched, were not echoing around them. He didn't pull back to shoot all over the gored face, experiencing a multi-tiered orgasm that seemed too damn good to be able to experience while whole.

It wasn't until sometime later that he'd realized the screams had changed into something far quieter. Possibly far more shameful. Xaldin chose not to delve into those depths; he'd descended quite enough for one nonexistence.

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The only comment he'd gotten from Xemnas had been a bored-sounding, "You were certainly thorough."

Yes. That was III, if nothing else. Following orders. Succeeding by any means necessary.

He couldn't really understand why he'd done it. Maybe he could blame the Darkness. Certainly seemed to work for their Superior.

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Xigbar was comatose for two weeks. When finally he woke, he remembered things in bits and pieces... but he remembered enough. Pride, shame, revenge... all things that tickled the edge of his thoughts. But really, in the end... it was Xaldin. Maybe Braig couldn't have lived with that, but Xigbar counted it as just another scar.