Part III - Live Another Night (Die Another Day)
by Mercedes - collab

Sometime in the last three days, another of Shawn’s trusted power players in the East died. Regime relished in the report –double checking it immediately first thing— and basked in the glowing knowledge that Shawn was quite possibly, going down. He’d thank his lucky stars if he were that superstitious. Or perhaps giving a generous hundred dollar to the homeless man looking for food near Jyzal’s apartment was a good turn that deserved another.

Flanked by all four Sevens, Regime made his way to Shawn’s quarters.

Nicaise was lounging in Shawn’s bed, casually sprawled as if he belonged there. Seeing Regime, he lifted from his inviting sprawl to a more aggressive one. Shawn was on the side, no doubt deep in thought about something. Regime could remember walking into a different scene, with a different blonde. Bloodier, with a lingering stench of seedy heat.

Shawn’s ******** Nicaise, Jyzal had said.

There was no comparison.

Regime was here to see Shawn’s reaction. His beautiful brother whirled on him as soon as he noticed, snarl on his face. Regime grinned, “So ya heard about Bradley’s death? Fell out of his window after unlocking it himself. Word of mouth, his windows takes like ten minutes of typing to unlock. Paranoid freak.”

“Get out.”

No reason, no ifs, no buts. Regime admitted to a sting of pain. Rejection always hurt, especially coming from that one man you’d always wanted to ********. Regime didn’t intellectualize his train of thoughts. “Dear brother, always so quick. I can’t possibly be that bad looking, can I?”

Shawn didn’t dignify that with a response. He stood, pacing over like a shark closing in on his prey. Regime had no doubt Shawn’d kill him with his bare hands if Shawn wouldn’t lose a few political games doing so. “Get the ******** out of my room.”

“Technically Father owns it,” Regime sniggered. He could see irritation lining Shawn’s face. He was only prodding a growing fire here. Jyzal did the real work, killing Bradley. Well, Regime had no evidence, since surveillance only showed the Death card neatly tucked in his prison, watched by men twenty-four-seven but there were no such thing as coincidental deaths after you gave an assassin a name.

“Maybe you’re keeping the wrong blonde at the end of your leash,” Regime left as his parting words.


This time, when Temperance resumed his guard duties after His Highness left, he was surprised to find Death still sprawled on his bed, unmoving. “Stay outside,” he told the two other cards. They questioned him, but he was the major arcana and they stayed.

Tentatively, Temperance approached Death. It was a sensitive moment and Temperance felt as if he shouldn’t be seeing this. Just another minute and Temperance saw light blue peek from beneath the mess of blonde hair. He let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding. But Death was still motionless. “Hey, what’s going on?”

Temperance moved closer, until he could see Death’s face. For a moment, Death simply gazed at him and Temperance felt as if he was being stupid again. Finally, “He dislocated my shoulders. I can’t get up.”


Now that he looked closer, he could see it, Death’s arms twisted in the wrong angle. The image was unreal. Very nearly suggestive. Temperance paced over, knees pushing into the bed as he straddled the younger blonde. Just to help. Being with Jyzal made him irrational. You see a cobra, you don’t think about pulling out your d**k. But with those steely eyes deferred to the side, everything about the assassin was soft.




There was a sickening pop as Temperance slid the bones back into its joints. He stopped Death from moving immediately, resting the flat of his palms against Death’s chest. He was in the midst of His Highness’ last carnal victory, another man’s spoils, but the thought wasn’t enough to stop him.

Less than a minute later, he found himself sprawled on his back, wrists pinned to the sides of his head. Death wasn’t dressed and only a lucky fall of bed sheet preserved his modesty. “I wouldn’t let you ******** me,” said Death. He sounded detached but decisive. “But I’d ******** you.”

Temperance considered for a moment. Then he laughed. “You’d ******** with me.”

Jyzal smiled, released him and Temperance sat up. As Jyzal began to move off him, testing his arms, Temperance reached out, placing his hands on a particularly nasty bruise on Death’s hips. His Highness had bigger hands, if the shadowy handprint was any indication.

Trained for a fast life, Temperance was under no delusion that what hummed underneath silky, pale skin was pure danger. He could see it in the way Jyzal moved and he remembered how the blond caught his hand without turning around. For a moment, Temperance felt like a skydiver about to step off the plane.

“Kiss me,” Temperance demanded. His grip tightened on the already formed mark, pressing into the sensitive, painful skin. He’d expect…well, he’d expected a one way transformation to a dog feed, but he realized with a thrill that Death was obeying. He felt soft lips against his own, chaste and almost hesitant.

When Jyzal tried to pull back, he stopped it, fingers fisting into blond hair like it belonged there the whole time. “Open your mouth.” And he was taking control, pushing past any resistance like it wasn’t there.

It wasn’t.

The prince rarely visited Dahlia’s headquarters.

The central point of Dahlia’s operation was a large spanning underground cavern under a historical museum. It was an ancient palace from the days of the Halfeud-Vadsting revolution. Few people realized that however grand the palace was, what lied underneath spanned four times that size, divided into two layers.

Here, Shawn wasn’t the prince. He was masked, dressed in a white cloak. The major arcana wore silver. Mr. E, acting director of the Dahlia, wore white. Shawn, whose rank was only emblazoned by an I, wore white. Minor arcana wore cream. Then, it was red, blue and finally black.

They saw white and everyone bowed.

In Dahlia’s headquarters, even the prince had to wait to see Mr. E. Twenty minutes of verification and questions later, Shawn was ushered in, and he was greeted by his mirror image, white cloak and equally white mask. They never removed their masks, but the codes for clearance were impossible to memorize within a week or two.

“You’ve confirmed who killed Bradley and Ronald.” Not a question.

“Death,” said Mr. E. He didn’t speak more than necessary. Neither of them ever did. I, a duo-rank of Roman numeral one and Latin alphabet I, had higher clearance than E himself, forbade any investigation about where the Death card went. E wasn’t about to waste extensive resource tracking the most elusive agent and it wasn’t as if he didn’t know.

Shawn laughed. He didn’t question the apparent impossibility of it. “Initiate the next stage.” Walking closer, he dropped a piece of paper with an address on it.

E only looked at the piece of paper out of respect. Jyzal’s address was etched into his memory in a way he’d never forget.


His men filed out when he entered. His pace graceful but menacing. As soon as the door click shut behind Temperance, Shawn took three steps forward, yanking on the barbed collar he’d drilled into his assassin’s neck. “Who fixed your shoulders two days ago?”

“Temperance,” said Jyzal.

Shawn couldn’t fight off the depressing feeling that Jyzal cared about nothing. Shawn couldn’t stand the calmness radiating off the bleeding male either. “Next time you fix yourself without my permission, you will never stand again.”

It didn’t sit well with Jyzal. Shawn saw a flash of something indescribable that he never wanted to see again and he was thrown off, skidding to a stop only after he gripped the bedside drawer. “You don’t own me.”

He didn’t? “I sure as hell do.”

“You don’t know how to use your assets,” said Jyzal. He sounded equally sure of himself.

“You’re getting useless. Nicaise’s more obedient than you are. Doesn’t make me work for it like Hell’s frozen over. Prettier, too,” hissed Shawn. Prettier in the way any boy who’d never killed before was prettier.

He’d meant it as an arrow into Jyzal’s professional pride, but it worked in an entirely different way. There was definitely an undertone of displeasure, an inflection of haughtiness. “So go home.” Shawn dared to call it jealousy.

Shawn pushed on, closing in again, “If you were going to spring a honey trap to occupy me while you run around killing my men, best make sure you can handle it first.”

“Nicaise’s not mine,” said Jyzal, right before Shawn’s fist drove into him.

Shawn snarled, drawing back his fist for another hit. By the time Jyzal's self control broke, blood flooding out of his mouth, lips split and stained like paper, he was already on the bed, shirt loose like an open invitation. Shawn stopped, nails digging into pale skin, ready to tear and rip. Voice hoarse and husky, he purred, "Don't you ever dare raise your hand to me." He drew more blood, "Do we have an understanding?"

Jyzal made a muffle sound, drowned out by blood. Shawn assumed he couldn't talk and rewarded him with a smile. He parted his thighs, grinning like madman. Then, he stopped, temptation scratching him painfully as he pushed past thinking with his d**k. He announced, "You're right, I should go home."

Sauntering to the door, it was too late when he heard the familiar sound of a gun's safety click off.


"I didn't think you'd actually kill him," Regime's voice was awestruck, watching the assassin clean and dress himself with a new kind of appreciation. "But damn did he do a smackin’ number on you. Why'd'you let him?"

On the side of the room sprawled the body of the prince, along with the three bodies of his guards. Jyzal had shot the prince, then took out the bodyguards as they rushed in. The tall man with chestnut hair who led the group, the two other Dahlias. They stood little chance.

"What did he do to me?" Jyzal asked, and Regime wasn't sure if he was oblivious, polite or apathetic. Regime clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth and began to head out.

"My men will clean this up. I'll take you back to the palace now," Regime said.


Nicaise was watching Jyzal like a hawk. There was something off about him, about the way he was home without Shawn. In fact, Shawn was missing and Niciase was even surer Jyzal had something to do with it. Those bruises revealed when Jyzal's sleeves fell back were fresh and to his knowledge, only Shawn could mark the assassin like that.

"Where is he?" Nicaise pressed for the thousandth time.

He saw of a flicker of impatience. Then Jyzal sighed and Nicaise saw regret wash over his face. "I should have never brought you back to the palace. Do you even know the man you're pining over?"

"I love him!" Nicaise exclaimed.

" And you're what? Seventeen?" Jyzal scoffed.

"So what? I can serve him, he likes me," Nicaise boasted. There was a kind of innocent pride on his face that caused the older blond to pause. Seeing the opening, Niciase pressed on, "He doesn't like you as much as you think. He wouldn't have anything to do with you if you weren't such a tool."

That pushed all the right buttons.

Without hearing another word, Niciase found himself on the floor, arms twisted painfully behind him. It was one of the few times he saw Jyzal's composure broke and he relished it. "You mad? You know it's true, that's why you're angry."

"Does he even ******** you?" Jyzal answered his own question, "He doesn't."


In answer, Jyzal twisted the captured arm and Nicaise screamed. By the time he caught his breath, there was the beginning of tears in his eyes. Jyzal had the audacity to look uncertain.

"It's just you. If His Highness did it --"

"You can't tolerate pain."

"You just don't want to share."

"I'd share with you," there was a highly polished layer of amusement. "But he wouldn't sleep with you anyway."

"Why?" Gone was the vainglorious tone. Nicaise sounded broken, like every time he did Shawn touched, kisses and petted him without taking him to bed. Refused to, even.

"He loves me," Jyzal said simply.