Alone In The Dark

BY : mypetcerberus
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1986
Disclaimer: I do not own any of Final Fantasy VII compilation, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Title: Alone In The Dark
Author: Melicifent
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII: Dirge Of Cerberus
Characters: Nero, Weiss
Pairings: Weiss/Nero
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: YAOI. NSFW. Incest. Spoilers for Dirge Of Cerberus. Very mild near-rape scene. Mild language.
Author's Notes: Okay, so I'm not always for the whole incest thing, but I just can't help it with these two. Needless to say, if you don't like it, don't read it!

Nero the Sable slowly shuffled down the long, wide hallway that led to his brother’s throne room. No one else dared to enter this part of Deep Ground, not even the other Tsviets. Only Nero was ever granted entry, even before Weiss fell ill. And now that Deep Ground’s Emperor was currently all but incapacitated, Nero wouldn’t even allow anyone else in the same sector, let alone the same building. In fact, none of the other Tsviets could even find Nero on their own. If anyone needed to contact Nero or Weiss, they would need to rely on Shelke the Transparent to deliver the data through the network.

Nero didn’t like it when Shelke contacted him that way. It interrupted his thoughts and gave a slight hint of temporary static to his darkness. And Nero didn’t like it when anything interrupted his deep and constant thoughts that always revolved around Weiss and how to keep the Immaculate as safe and comfortable as possible until his rebirth.

Weiss had fallen ill shortly after Deep Ground was all but abandoned by the majority of the ShinRa staff, right after the Tsviets had taken out the Restrictors. Nero remembered overhearing one of the ShinRa professors saying something about “Meteorfall,” but he had no logical idea what that meant. Because he had never seen the sky, he hadn’t the first clue about what a meteor was.

Nevertheless, he assumed that whatever event was transpiring, it was important. Shortly before the staff began to leave, he and Weiss had stopped receiving regular visits from Professor Hojo. This would have been a relief to both Sable and Immaculate, if it weren’t for the rumors. ShinRa staff and DG Soldiers alike gossiped like lonely housewives, and Nero had even heard one of the Restrictors make mention of the Professor’s death. Again, this might have been a relief, if it weren’t for the fact that no one knew what would happen to Deep Ground if Hojo weren’t around. Ever since the death of ShinRa’s previous president, Hojo had been in charge, and he took great pride in the work he’d established in DeepGround.

Once the Restrictors were dead and the last of ShinRa’s staff evacuated, all hell broke loose. Most of the soldiers practically trampled each other in an attempt to scramble to the surface, to free themselves from the prison of Deep Ground. But it wasn’t until an elite sharpshooter named Quan that Weiss had taken a friendly liking to was gunned down in front of him that the Immaculate himself had decided enough was enough.

Three days later, order was almost instantly restored to Deep Ground, with the Immaculate Weiss still reigning at the helm. It hadn’t taken much, really. The other Tsviets - Rosso, Azul, and Shelke - had grown to deeply respect Weiss over the years… They had even teamed up together to take down the Restrictors. Afterward, the Tsviets, under the official order of Weiss and the controlled direction of Nero on the frontlines, took back Deep Ground first hand. Many of the soldiers perished, either in the initial panic to escape Deep Ground or in the battle against the Tsviets that followed, but several others remained. Weiss ordered their memories erased, and soon after, the entire lot of soldiers that remained were placed back into direct training. No one could have asked for a more loyal army. Cloned and memory-less, they were nearly robotic, blindly worshipping an Emperor who none of them had ever actually seen face-to-face.

It was shortly after that when Weiss fell ill.

It came on slowly at first. Weiss would more often ask to be left alone, and that troubled Nero. For so many years, the two of them had to sneak around in order to see each other. Hojo always forbade them from being alone together, and their visits together - which were usually an excuse for some sort of experiment - were always supervised. Of course, when Nero learned to control his darkness enough to the point that he discovered it’s ability to teleport him, it was all too easy for him to sneak into Weiss’ throne room at night, if for no other reason than to be close to him. And they always cherished the time they spent together like that. Even if they were saying or doing nothing at all, at least they were together. But once Weiss started acting strange, acting ill, he would ask Nero to leave him be, sometimes for hours at a time. Nero eventually realized, of course, that Weiss only sought this time alone so he could deal with the pain and agony of his illness without worrying the Sable, but he never argued a request from Weiss. All requests from Weiss were automatic orders to Nero, and were never questioned, never denied.

Weiss began to develop terrible headaches, cold sweats, and even delirious fevers. No one knew what was wrong - not even Weiss himself - and without Hojo, there were no doctors on hand that could treat him. Nero suggested once that he venture to the surface and seek out a doctor, but Weiss had immediately shot that notion down in a heartbeat. He didn’t want any outsiders invading Deep Ground, and he was too weak at that point to venture above ground himself. So he asked Nero to keep bringing pure Mako treatments and promised the Sable that his illness would pass.

But it didn’t pass. It only grew worse, and Nero began to plead with Weiss to seek help. To the Sable’s surprise, Weiss already seemed to have a plan. Literally overnight, the Immaculate had concocted a plan to draw all forms of the purest Lifestreams on the Planet to the very center of Deep Ground. Only with a high volume of pure Mako, Weiss claimed, would he fully recover, and once fully healed, he promised Nero that they would come together as one and awaken Omega, and they would ride on the great beast’s gigantic wings into the sea of stars, and seek out a new planet, one that didn’t experiment on humans or imprison them underground. It all sounded like a fairy tale to Nero, but he honestly couldn’t care less what they did or where they went. As long as he had Weiss by his side, he would be content. He would do whatever the Immaculate would ask of him, whatever would make the Emperor happy, without question or hesitance.

And that is how Nero ended up where he was now, trudging down the dimly lit hallway to Weiss’ throne room, almost afraid to check in on him, afraid of what he might find, afraid that Weiss might not wake up when he tries to rouse him.

As it stood presently, Weiss had good days and he had bad days. The good days were few and far between, but Nero cherished them all the same. The bad days were…well, terrible. Those were the days that Weiss would not eat, would not speak, would not even move…just stuck in a sort of trance-like limbo, caught in between life and death. Nero would always fear that Weiss wouldn’t snap out of those trances, but eventually, the Immaculate would come to again, and most of the time he wouldn’t even realize that he’d been ‘gone’ at all.

Nero hoped today was a good day as he approached the large, double doors that led to Weiss’ throne room. The steel creaked as it was forced open, loudly echoing through the large room beyond and causing Nero to faintly cringe in response. His mechanical wings folded in tight against his back as he peered into the room. Weiss was slumped on his throne, as usual, and at first glance, Nero couldn’t tell if he was awake or not.

The steel doors groaned again in protest as they sealed themselves shut behind the Sable, and he carefully and silently made his way across the room, without a word. Still Weiss remained silent and unmoving. Nero was starting to give up on the hope that today might be a good day.

“Weiss…” his murmured voice rang throughout the room in a faint echo, but no response came. “How are you feeling today, my beloved brother?”

Still no response. Nero cautiously approached the vacant Emperor and slowly knelt beside him, tilting his head a bit to one side in order to gently peer up into his brother’s face.

It was another one of those trances. Weiss appeared entirely lifeless, motionless, but his brilliant eyes of icy blue and burning gold were open wide, staring out at nothing in particular. His mouth hung open just a little bit, letting soft, shallow breaths escape every few seconds.

Nero sighed softly and lifted himself upright again.

“I’ve brought you something that will help you feel better, my beloved. I promise.” The Sable very nearly smiled behind his mask then, but managed to contain it momentarily.

He said nothing more, but went straight to slowly unfastening the buckles that held his restraints closed, using his darkness as his aid. Thin, black threads of blackness swirled up and about his torso, and within a matter of seconds, the Sable’s arms were free. He easily slipped out of the belted jacket of restraints that kept his darkness at bay, letting it fall to the floor in front of him. From there, he used his hands to reach up and remove his mask, and once that too fell to the ground, his darkness was entirely unleashed.

Thankfully, he’d managed to learn how to control it over the years, at least for the most part, and he knew that the throne room was large enough that he could wander freely here, unrestrained, in Weiss’ presence without needing to worry too much about the Immaculate’s comfort. That aside, there was simply no other way for Nero to deliver that ‘something’ he’d promised.

The Sable walked slowly passed his still-motionless brother and carefully approached the large pool of pure, lava-like Mako that silently churned in the massive basin at the back of the room. His bright crimson eyes stared down at the vivid emerald liquid for a few long moments, and just as the purity of the stream began to make him uncomfortable, he moved to the basin’s left side and hastily flipped a switch. In the next few moments, human cries were heard from above as a machine whirred, and a conveyer belt started a course to bring a massive pod of pure, untainted humans toward the Mako pool. Only minutes later, the screams stopped and the steel pod was no more, the souls of the humans and the metal of the container that housed them both swallowed up by the bright, glowing pool of concentrated Lifestream.

“I’ve even brought you a special treat, my dear brother,” Nero mused quietly as he returned to his previous spot in front of the green-filled basin. He fell silent and motionless for a few moments before allowing his darkness to do the rest.

Highly resembling the thick, oily, black goo that was once all too often seen seeping from Geostigma wounds, the Sable’s darkness slowly began to ooze from the exposed parts of Nero’s skin and down toward the Mako pool, bleeding across the steel floor like black, sticky glue. Thin, black threads hovered over the massive emerald pond, stretched thin like a spider’s web, and only then did it spill the contents of it’s stomach into the pure Mako liquid. Faint, echoing screams could be heard, but not much else, and within seconds, it was all over. The numerous tendrils of blackness slowly began to sink back into Nero’s body, and once back to their original appearance, the Sable sank to his knees.

It took him only a moment or two to recover, and he heaved a deep, quiet sigh before lifting himself back on his feet and slowly wandering back over to his brother.

“The devoured souls of W.R.O. Soldiers, my darling… Bon appetite.”

It seemed almost sickening to find momentary pleasure in something so inhumane, but in Nero’s mind, ‘humane’ was an idea that he had never known, never been shown…aside from his brother’s adoration. More than that, this was all he could to keep his brother alive.

He rounded about the Emperor’s throne and knelt in front of him, just like he’d done before, only this time, he dared to reach up and very lightly rest his ungloved hand on the Immaculate’s thigh.

“Are you feeling up to a treatment, brother?” he asked curiously, tilting his head a bit to peer into the other’s face, forcing a small smile of encouragement, even if Weiss couldn’t see it. “I think you’re overdue for one of this caliber, wouldn’t you agree?”

Weiss still didn’t respond. His eyes remained open and lifeless, unblinking.

That didn’t seem to deter Nero, and he nodded decisively. “Come on then, love… Your bath is waiting for you.”

Groaning softly as he rose to his feet, Nero cautiously leaned in and gently scooped Weiss up in his arms. It would have been difficult if he didn’t have his mechanical wings to aid him, considering how much bigger and stronger Weiss was than him. And just as it always seemed to happen, as soon as Nero steadied Weiss on his feet, the Immaculate slowly began to respond. He still didn’t speak, nor did he even seem to blink yet, but his body began to work, as if by instinct alone, and he carried most of his own weight as Nero slowly led the Immaculate over to the Mako pool.

Normally, if Weiss weren’t in such a trance-like state, it would be safe to simply let the Emperor bathe in the pool on his own, but Nero wasn’t prepared to risk that when Weiss appeared as comatose as he did. And the Sable didn’t dare taint the pool with his own presence, so the only safe way to give Weiss a purity treatment while he was in a state like this was for Nero to let his wings do most of the work.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he silently thanked Hojo for making his wings so strong, because it was almost an easy task, using them to carefully lower Weiss into the swirling, emerald liquid. He meticulously doused his brother in the warm, smooth fluid until his shoulders ached so badly he thought his wings might fall off altogether. All in all, he’d managed to give Weiss several full minutes of treatment, but his best was never enough when Weiss was concerned.

He groaned quietly in pain as he lifted his brother out of the pool and carefully settled him on the floor. He then took a moment to compose himself, falling forward onto the floor to join his brother for a moment, simply to relax and attempt to ignore the way his shoulder blades were burning. He let a few minutes pass before finally sitting up again, climbing to his feet and carefully coaxing Weiss back onto his throne.

The short walk back to the throne seemed a little easier this time, on both of them. Weiss still wasn’t ‘awake,’ but his muscles seemed to instinctively react a bit quicker than before. This pleased Nero, because it meant he’d done his job in giving his brother just that much more of the energy the Immaculate so desperately needed.

The Sable sighed softly to himself as he carefully and meticulously settled Weiss back onto his throne. Afterward, he took a moment to step back a bit, absently admiring his brother. He even gave in to a very tiny smile.

He adored the way Weiss looked sitting on his throne like that. It made him appear so regal, so important…a perfect king. His king. Nero swore to himself, like he did almost every night, that he would worship and protect his king to the death. He considered this duty to be his sole purpose, and nothing would stop him from seeing that Weiss is healthy and happy again.

His eyelids began to feel a bit heavy, and he accidentally stumbled back a little bit. He always felt so weak, so drained, after collecting then delivering so many souls. Silently, he cursed himself for that. He couldn’t afford to indulge such weaknesses when Weiss was in such a state. His brother needed him now more than ever, and he would not let such a simple weakness defeat him.

Still, a short nap sounded incredibly inviting, and it would likely be a while yet before Weiss would come around. The purely synthesized Lifestream needed time to work it’s way through the Immculate’s system, and Nero was certain that Weiss would not be able to rouse himself before that.

So, with those thoughts in mind, he slowly allowed himself to fall backward, gently collapsing onto the floor, using the hands on his wings to break his fall. He just stared lazily up at the ceiling then, slowly stretching out his wings so he could more comfortably lie on his back like this. All right, so the steel floor beneath him wasn’t exactly very luxurious, but he was far too weak, and equally as tired, to make the trip back to his own chamber.

“Weiss…” he absently whispered, mostly to himself, as his eyes slowly began to slide closed. He felt a bit more lightheaded than usual. He wondered if that was because his darkness had swallowed up that pesky robotic cat that had somehow snuck into one of the off-limits sections of Deep Ground. How did that silly-looking cat know who he was, anyway?

It probably had something to do with the W.R.O. and their damned Commissioner who was aiding the Keeper of the Protomateria. Well, no matter. They would all die in the end, anyway. Still, he needed to remember to give Weiss a full report when he woke up…


The Sable awoke with a start upon hearing his name and having felt a warm hand on his chest. His eyes blinked furiously in an effort to focus. But he didn’t need to see who it was that had roused him. He recognized his brother’s unique, intoxicating scent.

“Weiss…” Nero whispered back in a voice that didn’t sound like his own. His eyes finally focused and a bright smile swept over his face when he was greeted with the warm, beautiful smile on the Immaculate’s face. Without thinking, he lunged upright and threw his arms about his brother’s neck, gently clinging to him and burying his face into the other’s neck.

Weiss let out a soft grunt of slight discomfort at first, but that was all as he eagerly returned his little brother’s embrace. He had so many questions for him, but all that could wait. It didn’t take him long to assume that he must have been lost in one of those trances again, because Nero only clung to him like this when that happened. He knew how frightened the Sable was of losing him, and secretly, he felt horrible knowing that there was very little he could do to ease his brother’s fears.

“You were out again…” Nero quietly confessed after a few moments, “Since last night. I’m sorry I came to you late today. I was busy in-”

Weiss gently cut the Sable off by pulling back from him and holding the other by the shoulders, then leaning in and pressing a light kiss to his brother’s lips. Shortly afterward, he murmured firmly against Nero’s lips, “Don’t apologize. I don’t want to talk about that just yet.” A small smirk slowly invaded the Immaculate’s lips, and he added playfully, “I want to know what you’re doing on the floor, darling.”

Nero’s eyes went wide the instant Weiss’ lips touched his own, but it proved to instantly relax him, and he found himself fluttering his eyes for a moment, trying to keep them open as his brother purred so sweetly against his lips.

“I…I was tired,” he replied softly, allowing a very faint blush to invade his cheeks, “And you were…asleep…”

Weiss pulled back a bit from Nero and chuckled lightly under his breath. “I’m not scolding you, Nero. I was simply curious. You could have snuggled up with me, you know.”

Nero gave in to a small smile of his own then, slowly nodding. “I know, but you looked so lovely the way I’d settled you on your throne. I didn’t want to take the chance of disturbing you.”

That might have been a little white lie, but only in the sense that Nero had already ‘disturbed him’ by moving him from his throne for a Mako bath, and back again.

Weiss only rolled his eyes and gave in to a playful smirk. Without a word, he rose to his feet and gently helped lift Nero to his. The Sable took notice that Weiss didn’t seem too bothered by his darkness today; That bath must have helped.

“Come, Nero,” the Immaculate purred with a smile, “I want to hear all about what you’ve been up to.”

Nero happily obeyed, of course, as usual. He held his brother’s hand as they wandered over to Weiss’ throne, and as usual, the Immaculate settled himself comfortably first before gently pulling the Sable into his lap. Nero squirmed a bit before falling still, lightly resting his head against the Immaculate’s shoulder.

“Now then, my darling Sable,” Weiss playfully began, “Do you have a report for me?”

Nero smiled and very softly laughed. “I most certainly do, my Immaculate Emperor,” he replied just as playfully, “Would Sire care for the good news first, or rather the bad news?”

Weiss twisted his face into a slight grimace. “Ooh, there’s bad news?”

Nero tilted his head back a little to glance up at his brother, softly laughing again at the expression on the other’s face. “Yes, but it isn’t very bad,” the Sable softly reassured him, “A temporary setback, if you will.”

Weiss softened his expression and nodded in understanding. “I see. Proceed, then. Bad news first.”

“All right,” the Sable replied softly, and after a light nod, resumed a more serious expression, “We infiltrated W.R.O. Headquarters again as ordered, but the troops failed in disposing of the Commissioner, as well as Shelke the Transparent. She still remains in W.R.O. custody.”

Weiss’s expression hardened at this information, and after a long, deep sigh of frustration, he asked quietly, “And what of Azul? Has he reawakened? Has he, too, failed to dispose of them?”

Nero slowly nodded. “Unfortunately. Azul reported back to Deep Ground shortly after the Commissioner escaped with Shelke and the Keeper by means of an airship.”

“The Keeper was with them?” Weiss nearly snapped at this information, but he quickly caught himself and softened his expression. “I’m sorry, Nero… What is the good news?”

Immediately lowering his eyes in shame, Nero nodded again before slowly glancing back up at his brother, taking relief in the gentler expression on the other’s face. “The Keeper escaped with them, yes. But not before Rosso completed her mission.” Nero smiled. “That is the good news.”

Weiss slowly mirrored Nero’s smile. “You mean…”

The Sable nodded. “Rosso has successfully retrieved the Protomateria.”

“Where is it?” Weiss suddenly resembled a child who’d just been promised a new toy.

Nero’s smile slowly brightened as a thin tendril of his darkness came forward just enough to produce a small, glowing orb. The Sable reached out to delicately take the orb from his darkness, immediately drawing the latter back into himself, for Weiss’ comfort. He then held the orb lightly in his palm and offered it to his brother.

“Nero… You’re wonderful, do you know that?” Weiss’ eyes lit up and he smiled brightly as he reached out to gently take the mysterious orb from Nero’s palm, holding it up to the light and gazing through it.

Nero smiled almost sheepishly and lightly shook his head. “Rosso obtained it. I had very little to do with it.”

“How did she manage…?”

“I’m not certain of the details, but she tells me that she managed to injure the Keeper quite badly in the process. She had intended to kill him, of course, but some bratty little Wutaian Ninja rescued him.”

Weiss didn’t seem to be very interested in that information. He was still gazing at the Protomateria in his hand as though it were the world’s most valuable diamond. Finally, however, he lowered his hand to his lap, the glowing orb gently resting his palm.

“It matters little now whether the Keeper lives or dies,” the Immaculate finally answered, casually, “The Protomateria was all we needed from him. He is useless to us now, much like Shelke. Now that we have this little gem, summoning Omega should be almost easy. It’s simply a matter of collecting the required number of souls.”

“I’m working on that as quickly as I can,” Nero insistently spoke up, though still softly, “I only need a few hundred more.”

“That’s excellent, my darling,” Weiss replied gently with a smile, reaching up to lightly brush his fingertips into his brother’s hair, “Why don’t you pay a little visit to that airship you mentioned? I’m sure such a vehicle would need an ample crew, hm?”

“A brilliant idea, Weiss,” the Sable nearly purred back, leaning gently into the touch in his hair, “And what shall I do if I happen to come across Shelke, the Commissioner, or the Keeper?”

“You already know the answer to that, Nero,” Weiss flashed his brother a look that very clearly said what he meant. All three were to be terminated on sight.

Nero nodded, a slightly sadistic little grin curling at his bruise-colored lips. “And what orders shall I give Rosso and Azul?”

Weiss paused in thought, gazing off into empty space, almost as though someone were whispering the answer to him. “Have them assemble the troops. W.R.O. will plan an assault. You must not allow them to enter Deep Ground. Stop them by any means necessary. I suspect they will attempt to hinder our ultimate goal, and that is not an option. In the meantime, I will remain here and rest as much as I can. I’ll need my strength to summon Omega.”

“And Omega will heal you…yes?” Nero asked softly, not entirely sure if he’s comfortable with that malicious grin on his brother’s face.

“Much more than that, darling,” Weiss replied, still not seeming to look directly at Nero, but almost through him, “Omega will give me a proper rebirth, and then you and I shall become one and traverse the stars together… Don’t you remember?”

Nero still didn’t understand that. But he couldn’t deny the look in his brother’s eyes. There was hope and longing shining brightly in those gold-rimmed, ivory pools, and just seeing that made the Sable’s heart ache.

He didn’t understand what his brother was trying to do. It didn’t make a lot of sense to him that this Great Beast named Omega would appear from the Lifestream and grant them so much power. He didn’t know why Weiss wanted to leave this Planet so badly and find a new one, or if that would even be possible. The idea of a ‘proper rebirth’ was absolutely foreign to him, and he didn’t understand why Weiss would need such a thing, anyway. He was still alive, after all, just very ill. Perhaps that was part of the problem. Perhaps Weiss had become delusional on account of his fevers and trances.

No. That was unacceptable. Nero inwardly scolded himself for even thinking such things. He loved Weiss more than he’d ever loved anything, and whatever Weiss wanted, no matter how ludicrous or perplexing, Nero would do everything in his power to help his brother achieve it.

Very slowly, Nero nodded.

“Don’t worry, Nero,” Weiss leaned in to nuzzle gently against the Sable’s cheek, purring happily into his ear, “I promise you, it will all work out in the end, and we’ll always be together. You won’t leave me, will you, Nero?”

What a preposterous idea! Nero’s eyes widened as he turned his head to blink at Weiss, almost in shock. Somehow, he managed to whisper, “Of course not, Weiss… I will NEVER leave you.”

“Nero…” Weiss purred the Sable’s name and gently but forcibly captured his brother’s lips in a kiss - one that was passionate and fierce, so much so that it took Nero a bit off-guard.

The Protomateria made a soft clinking sound as it fell to the floor next to Weiss’ throne, carelessly discarded in the Emperor’s wake. It rolled about in a little circle for a few seconds before finally falling still.

And before the young Sable even knew what was happening, Weiss had Nero pinned to the ground on his back, and was ravishing him like a sex-crazed schoolboy. Not that Nero ever particularly minded when Weiss acted like this, but somehow, he was acting differently this time. Weiss was always so gentle and so patient with him. Not like this.

The Immaculate growled under his breath like a predatory wolf, his hands clutching desperately at the material of Nero’s uniform, very nearly tearing it as he hastily urged the clothing off of his brother’s small, lithe form. He crushed the Sable’s lips in a ferocious kiss and none-too-gently hoisted his brother’s legs up onto his hips and about his waist. Nero gasped breathlessly, trying to keep up with the kiss while at the same time almost pushing gently at Weiss, somehow trying to slow him down a bit.

“Weiss…” the younger hissed softly when he managed to break away from the kiss, his wide scarlet eyes watching his brother tug down his own pants and forcibly curl the Sable’s legs about his waist.

Normally, Nero was rather shy and self-conscious when so openly exposed in front of Weiss like this, even after years of being intimate with him. But this time, he had no room to be skittish, because Weiss was acting terribly strange, and far too impatient.

“Weiss…!” he hissed again, a bit more loudly this time, trying to capture his brother’s attention.

To no avail. Nero let out a sharp, hissing shriek of protest when Weiss slowly began to push his swollen arousal into the Sable’s body. No, this certainly wasn’t like Weiss at all. Weiss never took him like this. Something was very wrong.

“Weiss, you’re hurting me!”

Only then did the Immaculate seem to snap out of his current state of mind. Suddenly seeming to realize that he was causing his brother such discomfort, he quickly withdrew his erection and scooped Nero up in his arms, cradling him and making soft, soothing sounds, as though the Sable were just a babe.

“Damn, Nero, I’m so sorry…” the Emperor sighed, “I…I don’t know what came over me. It won’t happen again. Please forgive me…”

Nero’s eyes were wide in both shock and confusion, but he instinctively curled his arms about the other’s waist and desperately clung to him, not certain what to say, but knowing that the Immaculate was already forgiven even before this strange scene began.

“Of course I forgive you…” Nero finally managed to murmur in reply, “It’s all right.”

Weiss fell eerily silent for a long few minutes that were quickly becoming awkward. Still, though, he continued to cradle his younger brother, very gently rocking him and gently holding him to his chest. Finally, his movement ceased and he slowly pulled back. There was a strange, unreadable expression on his face.

“Perhaps I’m just tired…” he murmured finally, almost absently, “I’ve been feeling so strange lately. My mood swings have gotten worse, and I sometimes feel so weak that I…” He paused, lightly shaking his head and seeming to temporarily lose himself in the crimson pupils of Nero’s eyes. “Never mind. Forgive me, darling, but I think I need to rest a while…”

Nero lightly furrowed his brow, but he did not question Weiss’ words. Instead, he simply nodded and moved to climb to his feet, scooping up his discarded uniform in his arms. He didn’t feel at all like a shunned, neglected piece of meat… No, not at all…

Weiss rose to his feet as well, gently tugging his pants up over his hips as he did. He noticed the way Nero was avoiding looking at him, but he decided not to mention it. Instead, he sighed a little to himself and shuffled back over to his throne, gently collapsing into it and leaning forward a bit to rest his chin in his hand.

Nero felt the Immaculate’s eyes on him as he redressed, but he refused to look over at his brother. After all, he considered part of his duty to be as much a physical pleasure for his brother as a mental one, and if Weiss enjoyed watching him dress, then who was he to deny him?

Once fully dressed again, he stood fully upright and remained perfectly still, awaiting some sort of orders from Weiss. When none came straightaway, he slowly dared himself to glance up at his brother, curiously wondering why the other was suddenly so silent.

The Immaculate had that vacant expression on his face again, and Nero’s expression fell, nearly devastated. Another fucking trance. Couldn’t Weiss have chosen a better time to slip off into oblivion like this?

No, he supposed not. Weiss didn’t have a choice in the matter, after all. But despite that, Nero still felt a pain in his heart that nearly made him feel sick to his stomach. When would this madness end? When would he finally get his brother back?

“Weiss…” Nero whispered, barely audibly, as he slowly, cautiously approached the Immaculate’s throne. A single tear slowly rolled down the Sable’s cheek, but he didn’t seem to notice. He knelt at his brother’s side and heaved a soft, deep sigh as he leaned in to gently rest his cheek on the Emperor’s knee. “I miss you so much, Weiss…” he continued to whisper, “I want my beloved brother back… Why can’t things be the way they once were? Even this prison was warm, so long as I was in your arms… I’m sorry, brother. I promise, I’ll make things right.”

Nero sighed again as he lifted his head to peer into the vacant, unblinking expression on his brother’s face.

“But in order to do that, Weiss,” Nero continued, so quietly even he could barely hear his own voice, “I must leave your side. Just for a little while, then I’ll return. And after that, I won’t leave you again. Never. I promise.”

With that, Nero cautiously reached up to very gently caress his brother’s cheek for a moment before pulling back and slowly rising to his feet. He just stood there, gazing down at his beloved brother for a few minutes before reaching down to retrieve the deserted Protomateria. He turned it about in his hand for a bit, just looking at it curiously, before gently placing it in Weiss’ open left hand, delicately closing the Immaculate’s fingers over it. Only then did he finally turn on his heel and begin walking toward the exit.

This must be done, Weiss. I will heed your orders. I will collect the souls you need. I will defend Deep Ground, our home, until my dying breath. Then I will return to you. You will be my guiding light… As always.

Nero didn’t leave the Emperor’s throne room the way he’d came. Instead, he seemed to vanish directly through the closed steel doors as he teleported himself into his darkness, leaving little more than a few wisps of blackness behind him.

Alone in the dark, with only the faint glow of pure Lifestream as a backdrop, Weiss the Immaculate remained still and lifeless as he awaited his brother’s return. Unaware of all he was doing wrong… Unaware of the evil consciousness that stirred inside him and awaited the rebirth… Unaware how much his dear brother was doing in an endless effort to protect and love him.

Alone in the dark, in his endless state of oblivion, Nero the Sable embarked on the final chapter of his mission as a Deep Ground Soldier. The troops were assembled, the Tsviets prepared for the ensuing battle, the final souls were gathered, and Nero prepared for the worst. The final steps that would lead to a chaotic end, and all for the brother that meant so very much to him… The only person who ever loved him, and the only person he would ever love.

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