"Disturbing? Do I disturb you? You find me disturbing, Alexis?"

The other man in the room, the one called Alexis, shrugged nonchalantly, observing Makoto warily as he paused in his pacing to stare with wide, wild eyes the color of a turbulent sea.

"I suppose—no, wait, I'm not. I'm not shocked in the least, as a matter of fact—I should have expected this. I'm virtually incapable of making friends, you know. It always ends up like this. I try, and I try so hard—" Makoto's voice took on a plaintive tone as his lips pulled into a frown.

"I try so hard to be like you people, normal, and sane. But it doesn't work, you know. It's like trying to paint over a zebra's stripes. No matter how thick you lay it on, it still bleeds through. I'm just not like you, can you understand that?" His eyes landed on Alexis, broken and bleeding, yet still beautiful where he stood in defiance. Underneath all of the cuts and bruises ran a current of strength, physical and mental.

Alexis made no move to reply, only casting his eyes downward.

"You have no idea how hard it is, Alexis! I only just wanted you for myself. Aren't I allowed to be so selfish for once in my life? Such an angel like you, with a demon like me—it's so poetic, don't you think?" He reached out a hand to cup Alexis' face, gazing upon it with such a reverence that belied the madness in his eyes. Suddenly, he pulled away.

"But I had to ruin it all," he said, tears forming in his eyes. "I just couldn't control it, could I. I'm so sorry, Alexis. I never meant for it to come to this. Disturbed? Yes, I am. Sadistic, tortured, psychotic—all of the above. I just—I need it. I need the violence. You can understand that, can't you? Although, such a perfect angel like you, you would never understand the desire to see something broken. Everything you see is whole and unblemished, perfect like you. So beautiful..."

His words trailed off as Alexis' brilliant hazel eyes captured his gaze again, weaving a spell. "So sorry," he murmured, his hand reaching out again. "So beautiful, so good..."

Alexis made no sound as the fingers that curled around his neck quickly grew painful, the nails digging into the delicate skin and rapidly drawing blood. His face contorted as he he cringed, trying to shift to alleviate the pain, but unable to move due to the cuffs restricting him against the wall. Makoto's head rested painfully against his previously agitated and sore shoulder as the man gave into silent sobs.

"If you can't save me, angel," he said, his voice a raspy whisper, "then who can?"

He repeated the phrase over and over again, like a mantra, only this one didn't soothe his soul; it never had and never would. Makoto lifted his head to look at the pain written so clearly on Alexis' face, a crooked grin painting itself on his lips.

"For dragging you down to hell with me, I am truly sorry, Alexis," he said sincerely, his hands at polar opposites as one caressed Alexis' face while the other held his throat in a bruising, bloody grip. "You don't deserve this in the least. But for the pain I cause you...I can never truly apologize. Don't you see? I need this. Need, Alexis. I can't stand to see something so good like you willingly walk into my grasp, so innocent and clean. I can't allow you to stay that way; it's for your own good, angel. I'll stain you with your own blood so that you don't get dirtied with the blood of others. You will understand, my sweet light, though it wouldn't be unreasonable if you hate me for giving you this knowledge. I just—it kills me on the inside, Alexis, to see you, makes me just want to—"

With no warning, Makokto pushed the palm of his hand forward, driving Alexis' head backwards into the concrete wall with a dull thunk. His hand tightened over Alexis' face, and he could feel the man's frantic breaths warming the curve of his palm, see the flash of fear and pain in his eyes, those beautiful eyes, beautiful even under torture. His nails dug into the flesh, leaving pockmarks that dripped crimson as blood rushed to the surface.

"I'm so sorry, Alexis," he murmured, brushing his face against Alexis' cheek, his tongue flicking out to lap at the droplets of blood collecting on his neck. "But you know I love you, right? I would never give you up, not for the world." The hand digging into Alexis' face relaxed, returning to much gentler motions. His thumb smeared blood over the man's cheekbone as he caressed over the skin.

"Please don't leave me," Makoto pleaded, his eyebrows furrowed in consternation. "I promise I can be good. Just give me a chance. I'll hurt you, but it's okay, right? Because you understand, you know how it is. I need you, angel. I need you."

Alexis closed his eyes against the fresh pain that jolted through his body as Makoto's fingers raked over fresh cuts on his chest, reopening them to the stinging air yet again.

"Make me better, angel," he whispered brokenly. "Make me good. I just want..." His fingers flattened out against Alexis' chest, gently caressing where they had only just moments before torn at the flesh. His fingertips smeared in the hot blood, coming away painted in red as Makoto held them to his lips. An eager tongue darted out to clean the liquid from his hand, sucking each of the digits into his mouth for a more thorough perusal. The fingers slipped from his mouth, slick with saliva, and he placed them back on Alexis' chest, avoiding his gaze. Instead, he focused on the other man's bloodied neck, leaning closer to lick at the wounds there.

"I don't know what I want," whispered Makoto, savoring the combined taste of metallic blood and salty sweat. The blood reddened his cheek as he pressed his face against Alexis in consternation. "I don't know..."

Suddenly, Makoto pulled away, looking Alexis in the eye with such anguish that Alexis involuntarily strained against his chains in an attempt to comfort him. Makoto didn't miss the gesture, glancing away for a second. "If I release you," he said softly, voice shaking with some unknown but tightly controlled emotion, "will you save me? Or will you damn me even further?"

Alexis looked on with confusion as Makoto slowly backed away, turning around to face the table in the room, the only piece of furniture. "Will you save me, angel?" he questioned again, turning around with two objects in his hands. In his right he held the key to Alexis' confinements; in his left, a slender dagger. As Makoto stepped closer, dropping to the ground to first unlock the shackles binding his ankles, Alexis' entire body stilled, humming with a nervous sort of energy.

"Can I trust you, angel," said Makoto as he stood up, looking Alexis in the eye with a hint of malice and a dash of amusement, "to do the right thing? Can I trust your goodness?" He unlocked the cuff around his left hand first, and then the right. Alexis didn't move, only pressed his palms against the wall behind him. Makoto then brought up his left hand, holding the dagger towards Alexis handle forward.

"Or is darkness all that is left for me," he softly murmured. Alexis' breathing deepened as he understood what Makoto was asking of him. He looked away, unable to hold Makoto's feverish gaze.

"Do it, angel, I'm begging you. Only you can do this for me, my darling sweet. I must be punished for my sins, and only you are worthy. It would be an honor, dear angel, to be saved by one such as you," Makoto pleaded, still holding out the dagger.

Alexis raised his right hand, noticing the sharp tremble that ran through it as he reached for Makoto's hand. A soft gasp fell from Makoto's lips as they curved into a sweet smile, and the furrow in his brow disappeared.

"Yes," he breathed. "My sweet angel..."

And in that moment, Alexis faltered. Instead of taking the dagger, he grabbed onto Makoto's wrist, pulling the surprised man into a tight embrace. He closed his eyes shut tight against the tears that threatened to fall, and held onto Makoto as if his life depended on it.

Makoto felt the shock run through his body as if it were a physical pain. His face contorted into a mixture of pain, disappointment, and confusion. "Angel," he said brokenly, "why? I thought—I thought you would save me."

Alexis gave no reply. He let go of Makoto's wrist to wrap both of his arms around the man's waist. He couldn't get words past the lump in his throat, feeling as though he would choke if he attempted to speak at all.

Makoto realized that he had been terribly wrong. "I...understand now," he muttered, slowly turning the dagger in his hand. "It is no fault of your own, angel. I understand." A note of warmth enter his voice, and Alexis could almost hear the smile.

"You are true goodness," Makoto continued, "too good to misled by my darkness. It's what I love the most about you, isn't it? No matter how many times I break you, now matter how much I make you bleed, you will never...give...in." As he spoke, he dug the dagger into Alexis' back, pulling it harshly in a vertical line up towards his shoulder blades, forcing Alexis to his hands and knees in pain.

Makoto let go of the dagger as Alexis fell, circling around behind the wounded man. He trailed his fingers over the brand new gash, reveling in the warmth of the blood that streamed from it. The panicked and pained hisses that escaped Alexis' teeth put him slightly on edge, but he was willing to ignore them for the time being. Squatting down slightly behind Alexis, he lovingly wrapped his right arm around the man's torso. "Come now, angel, sit back," he said soothingly, forcing Alexis into an upright position.

"That's better," he murmured. "Just let me take care of you." Alexis was in so much pain as Makoto removed the blade from his back with a sharp yank, he didn't notice as Makoto ran the dagger lightly over his skin once more, and then plunged it deep into the flesh again. This time, Alexis couldn't help but cry out loudly as Makoto created another slash parallel to the one on his right side.

"Shhh," said Makoto distractingly, smoothing his thumb over Alexis' chest as the man clutched onto his right arm. He could feel the hot tears dripping onto his arm, much like the blood dripped from Alexis' back onto his legs. He pressed sweet kisses to the bloody lines, cautiously traced along them with his tongue. A shudder ran through Alexis' body as he fought against the pain.

Makoto felt proud of how well his angel was holding up. "You're doing very well, angel," he said. "And I understand now. This—this is my punishment. You're too good for me to kill you, and I'm too atrocious to be killed. That would be—you're right, that would be the easy way out. My punishment is to know that I am the sole cause of all of your anguish—anguish you don't deserve." He nuzzled against Alexis' back, pulling the dagger out and dropping it to the floor with a clatter.

He gathered Alexis in his arms, leaning backwards to rest against the wall. Alexis curled in his arms, trying to avoid contact with the open lesions on his back. "So good, so sweet," Makoto sighed, his hand and lips still caressing the torn surface. "My sweet angel, I'm so sorry. But I need this, even though you don't. You understand that, right? I love you more than anything, and I promise to never let anyone hurt you."

He dragged a finger down the length of the left-hand cut, eliciting a ragged groan from Alexis' raw throat. "I'll never let anyone touch you," whispered Makoto adoringly. "I'll take you straight into Hell, but you'll be safe with me, I swear. You're too good, angel, too pure for me to ever let go."

He laid kisses alongside Alexis' neck and face, licking at the tears that still fell. "Don't cry, my beautiful angel," he muttered in distress. "I still love you. I will always love you, even you think you've failed. You're perfect, in every way, angel. Don't ever doubt that."

He murmured softly into Alexis' ear until the man either fell asleep or passed out from sheer exhaustion. Even so, Makoto continued his assurances, even as he carried Alexis up the stairs from the basement and into the warmth of their home, even as he gently laid Alexis down on the bed they shared, even as he meticulously attended to each and every one of Alexis' countless wounds, even as he ensured that the only scars that would remain were the ones he chose, even as he warmly tucked the man in and slid into bed beside him. His hand rested against Alexis' heart, beating strong and regularly underneath his palm.

"I only just wanted you for myself, angel. You're so beautiful, so good. I'm so sorry...please, don't leave me. I love you..."