Of two things, Axis was not quite certain of. For one, he had no idea that he, one of the highest ranking courtesan in the Teahouse, was being forced to go shopping on his day off. And of the second, he had absolutely no idea why he was being forced to go with Rory of all people. He felt like he had been commissioned to babysit the kid, and quite frankly it got under Axis's skin. Although, this could have been punishment for upsetting that rich bastard that had come by just a few days prior. Knowing Atros, that was probably what it was. The two whores walked along the crowded street, the shops all open for a perfect day of browsing. All kinds of smells wafted through the air, promising delicious foods and other snacks to those who wanted them. Children ran about the streets, little toys and such in their hands as their mothers watched fondly. Off in the distance, the faint song of a street performer was heard, setting the scene for such a lovely afternoon. Axis scowled at every perfect little aspect of it. Except for when he caught a woman blushing as he passed. To entertain himself, he kept a tally of how many faces he recognized, and how many recognized him. He smiled a bit to himself, watching a somewhat elderly woman fuddle about with her shop, her face cherry red. His smile only brightened when her husband asked just what was the matter. That got a chuckle out of him and he turned his attention to Rory.
"So what else do we need," he muttered, looking at the list. As he had yet to make use of himself at the Teahouse, Atros had charged young Rory to other services around the place, this one included. He tapped his lip, thinking to himself. "We already have fruit... And bandages... Oh, it looks like Mercutio needs a new... en... emenem... enen..."
"That's an 'enema' machine, doofus," said Axis lightly. "Mercutio's old one broke. But I know where to get them." Rory looked up in curiosity.
"What's an enema machine?" he asked innocently.
Axis snorted. "If I told you, that virgin face of yours would light up so red, your eyebrows would burn off." Rory frowned at that.
"So what if I'm a virgin!" he protested, his cheeks flushing. "Is it so wrong to not have sex?"
"When you're being paid to do just that, it sure as hell is." Axis put his hands behind his head. "Don't worry though. With your looks, you'll probably get some crotchety old farts who can't get it up anyway. So you might stay a virgin for a little while longer." He grinned at Rory's worried look.
"You don't really think I'll just get old guys, do you?" he asked, clearly nervous. "Oh! I don't want to do it with old people!" He put his face in his hands as Axis laughed.
"Whatever pays your bill, kiddo." Rory sighed and looked up to Axis with weak eyes.
"I guess... It's not like I have a choice. I didn't even want to do this in the first place."
That caused Axis to roll his eyes. "Yeah. Getting paid to fuck. What a hard life we lead." He smirked at nothing in particular, having fun in teasing the little virgin boy. However, his temporary good mood was quickly tarnished as his eye spotted someone very familiar. Blinking, he stopped in his tracks before quickly yanking Rory to the side of an alley way. The boy let out a faint cry as he was tugged aside before pouting up at Axis.
"What are you ?!"
Rory blinked, noticing Axis's eyes as they fixated on one singe spot before him. Confused, Rory turned to see just who it was that Axis saw. It was a man. A well dressed man at that. He wore a sharply ironed suit, his embroidered boots polished and regal. His hair was a smooth shock of blue, and though his back was turned to the two redheads, it was obvious that his bangs ran over one eye. Recognition hit little Rory as he looked up to Axis. "Isn't that the guy who rejected you?" he asked blankly.
Axis jolted slightly, his face suddenly flushing. "Shut up!" he hissed. "That bastard just... just doesn't know what's good, that's his problem!" Axis then nodded curtly, as though that ended things. Rory frowned.
"So... you did want him to pick you then?"
"I said shut it, you little virgin!"
Axis put a hand over his head, grumbling to himself. He watched as Rhys moved about a certain stall, observing the vender's merchandise. Axis scoffed beneath his breath. He could wager very assuredly that this man didn't work a day in his life for the money he got. His stomach boiled over just looking at the proper fellow as Axis sucked on his teeth in irritation. "Come on, let's get back. We'll tell Atros that we couldn't find... hey!" When Axis had turned to take Rory a different way, he realized that the boy had wondered off. To his horror, he saw the younger courtesan heading straight for that same shop. Clearly, there was something on the list he needed. What only added to the situation was the fact that Rhys actually recognized the boy.
Ah! Rory you little idiot! Axis swore in his head. He watched as Rhys struck up a small conversation with the lad. He seemed to be surprised to see him. Probably only being polite, Rory smiled charmingly and said something that Axis couldn't here. It was something that made Rhys chuckle and pat Rory on the head like one would a puppy. Axis didn't know why, but he felt his insides do a very sharp flip at that, and he suddenly grew even more angry with Rory for walking off so carelessly. Let alone catching Rhys's eye. He would have to sneak over to the two and grab Rory before he said anything two damning.
Wait... sneak? Why should he, the great tiger Axis, have to sneak anywhere? Who cares if Rhys saw him? Axis certainly didn't. Let the man see him for all he cared. Hell, let him paint a picture if he fancied. So, puffing out his chest, Axis plucked up his pride and sauntered over to where the two were. Rhys quickly caught sight of him, his cool eye quickly twinkling at Axis's presence. But the man ignored his gaze. Instead, he took Rory's shoulder.
"The next time I tell you something, I expect you to do as I say," Axis snapped. "The last thing I need is for you to wonder off. Atros would have my ass in a sling if I lost you. You're way too expensive."
Rory flinched a bit at Axis's scolding before holding up the list. "But we need to get everything else by the end of today..."
Axis opened his mouth to speak, but paused when Rhys clicked his tongue. "Come now, Alice. Don't be so harsh on the boy."
"It's Axis," he growled dangerously. "And don't tell me what to do, you fag."
A slight chuckle escaped Rhys. "Still as charming as ever I see."
"Go fuck yourself."
"Rhys." Their conversation was interrupted by a feminine voice. One that Axis was unfamiliar with. Turning, Axis spotted the owner of that voice. A young woman, a head and a half shorter than Rhys himself, stood there. Her brown hair sat in a gentle wave against her neck, a few curls around her petite face. She was a pretty enough girl, with a modest bust and a pale complexion. She turned her dark eyes to Rhys, a closed parasol in her hands. "Must we dally long? I want to get home soon."
"Of course, Lucille," said Rhys, turning to her. "I won't be much longer." Axis saw this Lucille's eyes turn to his own. He felt a sudden defense at her gaze, as though he was ready to snap at her, even though he wouldn't mind screwing her, either.
"Who's this, a friend of yours?" she asked.
"Hardly," Axis snapped, folding his arms tightly across his chest.
Rhys smiled to her. "They were just leaving." He looked up to Axis. "Weren't you, Alice?"
"Fuck if I was!" Axis snapped.
Lucille sighed in a bored fashion before turning to Rhys. "Let's go, Rhys." She held out her left hand for him to take. "I'm dreadfully tired and my feet hurt." That's when Axis noticed something else about this woman. Something that made him stop, dead insult. As he spotted her finger, his eyes widened and his lips parted.
Sitting on her left ring finger was a shiny, new engagement ring.
Rhys took her hand without hesitation, excusing the both of them. Turning, he lead the woman away from Rory and Axis, and back into the crowd. As they left, Axis could hear her say something about how unkept the other two were. Rhys didn't seem to correct her. Axis couldn't seem to either. He just stood where he was, his eyes fixated on the spot. He didn't notice Rory try to call his name, or wave his hand in front of him.
That bastard... is getting married?! was the first thought that went through Axis's mind. Finally, he was able to snap out of his daze, as Rory's voice hit his ears. He turned to look down at the other, who had his hands up slightly.
"Are you ok?" he asked, his face worried. "You zoned out there for a second..."
But Axis didn't answer. Instead, he turned sharply and stormed away, leaving Rory quite confused. "Ah! Axis! Hey, wait up! We still have stuff to get!" But Axis didn't wait. He didn't pause, or turn, or even shout at him to hurry up. Instead, he kept his legs moving, the only other thought on his mind to get back to the Teahouse, and get back quick. When he shoved his way through the door, Atros was a little surprised, and soon irritated that they didn't finish the shopping. But Axis ignored him. Instead, he went straight up to his room. He'd probably have one of Mercutio's dildos shoved up his ass by the end of the week for being rude to his boss, but he didn't care. Once inside of his room, he shut the door tightly and locked it before flopping onto his wide, frequently used bed. He pushed his face into the pillow, his hands on his head.
"That fucker!" he yelled into the fabric. "What the hell is he doing, running to places like this when he's engaged?! That fag probably doesn't even care! That damn ass muncher!" He swore a few more times very colorfully before stopping to breathe. He laid there for quite some time, allowing his body to cool off. Once his temper was finally under control, Axis sat up, a pillow in his lap. He stared out his window, noticing a pair of swallows flying gracefully through the air. His face was contemplative, his eyes far reaching.
He probably won't come here again after he's married, he thought to himself. His hand rubbed against the pillow. That thought swirled around his head. Despite the more plausible idea that Rhys would come back anyway, Axis couldn't seem to think that at the moment. Laying down on his back, Axis now stared at the ceiling. "Good riddance," he murmured. "I hope he never comes back." Though, for some reason, he didn't think he quite believed it.
For the next few days, Axis focused heavily on his work. And when he wasn't courting, he was moping in his room, though he insisted quite vehemently that he was merely thinking. Atros was a bit peeved that he rushed back home so quickly, but thankfully, Claret was able to cover for him the next day, so he got away without punishment. One afternoon, Axis had no appointments to look forward to, so instead he took to roaming the hallways. He could tell just who had a client in their room without even looking at the doors. Claret was still lacking business, and Lilith was as busy as ever. Judging from the screams from Mercutio's room, it seemed he had a client as well. Linneus was entertaining a regular, and Rory was still the reigning king of virgins.
Sighing to himself, Axis kicked up a little dust mite before heading to the main staircase. He was nearly off the last step when he heard the front door open. Looking up, he saw none other than Rhys step onto the hearth. Axis's heart shot up into his throat. A burning thrill of impudence ran through him and he grit his teeth. "What the hell are you doing here?" he seethed.
Rhys didn't seem the least bit put off. "I have a free night, remember? I have you to thank for that, Kitten."
Arms crossed yet again, Axis jerked his head to the side, snubbing the client before him. "You've got a lot of fucking nerve to come back here."
"I beg your pardon?"
Axis flashed his glare back at Rhys. "Why the hell are you coming back here? You've got a perfectly fuckable chick back home, so why waist your money here?"
Rhys stared at him, clearly confused. "Refresh my memory. Who are we talking about?"
That got Axis quite irked. Fuming, he held out a hand, pointing to it. "That bitch with the rock the size of Pluto on her finger, that's who!"
A look of surprise came over Rhys's face. "You mean Lucille...?"
"Lucille, Lu-lu, whatever the fuck her name is!" He pointed to Rhys accusingly. "You've already got someone! We cater to the horny, the rich, and the lonely! You're only two of those fucking three, so why don't you just take your business elsewhere!?"
Axis panted after that, still keeping his finger pointed at Rhys, who hadn't lost his face of surprise. After a moment, a smile curled along his lips. Rhys held up a hand to his mouth, snickering. Axis felt his face go beet red. "W-what?!" he demanded. "Did I say something funny!? HUH!?"
Rhys broke down into laughter then, putting one hand to his face, and the other on his stomach. He even curled down a little while doing so. Axis, as frustrated as he was by this point, could do nothing but stand there and gawk at the hysterical man. Finally, Rhys had calmed enough to wipe a tear from his eye. "Oh dear..." He laughed a bit more. "I've never been so flattered." His eyes narrowed playfully. "Are you jealous, kitten?"
Now, not only was Axis's face red, but his entire neck and ears had been covered by a ruddy blush color. He still grit his teeth, trying to look intimidating. "Of course not!" he defied. "What kind of shit have you got going in your head?! You y-you douche bag faggot!"
Rhys stood up straight, hands behind his back as he smirked. "Oh really. Then why are you so upset, my kitten?"
"I'm not a damn cat!"
"Answer the question."
Axis hissed and growled, trying not to explode again, lest Atros hear them. So, he took a breath and turned his head to the side. "It's pathetic to see someone cheat on the wife they don't even have yet," he said savagely. He turned to hopefully see Rhys turn away in shame, or show some sort of remorse, but instead, all he saw was that damned smile. It made Axis even angrier.
"My dear little kitty," Rhys purred, "that girl you saw me with is my sister."
There was a very long pause between the two men. Axis was unable to say a word, and simply stood there, a strange, blank expression on his face. That Lucille girl was his... sibling? His sister? A blood relative whom he had no romantic interest in? At this information, Axis could only utter: "...eh?"
"Lucille has come home for her wedding this summer. Father wanted her to have one here where she grew up. And rest assured, my father would want no sort of incestuous relationship between either of us." Rhys kept his coy smile as Axis's brain slowly processed what he was being told. "Does that clear up the air?" No matter how much he wanted to deny it, Axis felt a surge of relief pulsate through him. It was that relief that caused Axis to be even more angry then before. So, taking a breath, he pointed a trembling finger to Rhys, his eyes practically glaring with a furious red glow.
"YOU COCKMUNCHINGMOTHERFUCKINGASSRAPINGDIPSHITSONOFABITCHBASTARD!" he screamed in one breath. "HOW THE FUCK WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW SHE WAS YOUR SISTER!? YOU DON'T LOOK ANYTHING ALIKE!"
"Our mothers were different. Lucille was born by my stepmother."
"YOU FUCKING TRICKED ME!"
"Did I tell you before that she was my fiance? That was all your assumption I'm afraid."
"What is going on here?"
Do Axis's utter dismay, the courtesan turned to find Atros standing atop the stairs, looking quite upset at Axis's behavior. He turned his eyes to Rhys. "I'm sorry this keeps happening. Is this one bothering you?"
Rhys held up his hand. "Not at all. I was actually planning to make use of this one for my free night. You remember, don't you?"
"Of course. Well Axis is currently available. Feel free to take as much time as you want."
Axis's stomach fell out of his body. "W-wait a minute !" But before he could protest, Rhys took his arm and began to lead him up towards his room. Axis tried to struggle, his eyes wide as Rhys tugged him to his room. "H-hold on! Don't you want Claret again?! She's free!"
"Can't say I do."
"I just got done with a client! I won't be able to work as hard!"
"You won't have to do much. You didn't last time, remember."
"Oh suck my dick!"
"I plan to."
With that, Rhys pushed him into his room, shutting and locking the door behind him.