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Lillies Upon our Graves

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Fai grunted when he felt the sharp tip of a boot connect with his bare side. It had been three days since he had begun his "training" with Naba. The Company apparently thought she was qualified to train slaves, but to Fai, it appeared as though the bitch got the job because she loved torturing others.

He knelt on the floor, glowering up at the woman as she circled around him.

"You are nothing." She repeated the same words for the past three days. "Nothing but a worthless piece of property. You do not even have the right to a name."

"I have a name," he hissed. "And I'm not your property."

She paused, stopping right behind him. Her nails traced the ridges of his spine, making him flinch when she scratched some skin off. The wound wasn't deep enough to draw blood, yet it still stung. But only momentarily, as his vampire healing kicked in and the skin mended itself.

"You're pretty stubborn," she said as she walked around to face him. "But don't worry. We'll get you straightened out soon enough. Now tell me, do you really believe you amount to anything?"

Fai said nothing, glaring at the woman. The last time he had answered that question had not been a pleasant experience for him. The woman smirked, fingering the remote in her palm for a moment, and Fai had to resist the urge to flinch. As angry as he was and as much as he didn't want to give these people the satisfaction of hearing him scream, it hurt when she pressed that button. Xing Huo still stood silently in one corner of the training room, her gaze lowered to the floor, hands folded in front of her in a submissive gesture. He wondered why Naba brought her along in every session. All she ever made the slave-girl do was take Fai back to his cage and feed him her blood. She had no reason to stay in the room with them, hearing him scream as Naba tried to train him.

But Naba didn't appear to care for her slave. She simply ignored the woman for most part, which seemed to suit Xing Huo just fine. Fai had to admit her being there made him feel a little less alone. Having discovered that Syaoran had died in that ill-fated raid was not easy on his conscience. Even if he realized that he wasn't directly responsible for the boy's death, he knew he'd still played a part in it. True, he had been forced into doing it, but he had been the one to turn Syaoran into a vampire. Xing Huo had not been able to tell him about the circumstances surrounding Syaoran's death, or even how he had died for that matter. All she had been able to find out for him was that he had been killed somehow during the raid.

But even then, Fai felt guilty. Syaoran's mind probably wouldn't have been able to cope with all the changes being forced onto it in such a short amount of time. There was the price taking its toll, the vampirism and the lack of control that came with it, and finally the implants and subsequent mind-control. No wonder Syaoran had gone insane.

"Tell me, 224. What exactly do you think you can prove by defying me like this?" Naba asked in a tone as sweet as poisoned honey. "Do you want to show me that you can think for yourself? Is that it?"

"My name is Fai."

Naba's smirk widened. Electricity shot through his body as she activated the collar. Fai screamed as he fell to the ground, writhing as white hot agony ripped through his body. Fai nearly blacked out before she let go of the trigger, leaving him panting on the floor as he tried to get his trembling under control.

"Get up!" Naba barked.

As much as Fai wanted to remain lying on the cool marble tiles, he struggled to obey. Naba would only shock him again if she felt like he was taking too long. Fai got back into the kneeling position, clenching his fists by his sides as he tried not to topple over.

"Look at you." She jeered. "Acting all tough, pretending to have a sense of self and thinking that you actually matter. But as soon as I turn on that collar, you trip over your feet in your haste to please me. It's pitiful."

Fai remained quiet, knowing better than give her another excuse. His training had barely even begun, and he still had hours of torture to look forward to. Naba had given up on trying to force him into lowering his gaze when he refused to obey her that first day. She had nearly clawed his eyes out just to teach him a lesson he refused to learn. In the end, she'd settled for shocking him until he passed out. The next day hadn't been any different, although she didn't seem too bothered by his glares today. Fai consoled himself with the knowledge that he had not been the first one to give in. He would have loved telling her exactly what he thought of her and her training, but he wasn't too keen on getting electrocuted.

There were times when Fai wondered if maybe getting killed had been might have been a blessing for Syaoran. Death was certainly better than being forced to live like this. Not that Fai was contemplating suicide. He knew he could probably outlast this torture but between the two alternatives, he was almost glad Syaoran was no longer alive to suffer this humiliation with him.

Fai wasn't sure if there was any hope of rescue left for him. As resourceful and fearsome as Kurogane was, even he could not hope to go against the kind of army The Company had employed to protect its assets. And besides, how would the ninja even find him?

In order for Mokona to transport them from one world to the next, it needed to connect with its passengers on a magical level, or it would risk leaving them behind. Fai doubted Mokona would be able to establish its magical connection with him. With all the suppressants The Company pumped into the air inside the building, even Fai could barely feel his magic anymore.

"What is your name?" Naba asked as her nails scratched the fuzz of blond hair along his jaw. Using one pointed fingernail, she forced his chin upwards, meeting his gaze with a quirk of her brow.

Fai said nothing, staring mutinously at her, and she let go with an almost disappointed look. Watching her walk towards his back once again, he wondered if Kurogane would have reached Clow by then. With Syaoran dead, Mokona's earring would have stopped glowing. After all, it only glowed whenever Syaoran's stay in any world came to an end. So if the reason why they had to jump through worlds so often was removed from the equation altogether… why would it continue to glow?

Mokona had probably been with Kurogane when they'd arrived, so they both must know of Syaoran's death by now. And with Mokona being unable to connect with Fai, he was sure they'd have assumed the same for Fai. With nothing holding Kurogane there, the ninja would have headed to Clow to tell Sakura about what had happened. And once he had fulfilled his purpose there, Kurogane would go home.

"Are you really going to give me the silent treatment?" Naba laughed, completing the circle around Fai before coming to stand in front of him again. She toyed with the remote in her hand and Fai grit his teeth in anticipation of the pain. "Well, if you're changing tactics, I suppose I should do the same."

Fai blinked. What she does she mean by that?

All of sudden, Xing Huo collapsed on the floor, shrieking in pain. His eyes widened in shock before he jolted into action. Forgetting all about the proper protocol Naba had supposedly beaten into him two days ago, he clambered to his feet and raced to Xing Huo's side.

A visible spark of electricity jumped from Xing Huo toward him when he tried to touch her. He jerked back his hand, glowering at Naba. The woman merely smirked, waiting a little bit more before releasing the trigger.

"M-Mistress Naba…" Xing Huo sobbed, pushing herself into a kneeling position without any prompting. Fai reached out to support her trembling body, freezing only when Naba spoke up.

"Not so fast, 224."

"What do you think you're doing?" he hissed.

"Changing tactics," Naba replied in a manner that indicated Fai should have known the answer already. "You seem rather fond of 109."

Dread crept up in his heart as he suddenly understood. Naba had gotten Xing Huo to give him her blood every day, just so Fai would begin to care about the girl. With Syaoran out of the picture, she'd had nothing to use against him. So the bitch had created a weakness for Fai that she could exploit instead.

"No…" he gasped. Next to him, Xing Huo whimpered.

"Since you don't really seem to care about the pain I inflict on you, I have decided to try something different. Every time you try to resist or defy me, 109 over there will be punished instead."

"Mistress, p-please…" Xing Huo sobbed.

Naba smirked at Fai, ignoring Xing Huo. Her smirk widened as she held Fai's gaze, pressing down on the trigger. The collar activated and Xing Huo screamed.

"Speaking without permission?" Naba drawled once she had let go. Xing Huo's cries subsided. "You should know better than to let the actions of an untrained savage influence you, 109."

"You can't do this to her." Fai growled low in his throat, feeling anger bubble up in the pit of his stomach. He regretted his words when he heard Xing Huo cry out.

"It, 224, not her," Naba corrected him. "Now, let's try again, shall we? Take up your proper position."

Not wanting her to suffer on his behalf, Fai grudgingly left the crying slave's side to return to the middle of the room. Still glaring at Naba, he got down on his knees.

"Where do you look when in the presence of your betters?"

He had to take a deep breath to keep himself from screaming in anger. He had been one of the strongest magicians in all of Celes and one of the best warriors in Shura. And yet, here he was, helpless. He hadn't been able to keep Syaoran safe, even though he had promised Sakura he'd look after the boy. And now, unless he did as Naba asked… Biting the inside of his cheek, Fai lowered his head, taking comfort in the fact that he had at least managed to protect Xing Huo from suffering on his behalf.

His head snapped up in shock when only a moment later, Xing Huo's shriek rang out in the room again.

"I looked down!"

"But you failed to answer my question," Naba replied. "I'd tread very carefully, 224. Lower you gaze."

Gritting his teeth, Fai did as ordered, wishing he could tear that smirk off her face. He had to settle for clenching his fists instead. He was at her mercy. Which was exactly what Naba wanted to teach him that day.

"Now, what is your name?"

Fai bit his tongue when the answer automatically jumped to his lips. He wasn't the only one getting punished for his defiance any more. He couldn't let an innocent woman suffer because he couldn't say something he didn't believe. He was a brilliant liar, so he could just lie through it all. Since when had he started taking pride in who he was? Wasn't he supposed to be an opportunist? Had he changed so much during his travels that he could not even revert to his old personality anymore?

Xing Huo's scream made the decision for him.

"224!"

Xing Huo continued to scream for a few seconds after he had yelled it out. Rubbing at the top of his head like a favored pet, Naba released Xing Huo.

"See? That wasn't so hard, was it?" she asked, playing with a few strands of his hair.

When Fai refused to reply, Naba dropped her hand so that it was level with his eyes. Her fingers started pressing down on the trigger slowly.

"No," he said through gritted teeth, praying it would satisfy her sick desires. His heart sank when she pressed the trigger, making Xing Huo shriek. "No, Mistress," he hastily corrected himself, his nails digging into the heels of his palms. If only he could use his magic right then. Or even the ability to unleash his claws.

"You're a quick learner, 224." She simpered, and it took all of his self-control to not hit her. "I like quick learners. What are you?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing what?" Naba prompted, clearly enjoying herself.

The remote was right there in her hand. All he had to do was reach out and snatch it from her.

"I am nothing, Mistress Naba," he spat instead.

He couldn't do it. His own life wasn't the only thing on the line anymore. If he failed, he didn't even want to imagine what Naba would do to the poor slave girl. He clenched his fists hard enough that he felt the skin break under a few nails.

"Very good, my pet," she said, stroking his hair. "Who do you belong to? What is the purpose of your existence?"

"I—" He hesitated.

Wouldn't admitting it out loud be somewhat akin to cementing the truth? He could deny it to his dying breath but saying it out loud would be like confessing that those words held some truth.

"Do you need some encouragement, 224?" Naba asked sweetly.

"No, Mistress."

"Then be a good little slave and answer the questions."

"I… belong to The Company, to do with…. as they please." It was difficult to get the words past his lips, despite having heard them over and over again in the past few days.

"Hmm… No. I didn't like how you said it." Naba clicked her tongue, and he heard Xing Huo whimper. "I think you do need some encouragement, after all."

Xing Huo's screams reverberated all around him. Fai clenched his fists, feeling the blood seep from his injured palms when his nails dug deeper into his skin. It didn't matter what he did. Naba would continue to torture them, if only to drive it deeper just how helpless Fai was to do anything about it. She had the trigger. She had the power. And Fai? Kneeling on the floor in nothing but a pair of boxers and a collar around his throat… he was nothing.

Naba wanted to brainwash him into believing that garbage, just as she had with Xing Huo and perhaps countless others. But Fai knew better.

Xing Huo groaned weakly, barely conscious by the time Naba let go of the trigger.

"Now repeat it again," Naba ordered.

Years of traveling with Kurogane and Syaoran had taught him that he wasn't a worthless waste of space. He was a person. A human being. But he couldn't say that to Naba's face. He had to make this whole situation work out in his favor. These people were responsible for Syaoran's death. With Kurogane and Mokona no longer in that world, Fai was the only left that could do anything about it. He had to stay strong and bear it out. Giving in now would mean letting his friends down.

And he knew he couldn't do that. Syaoran hadn't deserved to die the way he had. The least Fai could do was find a way out and avenge him. And in order to do that, he'd have to remember who he was. He'd have to play along to keep Naba appeased, but he couldn't afford to break.

"I am nothing." Nothing that you want me to believe.

"My soul, my mind, my body…" are all mine. They belong only to me!"…belong to The Company, to do with it as they please."

"Very good, 224," Naba cooed as she ruffled his hair. "You are a quick learner."

"You and I both know I don't believe any of that." The words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself. His gaze shot towards the fallen slave for a fraction of a second. Would she be punished again?

"Oh, I'm not too worried about that." Naba chuckled. "Getting you to admit it out loud was the difficult part. Acceptance of that as the ultimate truth will come with time. Now repeat it again, 224."

Fai drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment. What she had said was true. Tell someone something long enough and they'd start to believe it. He knew it to be true from personal experience. But…This time it would be different. He would never believe something that he knew wasn't true. Focusing all his energy on the anger and the hatred bubbling inside of him, he worked on shielding his mind from everything that would happen in the "training" room from that point onward. As long as he remembered who he was, it wouldn't matter what they made him say.

"I am nothing. My soul, my mind, my body belong to The Company, to do with it as they please."

I am Fai D. Fluorite, and I am better than you.

"And again." Naba smiled.

"I am nothing. My soul, my mind, my body belong to The Company, to do with it as they please."

I am the High Mage of the Royal Court of Celes, and I will never belong to you.

"Very good, 224." Naba's fingers trailed across his back as she circled around him. Her hair tickled against his bare skin as she leaned next to his ear, resting her sharp nails against his collarbone. "Say it again."

"I am nothing. My soul, my mind, my body belong to The Company, to do with it as they please."

I am a warrior, and I am free.

"One more time, 224," she ordered, pressing her lips to the back of his neck.

"I am nothing. My soul, my mind, my body belong to The Company, to do with it as they please."

I will get out, and I will destroy you.