Chapter 1: married so they can't testify against each other
Nasch looks like he's about to spit out his soda, and Vector thinks that might've been worth it.
Vector laughs when no answer comes. "What? You're single anyway, and it's not like Yuuma would ever want y-" He dodges a punch.
"Fuck you, Vector," Nasch hisses, and there's the sound of shattering glass- he's knocked his soda over. "Bastard." He sits back down.
Vector tilts his head and does that fake-cute face Nasch hates so much. "So?"
"You were serious?" Nasch raises an eyebrow.
"Of course I was," Vector says theatrically. "When have I ever lied?"
"At least once a day, asshole. So, why?"
Vector rolls his eyes. "If we get caught, you'd be the first to rat me out."
"Unlike you, I have a soul." Nasch crosses his arms. "Also, I could testify against you if I really wanted to. I wouldn't, though. On the other hand, you probably would."
Vector does his best pout. "Mean. I even got you out of prison."
"Yeah, because you needed my keys."
"Again with the unnecessary details." Vector puts his green peppers on Nasch's plate.
Good, Vector thinks. "You're not gonna clean that up?" He vaguely waves at the mess of shards on the floor.
There's a pause.
"You can do it, as a wedding gift." Nasch smirks and gets up.
Chapter 2: graverobbing your own grave
"Nasch, dig faster." Vector yawns, half-leaning on his shovel.
"Dig yourself, bastard, we're looking for your stuff, not mine." Nasch wipes the sweat off of his forehead.
He wonders why five hundred years ago, he thought it was a good idea to actually bury Vector's belongings, considering the guy doesn't actually deserve any sympathy, especially not after the whole 'slaughtering thousands of people' thing.
But here Nasch is, digging up Vector's stupid jewelry, because he lost a bet and he still remembers the location.
The upsides and downsides of reincarnation.
He hits something solid. "I think I found your gauntlet."
Vector shrugs. "Whatever. I just want the earrings and all that."
"You're obnoxious." Nasch throws the gauntlet in Vector's general direction, but he misses.
"Is it graverobbing if it's your own grave?"
"Is it murder if I accidentally stab you right now?"
Chapter 3: drunk cuddling
Nasch is stupid. Stupid in the sense that he somehow thought it was appropriate to drunkenly fall asleep on the guy who tried to kill him thrice, and also stupid in the sense that he tried to win a drinking contest against people who visit bars regularly.
Vector can't talk; he tried, too.
And here Vector is, buried under this marginally taller manchild, with the alcohol making everything seem a bit less terrible, and isn't Nasch's hair color almost the same as Vector's eyes? How obnoxious.
(And god, Nasch is awful, but at least he shuts up when he's asleep.)
Vector shoves Nasch off of him and takes out a marker, spells 'IDIOT' on Nasch's forehead, ties Nasch's shoelaces together and lies down again, using Nasch as a pillow.
Chapter 4: bad weather
you might recognize what this is related to
This is the second summer of unending heat and being left alone by literally everyone, because apparently two guys who constantly threaten to kill each other (and have attempted to follow through on it) are totally safe to stay in the relatively small space of a mansion that would usually be inhabited by seven people.
It does become small space because Vector hears Nasch's steps through the bad soundproofing and thin walls, and the guy walks like he's royalty-- well, he used to be-- and god he paces when he broods, and when he doesn't pace he plays his dumb shark-themed guitar, and Vector can't tell what's worse.
Last summer, they'd gone on dates (?) to pass the time, but this summer everything's closed because Kaito's dad blew something up by accident and Vector's sick, sick, sick of the heat that kind of feels like home but also not at all, because the air is stagnant and doesn't smell like the ocean and the trees are not the same and the only thing this place has in common with home is Nasch's stupid presence, except on much smaller space.
Small. The world's become small. Too small for Vector.
Vector sighs. "Oi, Nasch."
"What." Nasch lazily uses his paper fan, not bothering to look at Vector.
"Can't we go on vacation where the others are, too?"
"Spain is even hotter than this."
"Damn. How about other places in Europe?" Vector attempts to steal Nasch's fan, but Nasch swipes at him with it. "Rude."
Nasch raises an eyebrow. "Why would I pay for your vacation? Besides, I bet the rest of Europe's hot, too."
"Because." Vector smirks. "Nobody else would accompany you to an aquarium."
"I hate your guts."
Chapter 5: that story i'm not writing
yes the prompt was literally that
Nasch is unimpressed by this bet. He's unimpressed by the stupid maid outfit, the obnoxious twintails, the fact that Vector pulled his hair--
Okay, he's not just unimpressed. He's infuriated.
"Vector. Stop that."
"Oh, Nasch, but isn't the customer king?" Vector idly plays with Nasch's hair.
Of course, Vector gets nothing out of this. Nasch is pretty sure that Vector would like him better in black leather, really. (Because Vector generally prefers if people agree with his own fashion choices.)
So this is just to piss Nasch off.
"Not if he's dead," Nasch hisses.
"Aw, you're no fun." Vector hands Nasch his empty glass. "Refill?"
Nasch pointedly digs his heel into Vector's foot- after all, high heels need to be good for something- "Sure, asshole."
Chapter 6: "let's agree to disagree"
post-canon when they go save astral world
"Think you can handle these on your own?" Nasch gestures at the beings of chaos that creep closer ever so slowly.
Vector and him had volunteered to watch Yuuma's back, because Yuuma is Yuuma and if they leave Yuuma unguarded, he'll run into trouble.
"If you don't mind casualties?" Vector cackles.
Nasch sighs. "As long as there's no friendly fire."
"Eh? Why not? This'd be a great time to kill you." Vector smirks.
"I disagree." Nasch crosses his arms.
There's that look in Vector's eyes, the look he always has right before clashing with Nasch, and--
"Well, then, let's agree to disagree." Vector rushes towards Nasch.
Chapter 7: noncon bathing
"But it's a good smell." Vector pouts.
"Blood is the worst, don't even try to argue with me about this." Nasch rolls his eyes and points at the bath tub.
"It's not even my blood." Vector idly plays with his knife and pockets it again. "Come on, don't be a killjoy."
"It is, however, my apartment, and you smell awful. Learn to use poison." Nasch picks up Vector and dumps him, fully clothed, in the tub.
Vector scowls. "You know I hate water."
"Oh, cry me a river." Nasch reaches for the shampoo bottle, but Vector tugs at his hair and arm and pulls him into the tub.
"Now we're even." Vector grins. "You should be glad it's not your blood."
Nasch contemplates punching Vector, but Vector has a knife and mobility in soaked clothes is very low, so instead he starts undressing in the water. "You're a piece of shit."
"You didn't have to strip for me, you know."
"I'll kill you."
"I'd love to see you try." Vector laughs and gets rid of his clothes too, but keeps the knife.
"You're such a freak." Nasch's face twists in disgust.
"You tried to bathe me. Are you really in the position to talk?"
Chapter 8: rooftop meetings
"So? Enjoying this charade?"
Ryouga doesn't need to turn around to know it's Vector. He rests his hands on the rooftop railing. "What do you want, Vector?"
What Vector wants is obvious: Not being human. But they're human now, just like they used to be in their very first life, and Ryouga isn't so unhappy about that.
(After all, he has friends.)
Ryouga can hear Vector's overtheatrical yawn. "I wonder. Would you die for good if I pushed you off this rooftop, Nasch? Or would you come back, again?"
Instinctively, Ryouga dodges Vector's half-hearted attempt at a swipe, scowling. "Quit it. If you're bored, duel me."
"I am bored. Not like we learn anything good here."
Which is half-true. They both had mandatory education in their past lives already, but period-appropriateness is a thing. Not that he likes it, considering their history books straight up lie about his and Vector's period and most other subjects are boring.
"Oh no, did the mad prince dislike math as a child?" Ryouga laughs, mocking Vector.
Vector scowls. "And you didn't? You didn't even bother calculating for enough troops."
You don't need calculations if you have the gods on your side, bucko, is what Ryouga would like to say, but instead, "Are you done yet? I want my peace up here." He sits down on the ground.
Vector takes his tie off, eyeing the thing with contempt. "I hate school and school uniforms and I hate you."
Ryouga rolls his eyes and shrugs. "Yeah, shut up and duel me. And don't even dare to think about pushing me off the roof again."
"We'll see," says Vector. "By the way, does that mean you're skipping class, too?"
Chapter 9: just the tip
surprisingly not porn sorry. warning for uh. nasch getting stabbed? wounds? idk
Hollow laughter resounds, and before Nasch can turn, he feels a sharp pain in his back.
He waits, expecting his attacker to drive the sword through and end his miserable existence, but-
"Vector," Nasch hisses, gritting his teeth again. "What-"
Vector continues to laugh behind him, and Nasch can already imagine that annoying, smug face. "What? Did you expect me to let you die that easily? It's much more fun-" He moves the sword around a bit, widening the wound in Nasch's back. "-to watch you squirm, no?"
Nasch bites back a scream, and instead, "Vector." He doesn't dare to move, but the contempt in his voice is as apparent as ever.
Vector keeps laughing. "I wish I could see your face right now. Twisted with hatred."
Vector idly turns the sword a bit more, until Nasch makes a sound of agony. "That's the voice I wanted to hear. Well then, it's time for you to join your sister... later."
Chapter 10: jewelry
back to postcanon
Lately, friday nights have been the same. Everyone's out, except for Ryouga and Vector, who watch TV and don't talk. Ryouga keeps looking at his Barian pendant, Vector seems mentally absent entirely. It's eerie, Rio once told them, that they don't try to kill each other.
"Oi, Nasch. Wouldn't it be funny if I used your pendant to choke the life out of you?" Vector is sprawled over the couch, not even paying attention to the TV.
Ryouga understands. Well, he doesn't understand why Vector always-- always-- has to be a giant piece of shit, but he understands feeling on edge because they're in a world they don't rightfully belong to; given a second chance when neither of them deserve one.
He understands, but Vector doesn't become less insufferable.
"Shut it, I'm trying to watch TV," Ryouga says, idly fiddling with the Barian pendant now. That, of course, is a lie. He's been brooding.
"TV? Bullshit." Vector abruptly gets up, gripping Ryouga's pendant and pulling harshly, putting pressure on Ryouga's neck. "You haven't paid attention to anything in half a year. Don't give me this shit, nobody believes you anyway. You're infuriating."
Ryouga rolls his eyes, trying to seem indifferent. "You? Worried?"
"No, just pissed because Yuuma won't shut the fuck up about how you aren't okay." Vector pulls hard, and this time the necklace gives in, breaking neatly. "I'm confiscating this. Be less pathetic and maybe you'll get it back."
Chapter 11: sleeping in
Nasch wakes up to an uncomfortable amount of pressure on his torso.
Oh god, not that voice.
Nasch squeezes his eyes further shut, still vainly hoping that it's a bad dream. Vector is in his dreams pretty often, so this is not entirely unlikely.
"Nasch, I'll tear up your deck if you don't answer."
Okay, that's an emergency. Nasch abruptly gets into a sitting position and opens his eyes, headbutting Vector in the process. Vector, who's been straddling Nasch before, theatrically lets himself fall backwards.
(But Nasch can tell from the way Vector bites his lip that it hurt. Good.)
"What the fuck do you want," says Nasch, letting himself sink into his pillow again. He rubs his forehead. No blood. That's something.
"Breakfast." Vector grins.
This lazy piece of shit has been freeloading on Nasch for the entire vacation, because apparently Durbe and Merag still think it's wise to leave Nasch alone with his worst enemy.
Then again, Vector does nothing but being annoying in Summer. It's an improvement from being actually murderous.
"Not now. It's-" Nasch glances at the clock. "Fuck off, it's 8:30. Wait until 10 AM or make it yourself."
He half-heartedly kicks in Vector's general direction; an easily dodged attempt.
Vector shrugs. "Fine." He lies down next to Nasch. "Let's see if this'll make you change your mind."
"No." Nasch rolls over to the right, pushing Vector off the bed.
You deserve it, asshole.
Chapter 12: doing better
"Is this all you got?" Vector's voice is taunting, but when is it not, really?
Nasch returns to his fighting position, still annoyed at almost having dropped his sword.
Training with Vector is nostalgic, in a way.
(He remembers the times Vector's mother would bring Vector over to Poseidon. Something about the princes needing to be friends for diplomatic reasons. At that time, Vector was a much better person, and also a lot worse at fighting. Nasch is sure that back then, he told Vector the same words he had to hear just now.
500 years later, Nasch is rusty at fighting and Vector is a taunting asshole.
"Watch your footwork." Nasch swiftly forces Vector into a corner, leaving Vector no time to breathe.
"Now that's what I'm talking about." Vector laughs. "You've been slacking, lately. I was worried you couldn't even fight anymore." He drops his sword.
(Nasch hates himself for actually not using the opportunity to hurt him.)
"Slacking?" Nasch raises an eyebrow.
"You've been lifeless. And you're supposed to be the guy who almost killed me? Ridiculous." Vector yawns.
And yeah, perhaps Nasch has been lifeless. Empty, like a shell for the people he used to be. Perhaps it is fitting that he can still be someone, as long as he's his worst self.
Perhaps it would be the most spiteful option to try and show Vector he's not lifeless.
After all, it is kind of pathetic to have his worst enemy worry about him.
"For someone who's lifeless, I sure do a good job kicking your ass." Nasch smirks.
"Oh?" Vector picks up his sword. "Bring it, then."
Chapter 13: soulmarks
Canonverse, past lives.
The words feel wrong now.
"With the best intentions."
Nasch remembers the day the words first flared up on his arm, burning hot and not comprehensible. He'd asked Merag to translate- it's the script of Vector's country, and Vector's messy handwriting, and Vector's motto.
The day the words flared up was the day they met.
(Nasch always had a thing for cute guys who smile as brightly as the sun, but he didn't know it was his type this much until Vector stood in front of him.)
But they are captives of their fate, destined to be tangled up in the mess that is their nations' conflict, so Nasch had almost forgotten the words.
(Nasch was told from a young age that his soulmate's identity wouldn't matter. He'd hoped it'd be different.
He was wrong.)
Now, the words have changed. They burn, again, but inside Nasch is freezing.
"With the worst intentions."
(Nasch was told that Vector struck down his own father. That's a lie, Nasch reassured his advisors, not too long ago; Vector would never.
His arm is proof that Vector would.)
Chapter 14: post-canon fic
"There's no such thing as redemption for someone like you," Nasch says, coldly and oddly disconnected.
Vector can't hear the hidden words, but he knows Nasch thinks them: there is no redemption for someone like Nasch, either.
But Yuuma won't let them fall. So they have to keep living, with the weight of their sins and no redemption in sight.
Not that Vector ever wanted any. (But he's sure Nasch secretly wants it.)
"Who the hell needs redemption anyway." Vector lies down on Nasch's couch, observing his reaction.
Nasch clenches his fist. Vector smirks and keeps talking, "So, what did you want? I bet you didn't talk to me just to say that."
There's a pause, because Nasch's anger management is shit and his ability to be not irritating is even worse.
"Come live with us."
"You heard me." Nasch doesn't look at Vector, instead he eyes the Barian emblem around his neck.
"You." Vector clenches his teeth. "Why the hell would I do that?"
"Yuuma will be sad."
"So nothing. It's your choice. I just figured I'd let you know." Nasch crosses his arms.
This has to be a trap, Vector knows, but he can't quite figure out its nature. "Let me know what?"
"That you're still one of us." Nasch walks past Vector, pointedly stepping on his foot on purpose. "Even if you're absolutely despicable."
Chapter 15: looking at someone's back
The first time Vector sees the scar on Nasch's back is little more than an accident.
It happens when Vector walks into the bathroom to swap Nasch's shampoo bottle with hair dye, just to walk into a near-naked Nasch who'd already finished showering.
With that embarrassing shark-pattered towel wrapped around his hips.
(Vector remembers the past, and the scars Nasch does not have anymore, and the scars he should have. Only one of them was caused by Vector, to Vector's dismay.)
"Who gave you that scar?"
Nasch doesn't turn around, still busy drying off his toes, but he does stop in his movements. "No one."
"An accident." Nasch finishes, turning around to face Vector.
(He looks hilarious with wet hair.)
"Huh," Vector cracks a knuckle. "Pity you don't have the one I gave you anymore."
"You also don't have the one you gave yourself, anymore, either."
Vector clenches his teeth.
Remembering losing to Nasch again, with the only success having been a cut deep enough to scar in the future, had to be one of the most infuriating memories.
Yet the memory of the ghosts of his past and his own sword dragging him down to hell is infinitely worse.
Nasch eyes him calmly, and there is the slightest smirk on his face. "Still mad?"
"Fuck you." Vector is, indeed, still mad, but that's not the point.
"What about your scars, anyway?" Nasch raises an eyebrow. "I mean the two on your back."
Vector would like to know that, too. After his resurrection, he suddenly had scars exactly where his wings used to be. "Maybe it's a reminder."
Nasch scowls. "Not like anyone could ever forget you, anyway."
"Aren't you nice today?"
For a fraction of a second, Nasch's lips form the hint of a smile. "I hate you."
Chapter 16: enemies
Their first meeting doesn't quite feel like one.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
Vector feels like he's heard those words before, and he blinks. "Wouldn't know, Nasch, but are you really one to talk?"
"How do you know my name?" Nasch narrows his eyes.
Damn good question.
Nasch is many things, but first and foremost he is infuriating to Vector.
The absolute confidence in his shit decisions, the way he'll crack when he's alone. The way he can't admit that Vector manages to get under his skin.
(And also: the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he eyes the acidic ocean as if it represents freedom instead of imprisonment.)
If there's a thing such as hatred at first sight, this has to be it.
Vector kicks Nasch's throne.
The edge of Barian World has crystal caves. Nobody dares to go there, and Nasch strictly forbade it anyway.
Normally, Vector wouldn't obey, but the unsettling feeling that he gets whenever he gets close made him turn back every time.
"What is it, Nasch?"
"Come with me. We're going to the caves."
Morbid curiosity makes Vector agree.
When they arrive, Vector hears his name, called by countless voices. Resentful voices.
"Can you explain this?" Nasch looks unsettled himself.
"I can't." Vector's words are little more than a whisper.
The voices keep calling, and it feels like something's tugging at Vector's limbs and his wings and wrapping around his throat, gripping tighter with every step.
Nasch sighs. "Let's keep going."
They walk further in, and Vector feels himself needing to get out now and his head hurts and-
--the instinct kicks in and Vector turns back, heading for the exit as fast as possible. Footsteps follow him, and he doesn't even care to check whether they're Nasch's.
When he reaches the exit, he collapses.
"Have you calmed down, yet?" Nasch sits down, watching him impassively.
"Fuck off." Vector is on the ground and his vision is blurry. <em>This feels pathetic.</em>
Nasch tilts his head. "I won't make you go there again if it scares you that much."
Scared, my ass.
"I hate you."
And it's then that Vector decides.
One hundred million points. Then Nasch's gonna bite it.
Vector generously adds ten thousand points for what just happened.
Chapter 17: learning languages
Now Vector had already known that the language of Poseidon is quite different from his own. They're related, of course, but an ocean's distance will make even the biggest common ground become but a memory of the past.
King Nasch swears a lot. He swears and really likes calling Vector a bastard, and that makes it kind of fun.
Vector doubts that Nasch would bother translating anything from Vector's language, ever, considering the guy seems to think of himself quite highly.
So Vector takes out the book on the language, old and dusty, and painstakingly translates the phrase "tentacle-haired siscon bastard".
It turns out Nasch has done the same, because the next time they meet, he manages to call Vector a lowlife who should be fed to the sharks, without an accent and all.
Things never get boring with Nasch.