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[personal profile] flowerfox posting in [community profile] mindcracklove
Hi! This is my first fic here and actually my first fic ever so I’m a tad nervous and would definitely appreciate constructive criticism! But I do hope you enjoy it. :D

(warnings: nsfw - violence; mention of/ character death)



Among spies on both sides of the war, the rivalry between Etho and Nebris was almost a legend. The two were the most productive spies on their respective sides, and had encountered each other during missions many times. But every time, both men walked away alive. Etho was stealthy and surprisingly strong despite his light frame, always able to fulfill his orders. Nebris was cunning, using anything and everything in the environment to get ahead. Some scoffed at his methods, calling him a cheater, but he paid no attention. His methods worked. They always worked. The qualities of the two spies made them the perfect adversaries, with neither able to best the other.

Sometimes, Etho daydreamed about the unstoppable team they would make if they were on the same side. He would be reluctant to give up the beautiful rivalry they had, though. He respected Nebris immensely. And there was a certain fascination for him in seeing the other spy’s methods and work, so different from his own. Etho had felt that fascination for a long time. It had started when he first made eye contact with the other spy, heterochromatic eyes meeting purple ones.

------------------------------

Etho sat in a small, bustling coffee shop and observed the scene. His contact would be here soon, and from him he would receive his orders. Getting a new mission was always exciting, and he was eager to start on this next assignment. But for now, he thought about what life would be like after the end of the war. An apartment without a drafty window, food that actually tasted good, waking up from a warm bed to see purple eyes staring back at him… He flinched. It was definitely time to stop daydreaming.

Moments later, a lanky figure slid into the other chair. Etho greeted the man with a grin and quietly said, “Hello, Arkas! What’s my next assignment?”

Arkas quickly scanned the room for anyone listening. Seeing no one nearby, he replied in a low voice, “Take out Nebris. He knows too much, and he cannot be allowed to use that information.”

“Do you think I’m an assassin? I steal information, not lives!” Etho hissed, trying to stay calm and passive. Internally his mind reeled, and he could feel his face grow white. He had committed himself to follow every order, but he had never expected this one to be issued to him. Many of his colleagues had a talent and passion for killing on command, but his supervisors knew that Etho was not one of them.

Arkas shook his head. “Headquarters’ orders, my friend. They believe you are the best choice for this job.”

“I’ll get it done,” Etho sighed. Arkas handed him a sealed file. He slipped it into his shirt and nonchalantly walked out of the shop. He hardly noticed where he was going, though. His attention was on other matters. He had sworn to obey HQ in all situations. But how could he kill his adversary when it was very clear that he was developing feelings for Nebris? He weighed his options. He could keep his oath to HQ, kill Nebris, and be miserable forever. Or he could break his word, spare his rival’s life, and be taken out himself by the very people he worked for.

He walked through the streets for the rest of the day, the typical way to lose any tail he had picked up, but he spent the time lost in thought. By the time he made it home to his drafty apartment, he had made his decision. He sat on the rickety cot, the only furniture he owned, and bit into a hard loaf of stale bread, tearing open the file to see his instructions. Reading them, he realized that he hardly had to do anything – the trap was all set up for Nebris, and he simply had to show up tomorrow evening. Finishing his meager meal, he destroyed the file and threw himself onto his cot for a restless night.

------------------------------

The time had arrived, and though he was not at all comfortable with what he was going to do, Etho slipped out into the night. He arrived at the location and, walking through the open door, saw Nebris there as he had expected. The other spy was staring out of a window, his back to the door. Etho hesitated, trying to forget his attraction to his rival and to remind himself of his mission. The split second of indecision proved his downfall, however. Nebris turned and leapt at him, forcing him to the floor. Etho’s eyes grew wider as he felt a knife at his throat. To calm himself, he focused on the purple eyes above him. They were so beautiful, so intriguing…so deadly. He would die to the owner of those eyes, and they would be the last thing he saw.

But just as he resigned himself to death, he felt the knife’s pressure cease. “I can’t. I CAN’T! Oh, Etho…” Nebris had released him and turned away. The knife fell to the floor as the other spy buried his head in his hands. Etho wanted to go to him, to comfort him, to once again gaze into those eyes that were now filled with tears. He got up. But his hands moved to pick up the knife as he remembered his assignment and, overcoming his feelings, he stabbed Nebris in the back.

The other spy fell, gasping, “Etho…H–he’s a double agent…he’s trying to…to…k-kill…you. Stop him…”

Etho’s emotions took control again, and he froze. “What have I done?” he whispered. He watched Nebris reach into his shirt with a shaking hand and pull out a file, offering it to Etho. He quickly kneeled down next the dying spy, opening the file and pulling out a paper with the orders for Nebris. Orders to kill Etho – just what he had expected to see. Orders that Nebris hadn’t carried out. But another glance revealed a name at the bottom of the piece of paper, signing the orders.

Arkas.

Etho, horrified, looked back at Nebris, whose purple eyes were staring at him with sadness and something else that he couldn’t identify. His arm pointed weakly at the file, and Etho turned it upside down, shaking it. A scrap of paper fell out. Etho’s eyes widened as he saw the hastily scrawled words. He looked at Nebris, whose breath was catching roughly. He wouldn’t last much longer.

“I…I love you too, Nebris,” said Etho, his eyes blurring with tears as his rival breathed his last. Those purple eyes stared up at the ceiling, seeing no more. Etho stood up, clutching the precious paper, and lost himself in grief, his shoulders shaking as he silently wept.

Minutes passed, and he noticed nothing, not even the sharp pain that tore through his chest and sent him crumpling to the floor beside Nebris. Arkas pulled out the dagger with a slight smile. He was not upset that Nebris had died – the spy’s fascination with Etho was too dangerous. He knew that it was only a matter of time before Nebris would tell his rival that Arkas was a double agent, and then his cover would be blown. But both Nebris and Etho were now dead, and his secret was safe. He walked away in triumph, not noticing a scrap of paper fluttering to the floor.

I love you ‘til death.
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