Bittersweet

Ice Bath

Chapter Ten: Ice Bath:

Icy fog all around. Burning jasmine filling her nose.

So cold… Anna regained her senses. Why am I so cold? Her eyes trailed around her. Black waters all around. Hm? It slowly dawned on her what this set up was.

"Oh good!" she heard him say. "You're back." She jerked her head forwards. That lovely face smirked at her. She wanted to scream at those violet eyes.

"Oh, it's you," she said instead.

"Yes, yes," he replied. She looked around her again. A snort came from her lips.

"I know I'm not going to like the answer to this," she said. "But why am I in a huge tub of cold water?" He held back a laugh.

"Why do you think?" he questioned.

She sneered at him. "Do I really have to?"

He gave her a little pout. "Please?"

"No!"

"Do it for me."

"I don't want to play this stupid game!"

He gritted his teeth. "Answer the damn question!" He placed his hand on the water. She sat stiff in place.

"Cold!" she said through chattered teeth. The temperature of the water began to drop by degrees. The water had to be in the twenties by now. He smirked at her.

"Isn't it? Answer my question," he commanded.

"No!" she barked.

"Bitch!" he snapped. Another touch to the water. The cold stiffened up her spine. I… can't… move! She mashed her teeth together through the cold. He drew back his hand.

"Now answer the question!" he barked.

"I don't know!" she cried.

He sat back with a cruel smile. "Very good. I will tell you. You look like you could cool off."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Right…"

He shook his head, smiling. "Such a shame. Your rudeness is still too hot." He put both hands on the water. She felt it at her toes first and then it came at her whole feet. She fought to try and get out, but the cold hold her spine still. She felt her soul sink down each by each with the dropping degrees. The ice dragon in the water ravenously began to freeze the blood in her veins. If this kept up, the cold would crawl down to the marrow. He shook his head at her.

"Uh-uh, you're not going anywhere, little girl!" he said. The devil laughed aloud in his eyes. She shuddered from her lover's look and the dropping cold.

"Can't feel your legs?" he asked.

"Shut up!" she barked.

"Ooo! Watch your language!" he ordered.

"Or what?" she snapped.

"This might happen!" He dipped his right hand into the water. The chanting in his head grew faster. She gasped as the numbing cold hit her thighs and hips.

"Cold, isn't it?" he asked.

"I can take this!" she yelled.

"You sure?"

"Yes! Try me, you piece of shit!"

He smirked as he tried not to laugh. "Okay, as my princess wishes." He rolled up his white sleeves and dipped his whole bare arms in. She watched him draw in a deep breath to add more of a punch. The top of the water started to ice over. He made sure that the process crawled like time itself. She put on a brave face.

Funny thing, really. He never did like ice torture. Not as fun as heat and fire to him, but with her being still as stubborn as day one, well now… This should be interesting, he thought. He pumped in more ice into the water. She drew in another breath. She shut her eyes tightly. Don't crack! He wants that. Fight back! Fight back! She paused at that thought. I can't feel my body. The ice crept closer to her.

Against her better judgment, she opened her eyes. Those dead violet eyes laughed at her. She gritted her teeth at him.

"Stop smiling at me!" she snapped.

He gave her a sickeningly sweet smile. "Why?"

"You make me sick."

"Do I now?"

"Yes!" The numbing cold ate at her abdomen.

He whistled aloud. "My, my, my. You don't have much time before you apologize."

"Why should I?"

"Oh… You've got to decide in the next ten minutes," he said. She cursed herself in her head. He gave her a jackal-like grin.

"So, what's it going to be?" he asked. She kept her eyes locked on him. Bastard!

"Why are you doing this to me?" she yelled. He paused at that question.

"Why?" he asked.

"Yes!" she screamed. Silence passed over them for a long time. He tried, but just broke down laughing in the end.

"Why?" he asked. "Apologize and I'll tell you."

"Never!" she screamed in pain. He sat back with a smile.

"Fine," he said. He drew his arms out of the water. "I'll leave you to rethink that." She tried to fight off sleep as she lifted her head. "You wouldn't leave me here like this, would you?" she asked. He didn't say a word. He only stood up and walked away. The cold broke down her mask.

"Asato? Asato? Don't leave me like this. You can't! Asato! Tsu…zu…ki…-ku…n…" she pleaded in a murmur. Her eyes slowly drew shut. And then… Silence.

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