Balance

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Chapter 3 

 ******* 

Groaning slightly from a stiff back, Yohji woke up.  This was why he hated sleeping in his lover’s bed.  There /had/ to be stone slabs in the mattress, under an inch or two of padding.  Chock it up to Aya’s self-abusive personality. 

The blond sat up, glancing around the room for any indication of the swordsman.  Not a thing.  Evidently the man had woken earlier and left.  That wasn’t exactly a good sign.  Yohji had gotten very skilled at catching Aya when the redhead wanted to sneak off, either for work or personal reasons, and keeping him in bed a little longer.  Turning the man’s anger and frustration into desire always made for explosive sex, and was the blond’s favorite way to start the day.  That the smaller man had managed to leave without disturbing his boyfriend meant that he’d put an awful lot of effort into it. 

Great, just great.  It looked like he wasn’t forgiven just yet.  Yohji had hoped that would be the case, after last night.  While it had been a bit diabolical of him to take advantage of the drugged and confused man, Aya most definitely had responded in a positive manner.  No matter what, the redhead still desired him.  Yohji’d just have to keep working that angle until the quiet man gave up and let things return to normal. 

Searching for his clothes, the playboy found yet another hint that Aya wasn’t happy with him.  His clothes were lying on the floor over by the closet, and not by the bed, where he’d dropped them last night.  Aya must have kicked or tossed the clothes there.  Usually the neat freak would fold them and place them on a chair, dirty or not, for the blond to find when he woke up.  Fuck.  At least they hadn’t been thrown out, or cut up into little shreds.  The smaller man had a distinct way of indicating his displeasure over something.  Yohji had given his lover a sickeningly sweet cat plushie, playing on his nickname for the man, shortly after their relationship had started.  Next exercise session, the humorless assassin had used the toy for target practice.  Weiß had cleaned up polyester filling from the room for days afterward.  So this rated only as a two, possibly three on the ‘Fujimiya pissed off scale’ of one through ten. 

Clothes in hand, the blond strolled unconcernedly naked down the hall to the bathroom.  After a long shower and stopping by his room for something to wear, Yohji sat at the kitchen table for his morning coffee and cigarette.  He needed some time to fortify himself before heading on down to the flower shop and confronting his kitten.  Not failing to note that there wasn’t any coffee ready for him, he wondered if that particular snub came from Ken or Aya.  He could understand it if the redhead was responsible, but if dear sweet Kenken was behind it, the two of them would be having a little tête-à-tête real soon.  It was getting very tiring to put up with the brunet’s recent attitude.  Sure Yohji had screwed up the mission, but that wasn’t the first time a member of Weiß had let his emotions get in the way of a job before.  But this animosity between the two of them was something that had been building for the past several weeks, and the green-eyed man just wanted it to end before someone got hurt.  Meaning Ken.  Although Omi would give him hell if he maimed or killed the brunet. 

Caffeine and nicotine addictions appeased for the time being, Yohji mentally prepared himself for battle and went off to deal with a certain irascible Fujimiya.  This should prove to be real interesting. 

******* 

Aya sat at his worktable, watching Ken handle the few late morning customers.  Having waken up early, desperate to escape his bed and the blond sleeping in it, he had come down to the Koneko and started on the orders for the day.  Ken had shown up an hour or so later and took care of  setting up the shop.  The redhead’s wounds weren’t quite ready for the physical labor the store required before opening.  And there was no way in hell he was going to take any more pain pills, not with Yohji Kudoh about. 

In between arranging flowers he had been obsessing over the playboy, trying to figure out their fucked up relationship.  It was bad enough before dealing with an over-protective lover who didn’t trust him not to get killed during a mission.  Now, after the blond’s confessions last night, he had to put up with a highly possessive man who claimed to love him.  Things had /not/ improved.  

As for the older man actually loving him, Aya was still unsure about that claim.  It was quite evident that Yohji desired him, but love had little to do with that emotion or obsession either.  Was it yet another of the blond’s tactics to throw him off-balance for his own benefit?  The playboy could be manipulative as all hell when he put his mind to it.  However, the redhead had never once heard the man claim to love anybody else beside Asuka.  It was made abundantly clear to the man’s many lovers that he wanted them, not loved them.  And he’d never been so possessive in regards to his flings. 

Yohji had shown hints of an overprotective nature towards Aya before, beginning with their last mission together. Which was right before they had started sleeping with each other.  Since then it had surfaced whenever the older man found someone being overly friendly to his boyfriend and during sex.  Aya generally brushed off the man’s jealousy whenever a stranger flirted with him, and had considered the man’s possessive ramblings as gibberish spouted during the height of passion.  But last night, spent from an intense session of lovemaking, he had been shaken to the core to hear Yohji growl at him that he belonged to the man, who wasn’t ever going to let him go.  That couldn’t be dismissed as mid-sex nonsense, not with those green eyes blazing with obsession and the possessive grip he’d been wrapped in. 

Clearly the other assassin was not going to let Aya break off the relationship without one hell of a fight.  And judging from the underhanded tactics Yohji had employed last night, it would be an amazingly dirty battle.  The mere thought of the other man feeling as if he /owned/ Aya was more than enough to inspire the redhead’s obdurate nature to end their association then and there, but Weiß would unmistakably suffer from the fallout.  Which meant that one or both of the men would have to leave. Having already lost two groups, one to a doomed mission and other because of its temporary nature, he wasn’t so sure he could put up with a new team.  Besides, he’d been with this one for over a year now.  So that left Yohji being re-assigned, but he’d been with Weiß much longer than Aya.  Some how he doubted that Yohji would let a little thing like Kritiker separating the couple keep him from seeing his ‘kitten’ again.  And he called Aya pigheaded. 

Options appearing more and more depressing, the redhead was left trying to figure out what endeared people to romantic entanglements.  As far as he could tell, being involved with another person, besides leading to sex and companionship, left one open to a lot of trouble and upset.  But maybe it had something to do with dating Kudoh alone.  ‘Great, I really must be masochistic, as Yohji insists, to have fallen for him instead of anybody else.’  In addition to everything, he now had a headache. 

******* 

Humming to himself as he entered the flowershop, Yohji nearly collided with a cactus-carrying Ken.  “Watch where you’re going, Kudoh.  Seems to me someone needs to get prescription sunglasses.” 

It certainly was a safe bet to assume the younger man was still mad at him.  “You should realize by now, dear Kenken, that one doesn’t mess with perfection.  I’m fine just how I am,”  Yohji remarked smugly. 

“Somehow I think there are a few people who would disagree.  I personally think that Aya would find you much more attractive missing a body part or two.”  It was hard getting the last comment out, Ken was snickering quite a bit towards the end. 

Smug expression fading, the blond eyed his teammate over the top of his shades.  The brunet had taken way too much pleasure informing him of that last bit.  “What makes you think Aya’s mad at me?  The man is perpetually angry at the world.  Who knows, maybe a certain baka left his sport equipment on the kitchen table again.” 

Ken refused to think about that last bit.  By the time Aya was finished… /decimating/ was the only word that accurately described it, his soccer gear, the brunet had to spend a week’s salary on new equipment.  And of course it never crossed his mind to make the swordsman pay for the stuff.  Not when Aya spent several days giving him a look that without a doubt expressed how much he wished it had been Ken he’d taken his sword to.  “Well, considering all I’ve heard from him this morning is ‘shi-ne’, ‘Kudoh’, and ‘hentai bastard’, it’s probably safe to assume he means you.”  It was the athlete’s turn to sport a smug grin. 

Fuck it, he’d finally had enough.  “You have a problem with me, Hidaka?  Something you want to bring to my attention, maybe?  Then do it, I’m getting pretty pissed off with your constant bitching lately.” 

“Where do I begin?  There’s how you always manage to slack off at work, never do your chores, and generally act as if the sole purpose of the rest of us is to cater to your whims.” A part of Ken’s mind was trying to tell him this wasn’t the time or place for the argument, but he’d been ticked off at the blond for too long to remain quiet.  “The fact that you act like the whole damn property is your private boudoir, and how you treat your boyfriend like a sex toy or something.  And let’s not forget you nearly getting your teammates killed the other night.  That’s just for starters.” 

Yohji reached out and grabbed ahold of the athlete’s sweatshirt.  Those last two comments were totally uncalled for.  About to jerk the younger man closer to his fist, he felt himself propelled backwards by a pale hand shoving against his chest.  Ken received similar treatment, causing him to drop the cactus.  Aya glared furiously at both of the men as they regained their balance.  “There. Are. Customers. Present.”  He continued to glower at them, as the two men suddenly found something of interest with the broken pottery on the floor.  “Hn.”  Right arm wrapped around his sore ribs, the redhead returned to the back of the shop. 

“It’s your mess, you clean it up.  I’m going to help the customers up front.”  Walking away from the irate brunet, Yohji decided the kid needed to take a lesson in dirty looks from Aya.  The one he was receiving contained nowhere near the amount of vitriol his lover had just directed their way.  Assisting the shop’s clients, the blond figured he’d give his redhead a little time to cool down before talking to him. 

Putting aside the broom and dustpan, Ken continued to glare at the older assassin.  He wondered if he could find out where the blond was hiding his shampoo, ever since the purple hair dye episode.  As pissed off as he was right now, he felt an urge to replace the cleanser with a really strong depilatory.  Thinking  such thoughts was all that kept him from charging after the infuriating man, fists swinging. 

******* 

“Hey, Aya.  You in here?” 

“Hn.” 

Well that certainly hadn’t taken long.  Aya estimated he’d only been back in the storeroom for three minutes before Yohji noticed he was missing from up front. 

“There you are, sweetie.  What’cha doing?” 

“I told you /not/ to call me that,” came the reply, through gritted teeth.  “I’m trying to restock the decorative ribbons before I leave.”  And not kill his annoying co-workers, who’d been sniping at each other all shift long. 

Yohji could only smile down at the surly man, leaning against a shelf.  “Gonna visit your sister, huh?” 

“Hn.”  Pulling out a spool of pink ribbons, the redhead looked over at the tall man. “What do you want now?” 

Shifting away from the wall, Yohji executed a formal bow while offering his lover a forget-me-not flower.  Eying the man apprehensively for a moment, Aya finally reached out a slim hand and accepted the offering. 

“What is this for?” 

Running a hand through his shoulder length hair, the older man sighed melodramatically.  “Most people aren’t so suspicious when their lover offers them a gift.” 

“Most people’s lovers don’t take advantage of them while they’re under the influence of medication.” 

Ouch.  The redhead never was one to pull his punches.  “Do you want me to add that to the list of things to apologize for?  Because to be quite honest, I’m not sorry for anything that happened last night.  I thought that you had enjoyed yourself also.” 

“Hn.”  Aya carefully placed the flower off to the side, and commenced to sort through the ribbons once again.  Spying a hand moving towards his head, he quickly snatched the blond’s wrist and turned to face him again.  “What now?” 

Stepping closer to the frowning man, Yohji used his free hand to sweep back his lover’s bangs.  “You have the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen, don’t know why you hide them behind all this hair.”  A look of long suffering crossed Aya’s face.  Smiling wickedly, the blond couldn’t resist tugging on a long eartail.  Growling in response, Aya let go of the captured wrist to bat at the other hand and stepped back as far as he could.  Which, given the shelf behind him, wasn’t far. 

“If you’re just going to bother me, leave.” 

“You always make things so difficult, you do know that, don’t you?”  Aya’s left eyebrow rose in response to that statement.  Sighing once again, this time more softly, Yohji closed in on the space between him and his kitten.  “I came back in here to see if you’ve come to any conclusion about us yet.” 

“Why should you care what I’ve decided?”  Aya snapped back, voice laden with bitterness.  “I thought you weren’t ever letting me go.  So why does it matter what I think?” 

Okay, the older man should have been expecting that.  There was no way in hell Aya was ever going to react well to being treated like a possession.  “I’m not going to say I lied last night, about anything, but I’m very interested in what you want, love.” 

“And if I want you to leave me alone from now on, and to end our relationship?”  Violet eyes stared intently into green. 

Once again reaching out for a crimson eartail, this time Yohji wrapped it around his finger and used it pull Aya’s face close to his.  “If you can convince me that you truly, with every fiber of your being, don’t want me anymore, then I will do my best to let you go.” 

Shivering from the feel of warm breath caressing his face, Aya closed his eyes.  “But you won’t promise, will you?”  A sudden tug on his hair made the swordsman open his eyes. 

“I’ll never lie to you, kitten.  I never have, not since this whole thing started.  And I’ll never promise you something I can’t keep.” 

“What if I made you promise me to never repeat what happened on the Teshi mission?” 

Oh, you better be very, very careful here, the blond thought to himself. Aya was obviously working towards something, about to make a decision one way or the other.  “Again, I can’t promise you I’ll never mess around with mission protocol, not if I really think you need some help.  Just like I wouldn’t let Omi or Ken get hurt if I could help it.  I can promise to have more faith in you, to try not to react without thinking.  I also don’t want a repeat of the other night.”  Aya just gazed up at him, violet eyes wide and so incredibly solemn.  “ I think I can better promise the second thing than the first.” 

“Yohji, if you screw up again, it won’t matter what I want or decide.  Kritiker will make sure we’ll never see each other after that.  Manx was acting very suspicious yesterday, it’s safe to assume she suspects something.” 

There was a lessening of pressure in the blond’s chest.  The heavy weight he’d been carrying there since the mission was slowly lifting off.  Aya wasn’t going to break up with him.  Not right now at least.  He wouldn’t be talking like this if he was planning on that.  “So that just means we’ll have to be extra careful from now on, won’t we.”  Alright, what had he done to earn that shi-ne glare this time?  

“We?” 

Oh, right, he’d dared to imply his lover would react in an inappropriate manner during a mission.  Well, considering the Takatoris were dead and buried, maybe the redhead had a point.  “You telling me if I was wounded and pinned down during an assignment, you’d still put the job first?” 

“I’m saying that if you were ever stupid enough to let that happen, the last person you’ll ever want to see is me.  You’d be much happier in the hands of the enemy.” 

Which made perfect sense, at least in Aya-logic.  Bending his head down, Yohji whispered against his lover’s mouth.  “You’re such a romantic, Kitten.”  Shifting to completely cover Aya’s mouth with his, Yohji was a bit stunned to feel fingers slide through his hair and jerk his head back. 

“Listen to me, Kudoh.  I’ll only say this once.  You screw up like you did Tuesday night, and I truly won’t want anything to do with you ever again.  And there won’t be any ‘trying’ to leave me alone.  You will or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.  Which won’t be long.”  For the life of him, Yohji couldn’t look away from his lover’s face.  Aya was deathly serious.  “There are a couple of things about this relationship that I’m not real happy about at the moment, but we’ll deal with them after this mission is finished.  Understand?”  He couldn’t believe he was giving in to the blond, that all his logic and concerns were being ignored.  ‘True love’.  He wondered if Yohji had really meant that when he’d gifted him with the flower.  It wasn’t like they had many of them in the store. 

“Perfectly.”  As soon as Aya released his hold on Yohji’s hair, the blond leaned in and set about kissing the man breathless with a startling intensity.  Aya was still his, and he wasn’t going to allow anything to change that fact.  Ever.  

A small eternity later, the two men broke apart, desperate for air.  As Yohji ran his hands around and inside the top of Aya’s pants, Aya gasped, “You should get back to work.  It’ll only piss Ken off some more if you stay in here any longer.” 

Yohji growled as he nipped at the redhead’s ear, hands busy unclasping the man’s belt.  “I’d say fuck Ken and his attitude, but it’s you I really want to do that to.  Now.  Let the bastard get mad, he’s just jealous he isn’t getting any.”  It was a struggle as they tried to take off each other’s shirts at the same time.  

“An amazingly in-depth ana-ohhh… analysis.”  The smaller man shuddered as Yohji’s warm hands grasped his cock. 

“I like the in-depth idea.  Turn around, love.”  Aya grabbed at Yohji’s hair again, dragging him down for a searing kiss before complying.  Bracing himself against the shelf, he moaned as the blond leaned against him, searching for something on the top shelf.  Object found, Yohji chuckled against the back of his lover’s neck.  “Be thankful Omi hasn’t found this one yet.”  Pushing the smaller man’s pants down, Yohji opened the bottle of lube and coated two fingers.  He entered first the one, then the other inside his lover as he desperately fumbled with the zipper of his pants with his free hand.  Aya’s moans and pleas to speed things up weren’t making the task any easier. 

His erection finally freed from his pants, Yohji quickly slathered the lubricant all over the hard shaft.  “Kudoh, if you’re going to do something, do it /now/.”  Aya snarled over his shoulder at the older man. 

“So impatient, heh kitten?  Easy, don’t want you to hurt anything.”  Chuckling again at the growling sound the normally reserved man was producing, Yohji grasped slim hips and slowly pushed himself inside of his lover.  Just like every time he did this, the sensation of heat and tightness overwhelmed him, urging him to just shove his way in and stay like that forever.  Resting his head on the redhead’s shoulder, he forced himself to take it slow, moving deeper inch by inch.  Once he was fully seated inside, he just paused, lost in the feelings. 

Aya pushed back against him, head thrown back and voice raspy.  “Yohji, please…” 

Coming back to himself, the blond pulled back until he was almost completely out of that tight canal and shoved all the way back in.  One hand wrapping around Aya’s waist to pump the man’s erection in time with his thrusts, the other was braced on a shelf to prevent the injured man from being pushed into the hard surface.  His mouth busy kissing and nibbling on the mewling man’s neck and shoulders, Yohji kept thrusting faster and faster.  He just couldn’t control himself, what with listening to the sounds Aya was making as he pressed himself back against him. 

Body tensing and a moan strangling in his throat, Aya came across his chest and Yohji’s hand.  Yohji continued to thrust several more times before he too was overcome and orgasmed deep inside the redhead’s clenched body.  Content to rest against his lover as his breathing and heart beat slowed down to normal, the blond remained immobile until he felt his lover shift back.  “Mmm, something wrong, kitten?” 

“My leg.  Need to move, it’s cramping up.”  Pulling back and out of the smaller man, Yohji wrapped a steadying arm around Aya’s waist.  Once assured the man could stand on his own, he shifted over and nabbed a roll of paper towels.  Cleaning his hand off and wiping the sweat from his chest, he tossed the roll over to limping assassin. 

Cleaning up and repairing their attire in silence, Yohji glanced at his lover and felt a wide grin split his face.  “And you wonder why I call you kitten.  You look like a cat that got into the aviary after hours.”  There was that satisfied smile, just short of a smirk, hovering on Aya’s lips. 

“Hn.  I want a shower now.” 

“Don’t tease me, I have to go out and finish my shift.  And no Omi for relief today.  Want to place a wager on when I finally snap and strangle Ken?” 

“That’s if he doesn’t gut you as soon as you walk out there.”  Limping over to his boyfriend, Aya placed a hand on the blond’s arm.  Yohji looked down, a smart reply on his lips, only to forget it at the somber air about the quiet man.  “You know I’m serious about everything I said earlier, right?” 

Running his hands through that improbable hair, Yohji nodded.  “Don’t worry, lover.  I’m not going to do anything to risk losing you.” 

Continuing to stare intently into emerald hued eyes for another minute, Aya eventually turned away, lips tight, and limped over to the pile of ribbon.  He tucked the spools under one arm before gently picking up the flower Yohji had given him.  Not looking back, he made his way out of the room. 

******* 

Looking into his closet, Aya tried to decide what he would wear for the mission.  His cover was Kiyoshi Asao, a graduate student of international business.  Settling on black cotton slacks and a clingy, long sleeve silk t-shirt that matched the color of his eyes, the redhead started to dress.  Energetic bouts of sex didn’t seem to be doing his wounds any favors, but at least they made him forget about the pain for a while.  It looked as if he’d be spending the night sitting at the bar. 

It had been decided that for this mission, all three of the older assassins would stake out a club at the same time, while Omi worked on the leads obtained in the stolen data.  Since it was obvious that someone had tipped off their target earlier in the week, and remembering the near disaster from the Aso mission, it was decided that there would be adequate back-up at all times for the assignment.  Weiß would canvass one of the suspected clubs for a night or two, see what they could find, and then move on down the list until they had a target.  Hopefully it wouldn’t take long before they lucked out, Kritiker was very antsy about this mission for some reason. 

Clothes changed, the swordsman was picking up his hair brush when he heard the knock on his door.  “Enter.” 

Omi walked into the room, plainly nervous about something.  The youth paused, eying the redhead’s outfit with a critical eye.  “You look good, should blend in with the crowd.” 

“Hn.”  Why did everyone assume he couldn’t dress himself?  Just because he didn’t put a lot of effort or concern in the matter unless he had to didn’t mean he couldn’t dress properly for the occasion. 

“Aya-kun, I need to talk to you about something.”  Noting that he had the older man’s complete attention, Omi stumbled on.  “Yesterday, when Manx was here, well, uhm, she sorta indicated that she knew something was going on.” 

That was not a comforting thought, even though Aya had suspected it.  “She knows about Kudoh and I?” 

“Maybe not the two of you exactly, but she figures that the problems lately stem from Yohji dating someone on the team.  She suggested it was you or Ken, I really don’t think she cares who it is, since it was Yohji who screwed up last time.” 

“Hn.”  Knowing the woman, it looked as if Yohji would be transferred the second there was another failed mission.  Manx did not take Omi being injured very well, especially when due to his teammate’s stupidity. 

Omi kept gazing at the quiet man, trying to deduce his thoughts.  Aya was always so hard to read, especially when dealing with a private matter.  “Uh, Aya-kun, what will you do if she splits up the team?”  

“Nothing.”  There was an angry bite to that word, one that belied the blank expression on that countenance. 

Mouth opening in shock, the teenager thought about that comment for a minute.  He’d been willing to bet that Aya would fight to remain with his friends and lover, but the youth had forgotten the redhead’s unwavering ability to put others’ welfare before his own.   “You won’t do anything because of Aya-chan, huh?” 

There was no response, but Omi didn’t need one.  The redhead just stood there, fingering the dangle earring he always wore.  “Family is very important, isn’t it?” 

“Hn.” 

“Well, I better let you finish getting ready.  Please try to keep an eye on Yohji tonight, and Ken too.  They both have been acting a little strange lately.”  That was an understatement.  Omi walked out of the room, brain in overdrive as he thought over an idea that had appeared at the end of his discussion with Aya.  Family /was/ very important, and there was no way he’d let Kritiker tear his apart.  Maybe now he’d be able to do something about that.  Once out the door, he bumped into Yohji.  Oh boy. 

“Yohji-kun, do you really think that tight leather pants and,” pausing to take in the shirt a bit better, much to his regret, “an almost see-through shirt is what Hayami Senjurō, junior salaryman on the rise, would wear out in public?”  Especially when one considered it was the blond’s normal clubbing attire, and he was about as far away from a junior salaryman as possible. 

“What can I say, Senji is a real party animal, particularly after spending all day in a boring black business suit.  Besides, it’ll drive the women wild.” 

How did the man walk in pants that tight?  Among other things.  And that attitude.  No wonder Weiß’s redhead had so many headaches lately.  Thinking of which.  “The women, or Aya?” 

Yohji just smirked as he flicked back his hair.  The violet tint went real well with the gold colored top he was wearing.  “I’ve got Aya, no reason to drive him anymore wilder than I already do.” 

“Interesting theory.”  The man in question stood in his doorway, arms crossed over his chest as he regarded his two roommates with a frigid gaze.  Omi sweat-dropped, and beat a hasty retreat.  Let Yohji deal with the irate man, he was too young to die right now. 

“Heh, hey there lover.  I need to get you one of those cat collars with a bell, you’re just too quiet and sneaky for words.”  Why was it Aya always caught the conversation at the worst possible point? 

“Hn.” 

Following the man back into his room, Yohji couldn’t tear his eyes away.  After a close inspection of the smaller man’s wardrobe, he had dragged his protesting lover off for some clothes shopping.  Citing that the redhead needed new outfits to wear on undercover missions was the only way to get the man to part with his money and buy something.  Yohji would have gladly bought the clothes himself, but Aya had flatly refused.  The violet top had been a piece that the blond had picked out, drooling over the mental image of how the swordsman would look in it.  It figured his kitten would finally wear it on a mission when he would have to spend the night gazing on him from afar, waiting hours before he could drag Aya home and rip it off him.  “You just love driving me crazy, don’t you?” 

Judging from the perplexed look in those gorgeous eyes, Aya had no clue what he was talking about.  “Nevermind.  You ready for tonight?” 

“Yes.  Remember, no screw ups tonight Balinese, or that’s it.” 

Joy oh joy, the kitten was in Abyssinian mode.  “I told you I wouldn’t forget.  Jeez, just because I’m a natural blond, doesn’t mean I’m a total idiot.”  No response.  Okay, that was it, Aya had just passed up a chance to insult him.  He wanted the man back /now/.  “Come here, Kitten, and give me a good luck kiss.” 

Aya just gracefully side-stepped those reaching arms and left the room.  “Behave.  Or else.” 

Growling softly, Yohji followed the man.  One of these days he was going to have a discussion with the powers that be over giving his lover a body like that and a kill switch on his libido.  It just wasn’t fair. 

******* 

Schuldig surveyed the place, liking what he saw.  A club full of pathetic sacks of flesh, desperate to have a good time before resuming their tedious everyday lives.  No wonder Esset had chosen the place to test the new drug.  These people tried to pretend that they knew how to act wild and crazy, but in fact were just a bunch of repressed norms seeking oblivion in sex, alcohol and drugs.  The telepath was here in part to observe the drug’s affect on the unknowing test subjects.   Not even Schwarz knew why their employers were so interested in ‘Sybil’, at least everyone but Crawford didn’t, and the clairvoyant wasn’t sharing.  The staid American had sent his personal pain in the ass down here tonight to gain the information for Esset, and for another, more enjoyable reason.  Weiß would be showing up, and the German was to mess with their minds.  Not to do permanent damage, well, at least not much, nor to kill them.  Crawford had been quite explicit on the matter.  Schuldig was to just shake the kittens up and throw them off balance.  Which was something he would gladly do anyways, so he wasn’t sure why his ice-cube of a leader had stressed how far he was allowed to go.  The icy prick wanted Weiß alive for some reason, yet another thing he wasn’t letting his team know. 

Walking around the place, drink in hand and randomly tossing out amusing (to him) compulsions on the unsuspecting throng, Schuldig finally came across one of his favored prey.  Poor little Siberian.  He was currently trying to fend off the hands of an over-inebriated secretary who was claiming a passion for cute, athletic brunets.  Sniggering to himself, the telepath reached into that drunken mind and tweaked up her sex drive a bit.  In response, the woman intensified her assault.  Siberian’s desperation grew, as he refused to run away from the woman.  Easily reading the distracted assassin’s thought, Schuldig smirked over how the poor fool’s pride, ‘I’m an assassin dammit, I can handle a little girl’, wouldn’t let him flee for safety.  That and the fact he’d overheard the female talking to her friends about a new drug. 

Schuldig delved even deeper into the brunet’s mind.  Finding out all that the kittens knew about their new assignment, which was remarkably little, he was surprised to find a deep well of anger and jealously, all directed towards Balinese.  Remembering how the assassin had been mad at his teammate the other night, the long haired man investigated further.   And swore violently when he came across an image of the blond fucking Abyssinian on a couch.  Abyssinian.  /His/ Kätzchen.  That fucking Schwanzlutscher, fooling around with Schuldig’s property.  The telepath had put a lot of time and effort into the deliciously warped redhead.  Hell, he /owned/ him.  It was the German who had let him live, three years ago, when he should have killed him.  All so he could savor and play with the younger man.  And now Balinese had waltzed in and snatched him away.  

Teeth grinding together in anger, the telepath continued to pick Siberian’s brain.  So, it was a recent event, and things were a bit shaky between the couple.  Good, that would give him some ammunition to use against his enemies.  By the time he was done, Weiß wasn’t going to be able to give Schwarz any trouble at all.  That fucking bastard Crawford.  He must have seen this, which was why he didn’t want Schuldig to dig too deep the other night.  And why he expressly ordered the German not to kill anybody.  Cursing under his breath, Schuldig set out to find the other assassins.  That Flachwichser Balinese had to be here somewhere, it would be a real treat to rip the blond’s head apart to get the information he needed.  Maybe he couldn’t shred the man’s psyche the way he wanted, but he could give the Warmduscher a headache he soon wouldn’t forget, and use the gained knowledge to bring his Kätzchen to heel. 

******* 

Kudoh charm at full intensity, Yohji flirted shamelessly with a young woman wearing too much makeup and not enough clothes.  Although his hormones weren’t complaining about that last bit; if one was going to show off one’s body, at least it should be a good one.  And dear little Mika obviously worked out quite a lot.  

It was also becoming rather obvious that the woman strongly believed in having a good time.  The blond wondered if one of her favorite ways of having fun was taking ‘Sybil’. Yohji’d developed an interest in the young woman after he’d seen several men wave to or try to say hi to her, only to have her look at them in confusion and ignorance.  He’d already noticed that once or twice in their conversation the woman had talked about the fantastic time she’d had this night or that weekend, and then would be vague on what she had done.  Her light brown eyes would become distant, and faint frown lines mar her forehead.  ‘Almost as if she couldn’t remember them, and that’s one of the drug’s side effects.’  It was nice to know that his detecting skills still came in handy.  He’d taken such pride in developing them, a lifetime ago. 

“It must be so frustrating, Senji dear.  Someone as interesting as you, slaving away behind a desk all day.  You have any interesting habits to help relieve all that boredom?”  Mika lifted a hand to toy with a stray lock of almost blond hair, and let it fall, brushing against the assassin’s chest on the way back down. 

The blond applauded the move.  If he’d still been single, this was the type of woman he loved to have a fling with, one out looking for a good time with no strings attached.  About to respond back, his eyes shifted across the club until lighting on Aya.  The redhead had spent the night so far sitting at the bar, nursing weak drinks while paying attention to the conversation around him. And fending off various attempts to pick him up.  Which, judging from the scowl on his face, was happening once again.  A woman was leaning rather close to the reserved man, infringing on his personal space.  Yohji counted her to be at least the eighth female to try engaging the man in a conversation tonight, and there had also been a couple of men.  Each time he’d spied one of these interactions, the playboy had to force himself to remain where he was and not interfere.  Yohji doubted Aya would react well to a jealous boyfriend showing up suddenly to ‘rescue’ him, especially one he’d just forgiven over similar behavior. 

Mika all but forgotten, Yohji found himself staring at his lover as a headache slowly built up inside his head.  He reflected back on the past several weeks, ever since their relationship had started.  Images filled his head, of them fighting, making love, everyday things and the fantasies he entertained at times of what he wanted to do to his lover.  The pain kept building as his thoughts focused more and more on the redhead, until it was an almost blinding intensity.  Unconsciously, he took a step in Aya’s direction, but a hand reached out and stopped him. 

“Senji dear, is something wrong?  You just blanked out there.”  Mika looked up in concern at the man’s pale face, and then back over her shoulder towards where he had been heading.  Nothing of interest back there, just the bar.  She directed her gaze back at the gorgeous man she’d been trying to pick up.  He really didn’t look well right now.  “Are you alright?” 

Pain ebbing from his mind ever so faintly, Yohji rubbed at his temples with shaking hands.  What the hell had come over him?  “Just a migraine, I get them from time to time.”  Which was a lie, but the blond couldn’t explain why his head was suddenly killing him.  He needed to get outside, away from the crowd and the noise, and if things didn’t improve, try and drive home.  The urge to go back to the Koneko was almost as overwhelming as the pain.  “Sorry, honey, but I need to get home.  See you again?”  Hardly waiting for the woman’s eager nod, he turned around to leave the club, legs unsteady. 

Trying to make it out of the place as quickly as he could, the lanky man failed to notice a long haired foreigner smiling evilly in his direction. 

******* 

The club was loud, packed, overheated, and all in all a miserable experience for Weiß’s leader.  One day he would discover that Kritiker sent him on these missions as some sort of long, drawn out torture.  He was sitting at the bar, toying with a drink as his ears strained to catch the conversation around him.  In front of him were several drinks, all bought by someone else and summarily ignored once the bartender gave it to him.  Even if the swordsman had much of a head for alcohol, there was no way in hell he was going to drink them.  Not after what had happened the last time he accepted a drink from a stranger.  The redhead didn’t even bother to lift his head and look in the direction the bartender indicated the drink came from.  Why did these people keep pestering him?  There was a club full of people eager to hook up with a willing stranger, what was so special about him? 

Straightening up, Aya once again quickly scanned the bar.  Something was wrong, he just didn’t know what.  The feeling had been there ever since he’d walked into the place.  He managed to spot Ken chatting with a couple of guys off by the pool tables, but Yohji was nowhere to be found.  He wondered what the blond was up to.  Failing to find any other reason for his unease, he returned to his eavesdropping.  So far he’d overheard several references about the new drug, and suspected a few patrons of having taken it.  Now he was hoping to catch some word of who was dealing it.  Unexpectedly another drink was placed in front him.  He glared up at the bartender, who just shrugged his shoulders and turned away.  What was with these people? 

Attention focused on the discussion to the left of him, the redhead once again had a sense of unease.  About to push away from the bar, his body tensed as somebody leaned against him.  Warm air brushed against his ear.  “Hello, Kätzchen.” 

Fuck.  Schuldig. 

<Interesting thoughts there, Abyssinian.  Maybe I’ll take you up on the offer.>  

It was so hard to control the overpowering urge to turn around and try to kill the man.  Which would be sheer stupidity, since he didn’t have a weapon ready and there were plenty of witnesses.  Not to mention the likelihood of the rest of Schwarz being nearby. 

<Heh heh.  You always were a smart kitty.  Don’t want to hurt all the innocent bystanders, do we.  Which I assure you, unless you behave and just sit there, will most definitely happen.  And don’t look to your teammates for help, Siberian is occupied, and Balinese is on his way home right now.> 

Fuck.  “What do you want?”  Aya snarled.  “Why are you here?” In this bar.  In Tokyo.  In Japan.  Anywhere else besides the hell you truly deserve, he thought. 

An evil chuckle filled his left ear, as the German leaned in even more, arms braced on the bar on either side of the furious man.  <Not a nice thought there, kitty.  So nice to see that some things never change.>  “Can’t a man just go out by himself and have a good time?  Had such an enjoyable stay the last time I was here, thought I’d pay Tokyo another visit.  What are you doing here?” 

‘As if you don’t already know.’  Besides that thought, Aya didn’t respond in any other way, body stiff and violet eyes glowing with a ferocious rage.  One that was reflected in his mind, making it hard for the telepath to catch any more thoughts.  

“Ahh, meine weiße Kamelie, do you have any idea how much I’ve missed you?”  Schuldig rubbed his cheek against the crimson strands of his toy’s hair, lost in the physical and mental feel of the swordsman.  He ignored the muttered ‘shi-ne’, concentrating on better things.  All that delicious emotion, storming around with a bruising intensity, locked inside a body that was so still and perfect it appeared as if made from marble. 

Aya, then Ran, had first caught Schuldig’s attention with his ability to spot the German, who should have been lost in a crowd, waiting for the bomb he’d planted to go off.  But the youth had noticed him, and recognized him again after the explosion.  This had intrigued the telepath.  Enough so to probe the distraught young man’s mind, and to be delighted by what he’d found in there. 

If Ran Fujimiya had been raised by almost any other culture, he wouldn’t have been so exquisite to the telepath’s senses.  It was clear that from a very early age the boy had strongly felt every emotion, and been quickly taught to suppress them so as to conform to the image his family thought a proper Japanese male should be.  One who was calm, reserved, in control.  One who wouldn’t stand out from the crowd anymore so than he already did due to his unusual coloring.  That red hair and violet eyes made his parents’ reaction all the harsher.  So poor little Ran had grown up, internalizing all those powerful emotions, with no other outlet to express them besides his precious imouto. 

It had been such a delightful shock to find the wellspring of emotions bubbling deep inside the shell shocked boy.  The pain of losing his family, of his precious sibling being hurt before his eyes, and the budding rage at whoever had done such a thing.  Add to that a faint sense of guilt, that he was still alive when everything he loved was gone, a guilt that Schuldig had surreptitiously fed when he found himself not wanting to kill the surviving Fujimiya.  So he let the youth live, eager to see what he’d grow into. 

Oh, what a wonderful surprise it had been, to discover Ran turned into Aya/Abyssinian, Schuldig’s enemy.  Almost all of the gentler feelings burned away by rage and an all-encompassing thirst for revenge, laced throughout by a powerful guilt and self hate at always being the one to survive, when all his betters died.  Such an intoxicating mix.  To finally come across one’s mirror image.  Here was a person who felt all the things that Schuldig couldn’t anymore.  Someone who could match him, evil deed to evil deed, yet still feel a sense a guilt.  The Japanese boy had become a murderer, and would do so much more if needed, all in the name of his sister.  The telepath briefly wondered if Kritiker ever realized what they had obtained, if they were ever tempted to use the swordsman for something other than just assassination.  Abyssinian would do whatever it took to protect and heal his sister, anything at all.  Even if he hadn’t realized this yet. 

Yet deep deep down there had been a small piece of innocence, at least until that fucker Kudoh had gotten his claws into the redhead.  Hissing in anger, Schuldig bit down on the silent man’s neck, just below his left ear.  <Naughty naught Abyssinian.  I know what games you’ve been up to lately, you and that whore Balinese.>  Tightening his arms around Aya, the telepath felt him trembling with suppressed fury. 

Briefly licking at the bite mark, the German commenced whispering in violet eyed man’s ear again.  “I’m really disappointed, you sullying yourself with a piece of trash like that.  My weiße Veilchen no more, not since that Schwanzlutscher had his way with you.  And you actually love him, don’t you.  It was all there in that depraved mind of his, crowing over the fact that he got Aya Fujimiya, the ice prince himself, to allow him into his bed and heart.  Not very smart of you, Knuddelhäschen, I expected better of you.” 

“I.  Will.  Fucking.  KILL.  You.”  It was getting harder and harder for Aya to think of anything but wrapping his hands around the German’s throat and never letting go. 

“Poor poor Aya.  Things haven’t been going your way lately, have they?  You were much too easy on the whore, I’d never have forgiven so quickly, not after what he did.” <I mean really, doubting that you could take care of yourself.  Doesn’t he realize that is all you are, a perfect little assassin.  Murder comes so easily to you, doesn’t it?  How much longer until he realizes you’re not even remotely human anymore?>  “Is that why you let him fuck you?” 

“Shut up.”  Aya focused on the glasses in front of him, trying to drown out the voice drilling inside his head.  He’d give anything at that moment to have his katana in hand, to be able to whirl around and silence that voice forever.  Why did the fucker have to constantly mess with him? 

<Because you are just so incredibly delicious.  Such a feast for the senses.  Even Kudoh could tell you that.  That’s why he won’t ever let you go.  Why he’ll use that love of yours to keep you by his side, a perfect little toy for him to enjoy until he gets bored.  You love much too strongly, Kätzchen, and he’s taking advantage of that fact.  Just you wait and see, he’ll keep on hurting you, so sure of the fact you’ll never leave him.  Just like you’ll never leave your poor sweet sister.  How’s she been doing?  Have any good conversations with her lately?  All that blood on your hands, and she just lays there, oblivious to the world.> 

‘Get out of my head, you bastard.’  Aya was gripping the glass in his hand so tightly he was surprised it hadn’t shattered yet.  Schuldig noticed this and deftly plucked it away, and wrapped his arms around the younger man.  

Oh he couldn’t get enough of the man.  This was why he let Crawford deal with Abyssinian when Weiß and Schwarz clashed.  He could so get lost in the maelstrom within the swordsman.  “Is there an optional place I can get into, instead?  Wouldn’t that make Kudoh jealous?”  The German laughed at the growling sounds Aya produced.  <So passionate, aren’t we?  Maybe I’ve put off finding out just how much you are for too long.  Think of me when Balinese finally betrays your trust.  I can show you things he’s never thought of.  And I know just how much of a monster you truly are, and don’t care.  He’ll never be able to love that part of you.> 

Kissing the younger man on the side of his neck, Schuldig murmured, “It’s always so much fun spending time with you, meine weiße Kamelie.  We must do this again, real soon.  It’s been so boring not being able to play with you.  Taa.”  He gave the assassin’s wounded side a painful squeeze, leaving the man gasping and unable to prevent his departure.  Deciding it would be in his best interest to leave the bar for a little bit, Schuldig made for the door, pausing for a moment to plant a little seed in Siberian’s head. 

As soon as he was able to, Aya spun around on his stool.  Searching the crowd, he found no sign of the German.  Damn the man.  He wanted to chop something into tiny, bloody pieces.  Preferably someone with long reddish hair and a German accent.  He had to get out of here, and warn Ken.  There was no telling if Schuldig was still here, along with the rest of Schwarz.  He remained seated until he spotted Ken.  Moving towards the brunet, he brushed up against him and in a low tone of voice said “leave, /now/.”  The man’s startled expression barely registered, since Aya kept walking towards the door. 

******* 

Yohji sat at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of tea and waiting for his lover to arrive.  After taking a handful of headache medicine, he decided to try one of the blends Aya drank when he had a headache.  It seemed to be working, the blond was able to focus on small objects finally, and stand bright lights.  Omi was by the coffee maker, debating another cup of coffee.  He wanted to do a bit more research on the internet, but didn’t want to be up that much longer. 

Both men were startled to see Aya walk into the room, appearing as if carved from ice and fire.  Yohji couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen the man this furious.  He fervently hoped it wasn’t over anything he’d done.  The redhead just sat down at the table.  He didn’t seem surprised to find his boyfriend home already.  After a minute, Yohji shoved the rest of his tea over to the silent man.

“Aya, is something wrong?  I didn’t expect you home for some time yet.” 

The swordsman just shook his head.  “Wait for Ken.”  He then gazed intensely at his lover, searching his face.  “What happened to you?” 

The blond smiled a little at the brief flash of concern.  “I don’t know, suddenly came down with a migraine or something.  Damn inconvenient, I’d just found a promising lead.” 

“Hn.”  Once again, the man didn’t seem to be taken back by the bit of news. 

The next ten minutes were very tense, as the three assassins waited for Ken to arrive.  Yohji wondered just how badly Aya had broken the speed limits on his way home. Staring at his lover, he noticed a suspicious bruise on the man’s neck.  Almost like a hickey or a bite.  Opening his mouth and ask what the hell the smaller man had been up to, he was abruptly silenced by the look Aya gave him.  As if it would be worth the blond’s life if he asked right now.  Yohji settled back into his chair, internally seething.  Damn it, where the hell was that idiot?  He wouldn’t be able to get any answers out of his kitten until Ken showed up.  Shortly after this, pounding footsteps announced the arrival of their missing teammate. 

“Aya, what’s wrong?  Why did you want me leave the club?  And what the hell got into you, Yohji, taking off early like that?  Can’t you take any mission seriously?” 

“Don’t you have anything better to do than bust my balls all the time, Hidaka?”  Yohji was all too willing to vent his frustration on the younger man. 

“/Shut up./”  The iciness of that voice prevented Ken from yelling back at the blond, and everyone focused their attention on Aya.  Who just glared back at them.  It was Omi who finally breached the awful silence. 

“Aya-kun, what happened earlier tonight?” 

“Schwarz is back.”  Nobody knew what to say after that. 

******* 

Pretty much assume the things Schuldig called Yohji were rather nasty in nature.  I’m told by the incomparable Kabuki they lose things in translations, so I won’t bother.  Just use your imagination.  I’m sure it’s up to the challenge. 

Weiße Kamelie – white camellia – the flower translation I’m using is ‘perfect loveliness’.

Forget-me-not – ‘true love’.

Weiße Veilchen – white violet – purity.

Kätzchen – kitten (go figure)

Knuddelhäschen – snugglebunny (have to call the poor boy something other than ‘kitten’ all the time, don’t I?)

*******

 

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