Cages

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chapter 11

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Unwelcome return to reality

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Aya inspected the blooming dahlias and snapdragons, a rampant bloom of color in Yohji’s balcony flower boxes. "I see you’ve been watering them. I’ll have to bring you some fertilizer for them, but they’re doing well."

His lover was leaning against the balcony wall, smoking a cigarette. Yohji looked so damn sexy with his hair falling around his face and his eyes peeking over the rim of his sunglasses, twinkling with amusement. Things usually boded well for Aya when Yohji looked at him like that.

"I’ve been following your instructions, I’ll have you know." Yohji quickly winked at him before taking another drag from his cigarette. "No matter what Ken says, not all blonds are stupid. Right, Shina?" Yohji raised his voice so his neighbor could hear him. The young woman, whose blond hair, unlike Yohji’s, clearly wasn’t natural, looked up from the magazine she was reading as she sunned herself. It was a cool, summer day, and for once the humidity wasn’t bad. Many of the Hanabatake residents were enjoying the day on their balconies.

"What was that, Yohji-san?" As he started to explain to Shina what he’d been talking about, Aya left him to get on with it. Stepping into the cool apartment, he wandered over to an end table and picked up one of the entertainment magazines stacked on top. He’d barely begun to see what events were happening in the upcoming week when he heard Yohji come into the room and slide the glass door shut.

Turning around, Aya saw Yohji walk smoothly towards him, smiling slightly when his lover slowly removed his sunglasses and tossed them onto the couch. As soon as Yohji reached him, Aya was enveloped in a hug and kissed passionately. Dropping the magazine on the floor, he threaded his fingers through Yohji’s hair, desire pooling inside him, hot and potent, spreading through his body with each breath. Sucking on Yohji’s tongue, he encircled his arms around Yohji’s shoulders and lifted a leg to wrap tightly around his lover’s thighs, pulling him closer.

Yohji lifted his head, just a couple of inches, and took a shuddering breath. His lovely green eyes now sparkled with desire and love, the sight of them making Aya’s body tighten with arousal. "Aya… you have no idea how much I want you."

"I think I have a clue," Aya replied huskily as he rocked his hips forward. They were both hard, and it was getting difficult to think of anything other than having Yohji’s cock inside him. He moaned in anticipation as he pulled Yohji’s head down for another kiss.

Yohji was just as eager as he was, and resuming the kiss, started walking backwards rather quickly toward the bedroom, Aya readily following him. The kiss took on an urgent character the closer they got to the room, and once they were safely inside, they tore at each other’s clothes, frantic to be naked - for once Aya was happy to be wearing one of his yukatas. It took Yohji a little longer to get naked, because of his penchant for tight clothes, but soon enough he was.

Aya lay back eagerly on the bed, pulling Yohji towards him and, laughing a bit breathlessly, he settled on top of Aya. Their hands stroked fervently over each other, teasing and stoking the desire until Aya was ready to whine in frustration. He rocked his hips against Yohji’s as he brushed his mouth along his lover’s cheek. Sparing a quick lick at an adorned ear, he whispered, "I want you inside me." His legs wrapped around Yohji’s waist. "Hot and hard and in me as deep as possible." He felt Yohji shiver and licked again. "I want you, Yohji." Then he sucked on his lover’s earlobe, making him moan.

Yohji immediately rolled onto his back, switching their positions. "Whatever you want," he quietly told Aya as he tenderly stroked back the bangs falling onto Aya’s face. His fingers combed through Aya’s hair until they reached the tie that held it back in a loose ponytail, and started to work at untying the ribbon. "I’ll do whatever you ask."

Aya sat up, gracefully straddling Yohji’s waist and shook his head. His long hair fell about the two of them, caressing his skin as he leaned forward, his hands on Yohji’s chest. Aya forced himself to stop when their lips were scant centimeters apart. "All I want is you, inside me. Me, mad with pleasure. All right?" Considering how damn horny he was, it was hard not to fall into familiar habits and talk like he did to Hirofumi, but Yohji was worth the effort.

"I get it," Yohji growled, his eyes sparkling with desire and his lips curving into a smile. "You can save drawing me a picture for another time."

"Good." Reaching behind him, he reluctantly sat up so he could open the door of the nightstand. Grabbing the bottle of lube and one of the condoms stashed inside, he placed the items on the bed.

They kissed for several minutes, in no particular hurry now to speed things up, then Yohji’s hand slid along his bottom, making Aya gasp in pleasure and toss back his head. He stroked his fingers teasingly along Yohji’s chest, rolling the sensitive nipples between them as Yohji’s slick fingers pressed against him. He started to squirm at the pressure, causing his erection to brush against Yohji’s, creating more pleasure.

Yohji held onto his hip firmly as the fingers pressed inside. Aya moaned as he was being stretched, his hands sliding off his lover’s smooth, sweat-slick chest to fist into the cotton sheets. He crouched in anticipation over Yohji as the fingers flicked against his sweet spot, making him gasp and rock his hips back to take them in even deeper. "Yohji…." The fingers pressed in as deep as they could go, which wasn’t anywhere near far enough for his tastes.

"I know," Yohji reassured him, removing his fingers. "Sit up." Doing as he was told, Aya groaned again when he felt Yohji’s slick cock rub against his ass. His hands left the sheet to fist around his own aching arousal, pumping it slowly as he watched his lover tear open the foil packet. As soon as the condom was on, Yohji urged Aya to lift his hips.

When he felt Yohji’s hard cock nudge at his opening, Aya slowly sank down, gleefully taking it inside him with a hissed breath. It felt so good to be slowly stretched, to feel Yohji enter him. He continued slowly downward, until Yohji was in him as deep as possible, sighing happily when his lover started to thrust his hips.

Yohji stared back at him, his eyes brilliant with emotions that warmed something deep inside Aya, something that he’d thought long frozen or dead. Fingers gently skimmed down his back, making him arch beneath the soft pressure, before settling around his hips. Yohji urged Aya downwards until he had to cry out at feeling his lover so deep inside him, and then one of Yohji’s hands firmly wrapped around Aya’s aching cock. He was torn now between wanting to match the fast pace Yohji torturously set with his hand and the slower, deeper rhythm of his thrusts.

Aya tossed his head back, his hair flying around him as he bit his lip while under the contrasting assaults. Then Yohji thrust up sharply as he descended downwards, spearing that spot inside him, and he couldn’t hold out any longer. He cried out his lover’s name as he came, his body shivering from the waves of ecstasy radiating from his center.

As the pleasure slowly receded, he gradually became aware of Yohji thrusting inside him, faster than before, his hold about Aya’s waist tightening, and then Yohji gasped and went rigid. After another couple of thrusts he stilled and leaned forward, resting his head on Aya’s shoulder.

They held on to each other as their heartbeats and breathing evened out, and Aya enjoyed the feel of Yohji’s overheated body leaning against his, the weight of the arms wrapped around his waist. He nuzzled Yohji’s hair as Yohji slowly loosened his hold, then he reluctantly moved from Yohji’s lap and reached for some tissues. He handed some to Yohji, and after they were clean and things disposed of, they stretched out on the bed.

Yohji combed his fingers gently through Aya’s hair, patiently working out the tangles. Aya’s eyes drifted shut at the soothing gesture, and he felt sated and comfortable enough right then to fall asleep. At least until he was poked in the ribs, which caused him to open his eyes and glare at the smiling culprit.

"No sleeping. Ayumi’s expecting us for dinner in another hour, and we still need to get ready." In contrast to his stern tone, Yohji’s eyes and smile radiated amusement as he rubbed his hand over Aya’s sore side. "I don’t want her to yell at us for being late."

Aya grumbled in annoyance as he hugged Yohji closer. "It’ll only take me about twenty minutes to get ready. You’re the one who likes to primp in front of the mirror all day. Wake me up in a half hour." He felt tired, and not just because of the sex. They’d spent yesterday out with Mamoru and Ken, who had hung out at his apartment until late last night to watch videos after Yohji had gone to work. On top of that, he’d woken up early this morning to practice his kendo and tend to his flowers while Yohji had slept in. There was an arrangement he was particularly proud of resting on his kitchen table, waiting to be taken to Ayumi’s. After doing some laundry and cleaning, he’d come over to Yohji’s and…. He couldn’t help but smile as he snuggled closer to his lover.

"Aya," Yohji sighed. "I’ll give you twenty minutes. Any longer than that, and the last thing I’m going to be doing in this bed is sleeping."

Aya cracked open an eye and glared. "Aren’t you ever satisfied?" He didn’t know where Yohji got his energy.

"Let’s see, you’re naked, in my bed, looking so damn sexy it’s unbelievable, and you expect me to sleep?" Yohji gently tugged on his hair before hugging him tightly and chuckling. "The answer is ‘hell no’. Twenty minutes, tops. Nineteen, now."

Aya grunted as he closed his eye and just enjoyed the feel of Yohji playing with his hair. The scent of musk, sweat and cloves surrounded him, the coolness of the fine cotton sheets beneath him contrasting with the warmth of his lover’s body. If he had the tiniest bit more of energy he’d put Yohji’s threat to the test, but he didn’t want to risk falling asleep at Ayumi’s. His friend would never let them hear the end of that, and besides, she was already much too satisfied with herself over their new relationship.

The joy he felt was tempered by the fact that it wouldn’t last. In less than two weeks Hiro would be returning, and the idyll would be over. He had no intention of giving up Yohji, not with how… utterly content he now felt, but spending the day lazing in bed with his lover would be a rare thing after Hiro was back home. As it was, Ayumi and Aya carefully monitored Reiji and Hiro’s presence overseas to make sure they didn’t return home early, and he kept up on his email, which was how Hiro usually contacted him while he was away on business.

Tucking his head against Yohji’s chest, Aya tried to banish the thoughts of Hirofumi from his mind. Yohji was being careful not to leave any marks on him from now on, and there were no new rumors about them that they’d heard. Things should be fine when Hirofumi returned, and he wasn’t going to let worry ruin this precious, short time he had to thoroughly enjoy this relationship.

"Hmmm, you’re tensing up. Stop thinking so much," Yohji murmured in his ear as he started to rub his back. "I put a lot of effort into relaxing you back there."

Aya moved his head back enough so he could see his lover’s face. "I think you owe me a massage, so be quiet." Yohji smiled and kissed him, leisurely and thoroughly, while his hands continued with their gentle caresses. It certainly helped to relax him.

"Okay, your twenty minutes are up." Aya was kissed once more before being patted on his shoulder and forced to sit up. "I have to start getting ready so I’ll look my best for Ayumi."

Aya snorted at that and reluctantly stood up, before pulling on his boxers and yukata. Yohji didn’t bother getting dressed since he’d be jumping in the shower, but he did help Aya by combing his hair and tying it back, the way it had been before they’d made love. When he was done he hugged Aya tightly and nuzzled his ear. "Breakfast tomorrow?"

"Of course." Yohji had to work tonight, and would leave after dinner. They’d spent one night together, and Aya felt a pang of regret that they wouldn’t have many more opportunities to do that. "If you’re nice enough to me, I’ll even make some bacon," he teased Yohji, hard pressed not to smile at the look on his lover’s face when he heard that. Moments later, he was spun around, pushed against a wall and thoroughly kissed.

Aya moaned in happiness at the feel of Yohji’s lean body pressing against his, at the hands cupping his ass so his pelvis rubbed against a growing hardness. His body responded in kind as his fingers tangled in Yohji’s hair.

"I can be incredibly nice to you," Yohji panted a few minutes later. "Would you like a sample right now?"

Aya knew they should start getting ready for dinner, but the sight of Yohji falling to his knees before him, his green eyes dark with desire and a wicked grin on his handsome face had Aya nodding in agreement. He moaned in pleasure as Yohji untied his yukata and pulled down his boxers, and hoped that Ayumi wouldn’t mind them being a little late for dinner.

*******

Ayumi sighed happily as she set her spoon down in the empty bowl before her. Ice cream always tasted so good and refreshing in the summer, never mind that she now had air conditioning to keep her cool the whole season long.

She reached for her cup of tea and had to smile at the sight before her. Yohji was leaning against Aya, his arm around his lover’s waist and a smile on his face. Aya was calmly sipping his tea, but his hand rested on the one settled on his hip. Ayumi was once more struck by their contrasting appearances, Yohji in a dark green silk suit and a pale cream-colored shirt, Aya in a dark blue kimono decorated with red, white and gold peacock feathers. They were both so handsome she could hardly tear her gaze from them.

"Ah, that tasted wonderful. Would anyone like some more dessert?" Ayumi smiled at her guests as she motioned at their empty bowls.

"No thanks, I’m watching my figure," Yohji primly told her as he winked. "I don’t want to get fat and have Aya to leave me."

Aya snorted as he set down the teacup for it to be refilled. "You wouldn’t have to worry about what you eat if you actually did something once in a while. You’re getting lazy. Ken practically does all your laundry for you now, and I haven’t seen you down in the gym in ages."

"Well, I can hardly be bothered with trivial things like laundry, and as for working out…." Yohji leered at Aya and nuzzled his ear. "I thought it might be a bad idea to be in the gym at the same time as you, because the sight of you all sweaty and panting makes me want to…." The rest, to Ayumi’s extreme disappointment, was whispered into Aya’s ear. She started to pout when she saw the faintest of blushes stain her friend’s cheeks.

"Tsk. Yohji, it’s awfully impolite to whisper like that," Ayumi chided.

He grinned at her, his head now resting on Aya’s shoulder. "You’ll just have to imagine what my naughty kitsune self came up with, now won’t you?" He winked at her, another leer spreading across his lips. "Or I can stop by later and give you a demonstration of what I plan on doing to Aya."

Ayumi felt her cheeks become warm at the sensual look Yohji was giving her, and pulled out her fan to wave it menacingly in his direction. "Behave, Yotan, or I’ll call my friend Shunichi. He’s a Shinto priest - he’s sure to know an exorcism spell that will send you packing."

"’Yotan’, eh?" Yohji seemed rather pleased that he’d rated a nickname of his own, considering how much he was grinning. "You wouldn’t do that to your beloved Yotan, now would you?" He looked pleadingly at Ayumi.

She smiled back at him, and in her most cheerful voice, informed him that she would only be too happy to do so. It was hard not to laugh at the crestfallen expression on his face.

"You’re so mean, Ayumi," he sulked before hugging Aya, who had been enjoying his cup of tea in peace, tightly against his side. "Think of how broken-hearted poor Ayan would be if I was gone."

"I could enjoy having a quiet tea with Ayumi if you weren’t here," Aya told him crossly, busy patting at the tea that had been spilt onto his kimono. He was too busy to see the stunned expression on Yohji’s face, an expression which turned predatory before he reached over and snatched the cup from Aya’s hands.

Ayumi had the feeling that she should set down the teacup she’d just sipped from, and quickly swallowed the tea in her mouth. Which was a good thing, as seconds later Yohji tipped both Aya and himself onto the floor, and immediately straddled Aya’s hips. She blushed again when his hands slipped beneath Aya’s kimono, and grabbed her fan to beat some sense into Yohji. Some things just weren’t done during a proper tea. However, as she started to rise to her feet, she noticed that although Yohji was moving his hands up and down Aya’s sides, he didn’t appear to be molesting his lover. "Come on, tell me how much you love me being here. I won’t stop until you do."

Aya, his face flushed, was biting his lips as he glared up at Yohji, but as Ayumi watched, his chin trembled and he began to laugh. The sound startled her, unaccustomed as she was to hearing it. She stared in wonder at her dear friend, who was writhing beneath a smiling Yohji.

"Ha… ah ha… stop… heh," Aya sputtered out between laughs.

"Nope, not before you say what I want to hear," Yohji smugly replied. He leaned closer and stilled his hands, but kept them beneath Aya’s kimono. "Well?"

Aya glared at his lover, but his flushed and laugh tear-streaked face ruined the effect. He muttered something that Ayumi couldn’t catch, and was immediately tickled again. Yohji kept up the assault for another minute before pausing.

Gasping for breath, it took a few seconds for Aya to be able to speak again. "All right, I like you being here," he admitted grudgingly.

Yohji smiled and bent down until his nose touched Aya’s, their faces mostly hidden by his wavy hair. "You *love* me being here with you. Say it, or I’ll tickle you all night long."

There was something that sounded suspiciously like a snarled curse, but as Ayumi approached the couple, she heard Aya telling Yohji what he wanted to hear. That was when the molestation - in her *tearoom* of all places - properly started.

She decided to give Yohji a few minutes to calm Aya down after the attack, telling herself it was because she didn’t want any blood staining her tatami mats. It had nothing to do with the fact that two very lovely men were kissing each other right before her. After a short while, Ayumi sighed in regret and tapped her fan against the back of Yohji’s head. "This is a tearoom, not a bedroom."

Yohji broke off the kiss as he sat up, rubbing his head. "Ow. What is that thing made of, lead?" He rose to his feet and offered Aya a hand up.

"I wish it were, so it would make a better impression against your thick skull." Ayumi sniffed as she tucked the fan back into her obi. Then she smiled at Aya, who was standing there with an adorably dazed expression on his face, and helped to straighten out his robes. "I didn’t know you were ticklish, Ayan."

He gave her a look that appeared almost frightened, before glaring at Yohji. "It’s not something that I like people to know about," he sniffed as he tucked back his disheveled hair.

Yohji chuckled as he grabbed Aya’s chin. "That’s an evil kitsune for you, sniffing out your weaknesses and using them against you." Before Aya could say anything, Yohji leaned forward and ardently kissed him again. Ayumi just stared at the couple, and the next thing she knew, Yohji had snatched the fan from her obi. She had to stifle a giggle as he opened one eye to briefly glare at her before focusing all his attention back on Aya.

Just as she reluctantly decided to fetch a glass of water to toss on the evil fox-spirit, Yohji and Aya slowly broke apart. Ayumi watched Yohji tenderly caress Aya’s cheek. "I have to go now. Remember your promise about breakfast tomorrow."

Aya tugged on a lock of his lover’s hair, a hint of a smile on his lips. "I’m not sure you tickling and kissing me in front of Ayumi constitutes you being nice to me, but…," he drawled as Yohji started to frown, "…a promise is a promise."

"That’s my darling," Yohji remarked lightly. He kissed Aya again, just a peck this time, and then turned to Ayumi. A wicked smile was all the warning she had before he gently yet firmly hugged her and thoroughly kissed her. All she could do was stand there flabbergasted after Yohji released her, smiling and even bowing as he handed back her fan. "My two darlings. Take care of each other, and try not to miss me too much while I’m gone." He winked at them before hurrying out of the room.

Flipping the fan over and over in her hands, Ayumi slowly sank to her pillow. She started when Aya, who was also sitting, handed her a fresh cup of tea. Shaking her head to help clear it, she started giggling. "Oh, Ayan, I’ve handed you over to a proper kitsune, haven’t I?" She giggled some more at the long-suffering look on her friend’s face. "We’ll have to make a special trip to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, and pray to him for sending us one of his own."

Aya sighed and smoothly lifted his cup of tea. "Just remember, Ayumi, that this whole thing was your idea." He gave her a stern look that plainly said that she’d be hearing about Yohji’s antics for a long time to come, since Aya seemed to blame her for them. She smiled as she sipped her tea, not minding the look in the least. Her Ayan-cat was too well mated with his fox, and it was largely thanks to her. She’d make sure that they never forgot that.

*******

Mamoru laughed as he tossed a pillow at Yohji’s head. "Take it back, you idiot."

Yohji easily batted the missile aside and stuck his tongue out at Mamoru. "I won’t. I happen to think you should have stayed with your sister and let her and her friends give you a makeover. How else are you going to attract a nice boyfriend?"

"I told you, I don’t want a boyfriend," Mamoru huffed. "Not everyone is secretly gay, you know."

Yohji rolled his eyes at that. "I never said that, did I? I just think that *you’re* secretly gay." He smiled as Mamoru scowled at him. "Let’s go over the facts, shall we?" Yohji started to tick the points off on his fingers. "There’s a history of homosexuality in your family, you spend all your time with either your sister or three gay men, you’re always wearing wussy shorts, and if you’d put on a little lipstick and eyeliner I bet I could easily find ten guys willing to be your sugar daddy. At least eight of them won’t care that you’re not a girl, either."

"Oh! You…!" Mamoru, indignant, tugged on the pair of shorts he was wearing. What was wrong with them? At least he wasn’t wearing an indecently tight pair of jeans like Yohji was. "You’ve got a filthy mind, Kudoh-san."

Yohji only smiled at the insult. "I know, it’s considered one of my best features. But don’t try and change the subject, kiddo. We should try and find you a nice guy to take care of you." He seemed to think about something for a couple of seconds. "Too bad Ken’s already taken."

Having had enough, Mamoru jumped off the loveseat, snatched a pillow up as he stalked over to Yohji, and swung it at him. "You’re so perverted it’s disgusting! I’m. Not. Gay." He punctuated each word with another swing at a laughing Yohji’s head.

"Try holding it down over his face for a while, maybe that will help the message sink in," Aya calmly told him. Mamoru looked over his shoulder to find his friend walking gracefully into the living room, a tray of snacks in his hands. He whapped Yohji once more with the pillow and helped to clear some space on the coffee table so Aya could set the tray down.

"Oh thanks, Aya. And here I thought you liked me." Yohji sat up on the couch. "Besides, I thought you were saving the honor of smothering me to death for yourself."

There was a hint of a disturbing smile on Aya’s lips as he handed a soda to a pouting Yohji. "I can’t decide if it would be more satisfying to smother you or throw you off the roof."

Yohji, his mouth gaping, could only stare at Aya while Mamoru laughed. It took Yohji a few seconds to recover, and he sent a glare Mamoru’s way before turning to Aya. "To think that I’m the one who’s always called evil. It’s always the quiet ones who are really psycho." He shook his head. "Aren’t we supposed to be watching a movie instead of picking on me?"

"Well, if you behaved for once, we wouldn’t abuse you." Aya snatched the pillow off of the floor that Mamoru had been using to hit Yohji with, and lightly whapped Yohji on the shoulder. "However, if you insist on being so ill-behaved, we have to do something to teach you manners."

As his two friends began to fight over the pillow, Mamoru headed towards the television to start one of the movies. He sank down on the carpet beside the equipment and flipped through the videos that Yohji had rented. After finding an appropriate choice, he looked up at the VCR, which was above the television.

It was a bright day, and the television was opposite the couch, but away from the glare of the glass doors. Looking at the blank screen, Mamoru was treated to a distorted picture of what was going on behind him. He stared at Yohji and Aya pressed tightly together, as if kissing. Not wanting to turn around, he kept an eye on the screen as he turned on the VCR and pushed in the tape. As soon as the machine took it, Yohji and Aya quickly parted. By the time Mamoru had turned around, they were sitting near each other on the couch. Yohji was brushing back his hair, and Aya hugging the pillow against his chest. Both of them were a little flushed, and Yohji kept adjusting the crotch of his jeans and rubbing his ribs.

"I hope you’re in the mood for a comedy," he remarked dazedly as he sat down in the loveseat, not even bothering to fetch a snack or drink for himself. As the movie started, he kept glancing at his friends out of the corner of his eye. He noticed that they were sitting so close they were practically touching. About ten minutes into the movie, Yohji reached over and grabbed the end of Aya’s braid, flicking it against his cheek a few times. Aya grunted and snatched back his hair, yet Mamoru saw his reserved friend smile at Yohji instead of glaring.

Yohji was always flirting with Aya, and from the very start Mamoru had known that the blond had wanted Aya. He also knew that Aya had wanted Yohji, or he never would have been so friendly to him. But they hadn’t seemed about to do anything about the attraction. At least, not until now.

He wondered how long it had been going on. Since Yohji had been attacked? There’d been a special closeness between the older men since that event. He remembered how Yohji had wanted to spend some time alone with Aya for his birthday. Was it because they’d become lovers?

Mamoru felt rather hurt by the possibility that two of his best friends could be having an affair with each other and hadn’t thought to tell him about it. He sulked for several minutes about that, until it occurred to him just why Aya might not want him to know about the relationship. Hirofumi.

While it was true that Hirofumi was the only family member that Mamoru felt close to, he wasn’t blind to his brother’s faults. He knew that Aya had sported bruises in the past because of Hirofumi’s ‘temper’, and that it wasn’t easy living with someone who could physically strike out at you at any time. Or kept you all but trapped inside, day after day. That was why he hadn’t minded Yohji getting close to Aya. However, he never suspected that they’d act on their feelings. He’d thought that Aya cared for Hirofumi - after all, he did such a good job of looking after his brother. And Aya had always seemed happy for Mamoru to spend time with him.

He wasn’t stupid, he knew that Hirofumi was giving Aya money and paying for his sister to live in the United States. It was because Aya was poor and couldn’t support her himself. It didn’t mean anything, especially since Aya and Hirofumi had been together before the scandal with Aya’s father. At least, that was what Mamoru’s brother had told him…. He’d overheard his father yelling at Hirofumi about Aya a couple of months before the Fujimiyas had lost everything. He’d gone running to his big brother later and asked him who this ‘Ran’ was, and why Father didn’t like him. That’s when Hirofumi had first told him about the man he loved.

Now, though, Mamoru was beginning to wonder. Aya had been acting so different since Hirofumi had gone away three weeks ago, more relaxed and happy than he’d been in months. Either that change had come about because of his new relationship with Yohji, or the fact that Hirofumi was gone. Possibly both. Mamoru was faced with the fact that things might not be exactly what he’d thought they were. Also, he was hurt by the fact that Aya might chose Yohji over Hirofumi, and that would be the last he’d see of his friends. He didn’t want to lose them.

Forcing himself to watch the movie, Mamoru decided that he’d have to have a talk with Aya about all this soon.

*******

Aya surveyed his bedroom one more time, making sure that nothing was out of place. It looked the same as it always had, except for the porcelain statue on the low dresser. Kikyou and he had made sure to stop by a store that sold Lladro artworks and purchase several items there. Ayumi had been gifted with two lovely geisha figurines, and Kikyou had taken a couple statues back to Kyoto with him. If Hirofumi checked into the present, he shouldn’t find anything to make him suspicious about where it had come from.

Walking over to his dresser, Aya ran his hands over the cool porcelain. He already missed Yohji. All day yesterday they’d pretended to be out running errands, but had actually been in this room, making love. They’d had to be very careful, so the sex, despite their desperation, had been languid and gentle. It had been late last night before Yohji could finally be convinced to return to his apartment. Aya had hated to see him go.

Hirofumi was returning, in just a couple more hours. There was a slight chance he might stop by today, though Aya suspected he wouldn’t see him until tomorrow. There would be too much attention focused on Hirofumi and his father’s return for him to slip away to the Hanabatake. Still, Aya couldn’t take the risk of Hirofumi stopping by and finding Yohji here.

Trying to distract himself by keeping busy, he went to his kitchen and started to make salmon maki rolls. If his… no, it was impossible to think of Hirofumi as his lover anymore. If his… patron came to see him, he’d have something to serve. If Hirofumi didn’t come by, he’d take the rolls over to Ayumi’s. Losing himself in the activity, Aya spent some of the afternoon cooking.

He’d just cleaned up the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. A quick glance at the clock showed that it was still a couple of hours before Hirofumi’s plane was supposed to arrive. Not that it meant that he couldn’t have left at an earlier time, Aya realized unhappily. Reluctantly, he went to answer the door.

His guest turned out to be Mamoru, dressed in a dark blue suit. Unused to seeing his friend like this, at least outside of any private Takatori functions, Aya confusedly waved him inside the apartment. "Good afternoon, Mamoru."

"Good afternoon, Aya." Mamoru entered and toed off his dress shoes. "I thought I might stop by on the way to the airport."

Ah, that explained the suit. "Are you hungry? I just made some maki." Mamoru’s eyes lit up at that bit of news, and Aya shook his head in amusement as his friend headed straight for the kitchen. He still remembered how hungry he’d been through most of his teenage years. "It’s in the fridge," he called out to Mamoru’s quickly departing form.

He walked at a more leisurely pace to the kitchen, and found his guest serving several of the rolls onto a plate. Mamoru used his fingers to try one, and smiled at him. "They taste great. Thanks."

"You’re welcome." Aya made tea as Mamoru behaved as if he hadn’t eaten all day. Shaking his head, Aya bemusedly thought to himself that he’d have to make something else for later, since now there wasn’t much food left. After the tea was ready, he set two mugs down on the table and helped himself to one of the remaining rolls. The salmon was excellent, but he was too nervous to stomach more than one. The tea helped to soothe him, thankfully.

As they drank, the two of them made small talk to kill the time before Mamoru had to leave for the airport. He asked Aya how Ayumi was doing, and spent some time talking about his sister. A bit distracted, Aya only paid half a mind to the conversation. He’d just finished his tea when Mamoru fell silent for a moment, before asking, "Aya, do you love Hirofumi?"

The question surprised him as much as the serious tone of Mamoru’s voice. His friend had never asked him that question before, and he had to wonder why it was being asked now. "Why do you want to know?" he asked warily.

Mamoru stared down at the table and turned his mug between the palms of his hands. "I… you were so happy while Hirofumi was away. If you loved him, you’d have been sad that he was gone, wouldn’t you?"

In a way, it shouldn’t have surprised Aya that he was being asked about this. The five year anniversary of his agreeing to be Hirofumi’s lover had just been a couple of days ago. Mamoru had grown up over those long years, and would now be noticing things that had passed over him when he’d been a child.

Aya took a few moments to gather his thoughts. "You’re right. I’m sorry to say this, but… I don’t love your brother. Not the way he loves me," he hedged. While Mamoru seemed to have figured out part of the truth, he didn’t need to know all of it.

"But, why did you become his lover, then?" Mamoru asked plaintively. "I mean, things were much better for you back then, when you guys first got together. I know you were pretty young, but why did you become Hirofumi’s lover if you didn’t feel something for him? I don’t understand why you don’t love him now. Did something change?"

Aya stared in confusion at his friend. "What are you talking about?"

Mamoru looked up at him. "Weren’t you lovers before…?" he paused as his cheeks flushed with color. "I mean, weren’t you with Hirofumi back when you were Ran?"

"Where did you get that idea?" Aya asked, the question slipping out of him more sharply than he’d intended. "I never… it was when I changed my name to Aya that we… that I became your brother’s lover."

"Oh." Mamoru thought about that for a moment. "Oh, so you mean you became…." His cheeks turned a brighter shade of red.

Uncomfortable with the conversation, Aya rose from the table to pour himself more tea. He didn’t want to look Mamoru in the eye as he tried to explain things the best way he could. He never felt very comfortable lying. "I’ve known Hiro for years, and always thought of him as a friend. When my parents…." He rubbed his eyes as they started to burn with unshed tears. "Your brother was very generous with his offer when it became clear that I couldn’t support my sister and myself. I thought back then that the affection I felt for him might turn into something stronger."

The room was oppressively silent for a minute, and then Mamoru spoke in a halting voice. "I’ve always believed you were lovers before that happened, and Hirofumi just took care of you when you lost your house and everything." Aya heard the sound of a chair shifting, but didn’t turn around to look at his guest. His cheeks felt warm from the lie he’d just told.

He took a deep breath as he continued to lie with as much conviction as he could muster. There were some things that he didn’t want Mamoru to know. "No, we became lovers afterwards. I needed the money, and though your brother offered me a loan, I knew I could never repay him. Nor could I just accept a gift of money. When your brother made his offer, to take care of my sister and me in return…. Well, I thought it was for the best. He gives me what I need, and I try to make him happy. We get along very well." The lie was bitter in his mouth, but there was some truth to it. Only the part about the offer of a loan or outright gift was completely false.

The chair scraped again, and a few seconds later Mamoru hesitantly touched Aya’s arm. He turned around to look at his friend. "You don’t love him, even after all these years together?"

"No."

Mamoru looked at him steadily. "Do you love Yohji? Is that why you’re sleeping with him?"

That question had been so unexpected, even after all the ones before it, that Aya didn’t have the chance to guard his expression. Judging by the look in Mamoru’s eyes, he wouldn’t be able to lie his way out of this. So he decided to tell the complete truth.

"I love him. He’s the reason why I’ve been so happy lately." He still had an hour or so before Hirofumi arrived, and that should be enough time for Yohji to disappear.

"I see." Mamoru sighed and then hugged Aya’s arm tightly, surprising him again. "Thanks for not treating me like a kid and lying to me. I saw you two kissing last week, you need to be more careful, you know." He offered Aya a trembling smile. "Only two more questions, okay? I’m sorry for being such a pest, but I need to know something." Aya nodded, rendered mute from too many shocks in such a short time.

"Are you planning on leaving Hirofumi for Yohji?" Aya shook his head. "Do you think Yohji loves you back?" He nodded. Mamoru’s smile got wider and he led Aya back to the table. "Okay, that’s all I need to know. You’re my friend, Aya, the best one I have. I want you to be happy, and I don’t want to lose you." His smile slipped for a second. "I know it’s hard, living like this and putting up with Hirofumi’s moods. A part of me always wondered why he didn’t let you live somewhere more private, but…." Mamoru blushed again and ducked his head. "You’re not leaving, right?"

"I’m not going anywhere," Aya solemnly told his friend. No matter what Yohji’s dreams and talk of having hope, Aya knew he’d never leave the Hanabatake unless Hirofumi allowed him to do so. He knew better than to hope for that. "Are you going to tell him about Yohji and me?"

"Nah. I do want you to be happy, Aya, and Yohji seems to be good for you. Just be careful, okay?"

He reached out and ruffled Mamoru’s hair affectionately, and smiled at the boy when he looked up at him. "I’m not blond," he joked rather weakly.

"Oh!" Mamoru’s eyes narrowed in annoyance, and he brushed aside Aya’s hands. "I take that back, Yohji has clearly been very bad for you. Don’t start with the blond jokes."

"Correction, I should have said I’m not Yohji. I know better than to act like that idiot." Aya gazed at Mamoru as he sipped his cooling tea, and felt relieved when his friend smiled at him. "Thank you."

It seemed that he didn’t need to elaborate on what he was thanking Mamoru for, since the teenager just smiled at him and nodded. Then Mamoru sighed, the smile fading away as he slouched in the chair. "I need to get going. Thanks for the food, Aya. I hope to see you in a day or two." He stood up and straightened his jacket before bowing. "I’ll pick up some sushi to make up for eating all of yours tonight."

"Take care, Mamoru," Aya wished his friend as he saw him to the door. When Mamoru had gone, he thought about going to see Yohji and telling his lover that there was another person in on their secret. However, he decided against it. Hirofumi was on his way home, and he couldn’t just go see Yohji whenever he liked anymore. They had to be more careful. Tucking back his bangs, Aya forced himself to walk away from the door and towards his kitchen.

*******

Yohji stood on his balcony, smoking and uncaring about the heat and the humidity. It was cooler inside his apartment, but that was the last place he wanted to be right now. He’d just walk over to the wall he shared with Aya’s apartment and press against it, concentrating to catch any sounds from the other side. Anxious to hear Aya moaning, either in pain or pleasure. He honestly didn’t know which would be worse. The thought of Hirofumi fucking Aya was just as bad as him hitting Yohji’s lover.

His teeth clamped on the filter of his cigarette. He didn’t like the idea one bit that Aya was screwing another man. It filled him with rage and an overwhelming sense of possessiveness, and made the thought of going next door, grabbing Takatori off Aya and throwing him into a wall so damn tempting. How the hell did Aya put up with him servicing his clients? Yohji knew his lover wasn’t happy about his job, but Aya didn’t seem to let it bother him this much.

He tossed aside the chewed cigarette butt and pulled another stick out of his pack. Yayoi would be arriving soon, he really should be getting ready for her. There was a bottle of sake chilling in the fridge, but he needed to order some takeout. She liked to have something to eat while she drank.

Yohji laughed bitterly as he lit his cigarette. It would just be another night of work for him and Aya. Gods, how had their lives become so screwed up? At least by working, he’d be distracted from what was happening next door. As he smoked his cigarette, it occurred to him that he had many of these nights in his future and that made him sigh as he leaned against the balcony wall. As long as Takatori was paying Aya, Yohji would have to sit by and let the bastard fuck his lover. It wasn’t right.

Tossing aside his half finished cigarette, he walked into his apartment. The cool air was welcome, but he didn’t pause to enjoy it. He had an idea in his head, and he wanted to get to work on it as soon as possible. After sliding the balcony door shut behind him, he walked over to his phone. He dialed a number and waited for an answer. It didn’t take more than two rings for Mamoru to pick up.

Yohji cut straight to the chase. "Hey kiddo, it’s Yohji. I have a favor to ask of you." He didn’t have the time to dance around the issue, especially since he only had about a half hour before his client showed up.

"Yohji?" Mamoru sounded confused for a moment, but quickly perked up. "How are you doing? What do you want?"

"I’m doing okay. Listen, I’ve decided to buy a computer, and figured since you’re the closest thing to a computer expert that I know, I’d bother you. How are you doing?" he added as an afterthought. The kid didn’t sound like his usual cheerful self.

"I’m okay." Mamoru’s voice became quiet. "I’m… spending the night at home, with my father."

"Sorry to hear that." Yohji meant it. Takatori Reiji, by all of Aya’s accounts, was a real asshole. No wonder he had such a fucked up son. "Hey, if you can get away after school tomorrow, I’ll treat you to an hour at an arcade. We can stop by after looking at computers."

"You really want a computer?" Mamoru now sounded curious, more upbeat. "I didn’t think you knew how to use one." Yohji let the comment slide. "If I do this for you, you’re treating me to two hours, and dinner as well."

Unhappy at the thought of spending that much time away from home and Aya, Yohji gritted his teeth. If he was going to do this, he had to do it right, and that meant having the damn brat’s help. "All right, you little extortionist. You better help me find a really good computer. I want the fastest one you can find, and one with lots of memory."

"You going to surf the net for some porn?"

"Ha ha." If Mamoru had been with him he’d have smacked him on the head for that. "I’m living a porno film, I don’t have to download some poorly made one off the net." What he needed was a computer like the ones in the University of Tokyo’s library, something that would be great for researching things on the Internet. He’d also need a really good firewall, and would have to think about how he could explain that to his friend. That meant having Mamoru’s help in setting up all he’d require. Yohji was pretty good at doing searches, but it had been Asuka who had handled the buying and maintenance of their work PC.

"It shouldn’t take us very long to find you what you need. I’ll meet you at your place tomorrow, right after class. Make sure to bring lots of money when we go out," Mamoru warned him. "I’m gonna cost you almost as much as the computer."

"Damn brat," Yohji muttered as his friend laughed. "Just get here as soon as you can. See you tomorrow."

"I’ll see you then." Mamoru told him cheerfully before hanging up. Yohji looked at the phone for a moment, shaking his head as he thought about how much money he’d be spending tomorrow, the kid’s threat aside. It made him feel guilty about the fact that he’d sold his old work computer, but he reminded himself that it would be hopelessly out of date by now. Besides, considering who he’d be checking up on, it would be best if he had something top of the line.

Ever since he’d found out about Aya’s past, he’d had a bad feeling about Hirofumi. The conversations he’d had with Ayumi hadn’t helped with laying his suspicions to rest. It was definitely suspicious that Hirofumi had approached Aya when he had, as if he had been well aware of just how desperate Aya’s finances were. It was also shady how he’d managed to get what he’d wanted so much, meaning Aya, over something that his father was involved in.

Yohji had been focused on Aya these past couple of months, and had left the mystery of his lover’s family shame alone. It was time to resume his digging into Aya’s past. If he was correct, Hirofumi had had some role in what had happened to Aya’s father. He expected that, at the very least, Hirofumi had been privy to some information that he shouldn’t have been, and hadn’t done a thing to help Aya’s father defend himself. Yohji just hoped that whatever proof he found was enough to convince Aya to leave the bastard.

Well, there was only one way to find out, wasn’t there? As soon as he had his computer, Yohji was going to put his old skills to the test. This time he wouldn’t be distracted by anything, and wouldn’t stop until he had all the answers. He had to do something, and this was the best he could think of at the moment.

He just prayed that he found something before jealousy overrode his common sense.

*******

Aya sat in his tub, shivering as the water started to cool. He wanted to allow the water to drain and to replace it with some that was much hotter, but he couldn’t seem to make himself move towards the taps. He was sitting with his knees pressed against his chest, his arms hugging them tightly and his chin resting on top.

It had been so incredibly difficult, the past day with Hirofumi. Even knowing that his… patron would be returning hadn’t prepared him for what he’d felt seeing Hirofumi walking towards him yesterday morning. Feeling the man’s hands touch him, forcing himself to touch him back and kiss him. To allow even more than that, and to feel pleasure. Aya shivered and hugged his legs even tighter against him.

It had been worse than his first time. At least then he hadn’t known what to expect, and had been shocked by the care Hirofumi had lavished on him, making sure he felt pleasure. He hadn’t known the difference between fucking someone and making love back then, in truly wanting his lover in return. This time he’d had to force himself to blank his mind and to just feel so his body would react to Hirofumi’s caresses before his lack of desire raised suspicions. Aya had been very careful not to think of Yohji at all the entire time. He couldn’t afford any slips, and he refused to taint what he had with his lover by imagining Yohji in Hirofumi’s place.

Hirofumi had finally left for work this morning, and Aya had headed directly for his bathroom once he was alone. His skin still ached from the scrubbing he’d given it, and was red from more than just the heat of the bath water. All that had kept him from seeking out the box in his closet had been the thought of Yohji and the fact that Hirofumi wouldn’t be returning for a couple of days. He’d be too busy catching up on the work he’d missed while traveling with his father to be able to see Aya.

While Aya struggled to turn his thoughts away from suicide and Hirofumi, he felt the air around him suddenly turn cool. He looked behind him to see Yohji standing in the doorway. His lover was dressed in sweatpants and a tank top, and looked as tired as he felt. "Yohji."

"Aya." Yohji slowly approached the tub and sat down on his haunches. After running a hand through his hair, Yohji reached out and gently brushed his fingers along Aya’s cheekbone. "How are you?"

Aya shook his head. "What are you doing here?" He suddenly had second thoughts about having given Yohji a key to his apartment last week. It might turn out to be an unwise decision, if Yohji could enter at any time, possibly when Hirofumi was here.

"Checking up on you. You look tired, Ayan."

Resting his hand on top of the one cradling his face, Aya sighed in weariness and leaned towards his lover. "I feel tired. You don’t look much better yourself, you know." Yohji had dark circles around his eyes, and reeked of cigarette smoke.

His lover chuckled, but didn’t sound very amused. "I had a hell of a lousy night, and didn’t get much sleep. I got up early this morning and made Ayumi feed me. She’s not nearly as good at making eggs as you are." Yohji scooted closer to the tub and draped his arm over Aya’s shoulders. "She had the guards inform her when Hirofumi left, and wouldn’t let me come over until just now." He patted something in his pocket. "She’ll call if he comes back for any reason."

Part of Aya knew that this was extremely risky, but he needed Yohji here too much right now to tell him to leave. "You won’t have much time to get away if he does return," he reluctantly pointed out.

"Enough to hide in your closet, at least." Yohji bent his head and kissed Aya, the caress soft and undemanding. "I’m aware that this isn’t very smart, Aya, but…. I needed to see you," he finished in a ragged whisper.

It wasn’t very smart, but Aya was finding that he didn’t care. He hadn’t thought about having the guards warn him when Hirofumi came for a visit, and was glad that Ayumi had. "Keep the phone nearby," he told his lover. Then, in a much gentler voice, "I’m glad you came." They kissed again, and Aya found the will to unfurl from the tight position he’d curled up in.

A couple of minutes later, Yohji was pulling out the tub’s drain. "Come on, let’s get you dried off." He helped Aya stand up, and then tenderly wrapped him in a large towel. As Aya patted himself down, Yohji tended to his hair, which he hadn’t bothered to pin up after washing it. "Do you want something to eat?"

"No." Wrapping the towel around him and picking up his comb, Aya went to his bedroom. He sat down on the end of his bed and started to work at the tangled mess that was his hair. Within seconds the comb was taken from him as Yohji sat next to him.

"Let me do this, I’m getting good at it." It felt so nice to have Yohji near him and touching him that Aya graciously gave in. He hugged his arms around his chest while Yohji combed his hair, trying hard not to think about how he’d spent the night with Hirofumi. The more he tried not to, the more his thoughts centered on how he’d laid in the bed, in Hirofumi’s arms, and hadn’t been able to sleep. His body still ached from the sex, and he’d brushed his teeth enough times that the taste of mint made him feel faintly nauseous. Rubbing his eyes, Aya wanted the memories to just go away.

Once Yohji was done, Aya turned around and cupped his lover’s face between his hands. He leaned forward and kissed him passionately, and felt reassured at the taste of cigarettes and the feel of stubble against his chin. He adored how thick Yohji’s hair was, how soft the long strands felt. Yohji was different from Hirofumi in every possible way, and just kissing him helped Aya tamp down the disgust and nausea that had plagued him all morning long.

Together, they fell onto the bed, onto crisp, clean smelling sheets. He’d changed them while Hirofumi had showered, and now they’d smell like Yohji, of tobacco and cloves. Aya ran a hand under Yohji’s top, along a lean torso. The depth of the sudden wave of desire that washed through him amazed Aya. This was Yohji he was touching, was kissing. This was the man he loved and wanted so much it hurt. He pulled him closer, needing to feel that warm, lanky body against his own.

"Aya… when is he coming back?" It took a moment for Aya to make sense of the question. He thought about it for a couple of seconds before replying.

"Not until Saturday." He pulled his hand away from Yohji’s chest and searched out the phone, which he carefully set on the nightstand. "If it rings, you better run."

Yohji laughed at that comment. "I’ll be gone in a flash, I promise. With my luck, though, it’ll be Ken seeing if I want to have lunch with him." He tugged on Aya’s towel. "I’ll go out later today and buy a new one, and only give the number to Ayumi and you. And I’ll start wearing yukatas more often, since they’re so easy get to back into." Once the towel fell open, he slid his hand down Aya’s stomach and gently stroked along his thigh. "Aya… what do you want?"

The answer was an easy one. "I want you." Aya rested his hand possessively on Yohji’s ass, the only padded part to his lover. As much as he adored feeling Yohji inside him, he wanted to be on top this time. He didn’t want to just burn away the memory of Hirofumi fucking him, he wanted to remember what it felt like to make love, to remember that this was Yohji he was with. He wanted to do something that Hirofumi hadn’t done with him last night.

"You got me," Yohji told him as he wiggled his wonderful ass. "I take it you want to be top?"

Aya kissed him deeply before answering. "Yes. I want you, Yohji." Not just a fuck. He didn’t want something taken from him yet again, but to be given something. He wanted to be able to give something back.

"Good." Yohji nipped teasingly at his bottom lip before crushing Aya against him. "I want you too. You make it feel so good, Ayan, I don’t care how I have you. Top or bottom or just holding you close." He laughed gleefully as he rocked against Aya. "Though I’ll be a bit disappointed if the last is all you feel like, after getting me this hot for you."

His face felt odd, and Aya dazedly realized it was because he was smiling. There hadn’t been much cause to do that the past couple of days. "Just pray that the phone doesn’t ring," he told his lover as he stripped off the tank top. They were insane for doing this, but he needed it too much. So did Yohji, judging from how tightly he was being held and how passionate their kisses were.

"Oh, I certainly am," Yohji breathed against his lips. As they kissed, the both of them worked on getting Yohji’s pants off of him. He was naked underneath, and the feel of all that golden skin pressed against his made Aya feel a hundred times more cleansed than the bath had. He rolled them across the bed, to the side he normally slept on, and stopped with Yohji beneath him.

There was a bottle of lubricant on his nightstand, and as he teased Yohji’s nipples with his mouth and one hand, the other was slicked up and pressed against Yohji’s tight opening.

As his finger entered Yohji, Aya found his head pulled up for a searing kiss. He started to stroke his lover’s cock while their tongues slid inside each other’s mouths. The thought of the phone ringing and bringing a premature end to this had him quickly adding another finger inside Yohji’s delectable body, and rocking against his lover with a building passion. Hands dug into Aya’s shoulders as slick skin slid along slick skin, provoking a wonderful friction that had them both moaning.

He flicked his fingers about, and had to smile again at the way Yohji gasped out his name and writhed beneath him. So lovely and eager, his lover was, naked before him to enjoy and drive wild with bliss. Aya’s world narrowed down to the body beneath his, to provoking more of those gasps and moans, to roaming his mouth over as much salty, golden skin as possible as his fingers twisted and scissored about.

"Aya… gods, do it already," Yohji breathed out. "Do it or I’ll fucking tease you ten times as much when it’s my turn."

Dipping his head for a few seconds, Aya savored the panting lips beneath his as he withdrew his fingers. He fumbled between the mattresses for a moment, searching for the condoms he’d hidden there. Finding one, he reluctantly pulled away from his lover to prepare himself.

It seemed that he was taking too long to tear the foil package open, because Yohji snatched it from him and did it for him. Then his lover stroked his hand along Aya’s cock, making him groan and jerk his hips forward. Yohji grinned wickedly as he slid the lubricated condom onto his arousal with a practiced touch. "Enough already. Do it, Aya, or I’ll throw *you* off the roof."

What was it about Yohji that he could always make Aya smile? Pushing Yohji impatiently back onto the bed, Aya settled between his thighs, resting long, toned legs onto his shoulders. He paused to kiss the inside of Yohji’s velvety-smooth thigh, knowing that his lover was especially sensitive there. As Yohji let out a shuddering breath, Aya sheathed himself inside his lover.

He had to take a deep breath and slowly let it out before he could start moving. It always shocked him, feeling this warm, clenching vise along his cock, and knowing that he was inside Yohji. It felt so incredibly good, and he didn’t think he’d ever get used to this. "You feel perfect, Yotan," he breathed against Yohji’s sensitive skin.

"I’d feel a hell of a lot better if you’d move," he was gruffly told. A small laugh was startled out of him, and he leaned down to kiss Yohji before doing as he’d been told. It amazed him how quickly he could settle on a rhythm that had them both clutching at each other and gasping from the pleasure. He usually liked to take things slow, but he was still conscious of the risk they were taking. His thrusts became faster as he started to stroke his lover’s cock, and he almost came when Yohji jerked beneath him and cried out his name.

The lovemaking took on a frantic tone, spurring the pace on. Yohji’s fingers pressed deeper into his shoulders as Aya thrust as deeply as he could inside his lover’s body, aiming for that certain spot again and again. Somehow Yohji had wrapped his hands around the long strands of Aya’s hair and was pulling on them until he had to hunch himself over his lover. Yohji suddenly cried out again, almost yelling Aya’s name this time, and the feel of hot, velvety flesh contracting around his proved too much for Aya. He came immediately after his lover did, his hips pistoning forward a few more times before he slumped against Yohji’s chest.

A pair of trembling arms encircled him and a tender kiss was pressed against the top of his head. Aya let Yohji’s legs slide off his shoulders as they slowly straightened out, and sighed with regret as he withdrew from his lover’s body. Reaching for some tissues, he cleaned his hand and Yohji’s stomach, and wrapped them around the used condom before dropping them into the small trash can near his bed. He was immediately pulled back down, against a sweaty chest, and he breathed in deeply as his body relaxed.

They were still for several minutes as he thought about how Yohji’s touch didn’t make him want to go running to the bathroom and scrub himself raw. Instead, he felt sleepy and sated and utterly content. "We can’t fall asleep," he mumbled as he fought to keep his eyes open.

"I know, Ayan," Yohji answered as fingers combed soothingly through his hair. "Dammit, can’t we send Hiro back to America or something?"

Forcing himself to sit up before he gave into temptation and slept, Aya shook his head as he threaded his fingers between Yohji’s. "I’m afraid not. He won’t be leaving any time soon, since he was away for so long." He paused as he thought about what Hirofumi had said to him last night. "I… he told me that if he ever goes away for longer than two weeks, he wants me to go with him." Part of the shame he’d felt all last night and this morning returned, making him shiver. "He said I could wear a wig and contacts for the trip, and pretend that I was his assistant." Aya laughed bitterly at that. "I can only imagine what my job description would be."

In an instant, Yohji’s arms were about him and holding him tight. "Don’t, Aya. Don’t think about him now. Not when you’re here with me."

All Yohji ever had to do was hold him like this, and the shame slowly faded away. It was hard to feel it when the man he loved made him feel so cherished instead. But Yohji couldn’t stay beside him forever, and the shame would return, driving Aya to sit on the floor in his closet, holding a small cedar chest on his lap.

Aya wondered why it was he’d never told Yohji that he loved him. He suspected that he was loved in return, and it should be such a simple thing to say the words. But the consequences of them being spoken out loud always made him hold them back. If he did, certain options would no longer be available to him, certain acts would be all that much harder to bear. So he said something that neither of them wanted to hear instead.

"I have to think about him, Yohji. We have to always keep him in mind, and be more careful than we’ve been the past few weeks." He lifted his head to look at his lover. "We haven’t been as careful as we thought. Mamoru knows."

Yohji was clearly shocked by the news, and his arms tightened possessively around Aya’s shoulders. "How? What… how do you know?"

"He stopped by the day before yesterday and told me. We never should have kissed around him, he saw us that night. We can’t be that stupid again," he warned his lover.

Yohji sighed and tucked back a strand of Aya’s hair. "What does he think about us?"

Nuzzling the hand that now cupped his cheek, Aya closed his eyes and leaned against Yohji. "He’s confused about a few things. He thought I’d been Hiro’s lover from before… well, before I moved here, and that I loved him back. He took the news pretty well that I don’t, and promised to keep quiet about us. Mamoru told me he only wants us to be happy."

"That’s all I want," Yohji said in a husky voice. He stroked Aya’s cheek as he seemed to think about something. "I’ll go get that phone as soon as I leave here, and I’ll buy one for you too. We should probably use my bedroom from now on. If Hiro stops by unexpectedly, you can tell him you were visiting Ayumi or someone else. I won’t so much as touch you if we’re not alone or with Ayumi, as difficult as that’ll be."

Aya had to smile at the weary tone of his lover’s voice. "I know, Yotan." It was his turn to sigh. "We’re just lucky that Ken hasn’t found out about us yet."

"Why is that?" Yohji loosened his hold and scooted towards the end of the bed. He picked up his tank top and pulled it on. "I’d think it would be a hell of a lot worse for Mamoru to know."

Gathering his hair over one shoulder, Aya started to comb his fingers through it and work out the tangles. "Because of his lover." As Yohji cocked an eyebrow at him while in the process of pulling on his sweatpants, Aya chewed on the bottom of his lip and resigned himself to talking about things he usually never mentioned. "Kase works for the Yakuza."

Yohji snapped the band of his pants and sat back down on the bed. "Really? I had my suspicions, but are you sure?"

"Yes. He’s not an official member, but more of a go-between. The company he works for has ties to several of the organizations that operate in the Hanabatake, and he’s…." Aya tried to think about how he wanted to say this. For some reason, it hurt more to betray Hirofumi’s secrets than it did the man himself. "Hirofumi has used him a few times, when he or his father needed the Yakuza to do something for them. Or vice versa."

His lover snorted. "Aya, that’s been the way of things for a long, long time. I’m not surprised that the Takatoris have dealings with the Yakuza, I’m just shocked that Ken’s somehow involved in this. He can’t possibly know."

"No, I don’t think he does." Aya had thought differently at first, but after getting to know Ken, he didn’t believe that his friend knew what Kase truly did for a living. He didn’t know if Ken was an idiot or simply blessed by ignorance. "Anyway, while I doubt Ken would want to cause us any trouble, if he let slip to his boyfriend about us, Hiro might find out."

Yohji reached over and grabbed Aya’s chin, his expression solemn. "Why didn’t you say anything before now?"

Aya stared into his lover’s eyes and brushed his fingers along Yohji’s hand. "Because… I didn’t want to keep thinking about how dangerous what we’re doing really is, and what’s all against us. I guess I’ve been friends with Ayumi too long. I just wanted to concentrate on being with you, and not ruin things by thinking too much." He hadn’t wanted to face the truth after he’d decided to be Yohji’s lover.

"Ayan." Yohji said his name in such an affectionate, sensual manner that Aya shivered in pleasure. His green eyes glittered with intense emotion, never shifting away from his gaze for even a second. "We’ll talk later, about everything I need to know if we’re to pull this off. I don’t care whose secrets you betray or confidences you break, you will tell me everything. I’ll be by for breakfast tomorrow, and bring you your new phone. We’ll sit down and map out what exactly we have to do to keep anyone else from finding out about us." He leaned forward until their lips were centimeters apart. "I’m not giving you up, and I won’t allow you to be hurt. Be prepared to talk tomorrow."

Faced with such determination, all Aya could do was nod, but then he moaned as Yohji kissed him. There was so much passion in the caress, he was ready to fall back down on the bed and make love all afternoon, to hell with the risk. Luckily, Yohji decided he’d be the logical one, and soon broke off the embrace. "I’ll see you tomorrow, around ten," Aya was told sternly. "Now get some rest." Yohji smiled tenderly at him and caressed his face. "You look a bit better, but Ayumi would freak if she saw you right now. I won’t have her thinking that I’m not taking care of you." With that, Yohji walked out of the room.

Aya watched his lover go, and gazed sadly at the empty doorway for several minutes afterwards. It slowly dawned on him that even though Hirofumi was back, and as bleak as things now were, he still had hope for Yohji and him. Shaking his head at that foolish thought, he bent down to pick up his towel and headed for his bathroom. He’d wash off again and change his sheets, just in case. Then he’d take a nap before spending the evening with Ayumi. He’d have to thank her for the idea about the guards calling her, and see if she had any other ideas for this situation. It was clear that Ayumi was doing her best to protect him. Maybe he would take her out to dinner in appreciation of her thoughtfulness. Mamoru had plans for tonight, so it would just be the two of them.

Feeling the best he had since Hirofumi had returned, Aya set off for his bath.

*******

Yohji walked out of the computer store, a couple hundred thousand yen poorer but happy. The computer should arrive in a few days, and then he could get back to work. He found himself itching to be busy with a new case after so long.

"So, where do you want to go now?" he asked Mamoru. "There’s an arcade just down the street, if you’re ready to play." As far as he was concerned, the brat’s two hours started as of right now. Yohji wanted to get home in time to have tea with Ayumi and Aya before going to work.

Mamoru glanced down the street and shook his head. "I think I want to eat. It’s hard work, spending someone else’s money."

"You poor thing," Yohji remarked snidely as he tousled Mamoru’s hair. "What are you in the mood for? It better be quick, cause your two hours are ticking away."

"I think I’m more interested in food than games, Yohji." His friend stuck out his tongue. "I just remembered how lousy you are at them, and have decided that I’ll save my two hours for a night when Aya and Ken can join us. So buy me some okonomiyaki and I’ll let you go. You must want to spend some time with Aya."

In the process of lighting a cigarette, Yohji paused and glanced warily at Mamoru. When nothing more was said for a minute, he grunted and blew out a puff of smoke. "I’d like that. I’m supposed to have tea with Ayumi and him."

"Ah." Mamoru kept looking ahead and not at him. "Aya has his own computer, you know. You could have asked to use his."

They walked for the rest of the block in silence. When they reached the crosswalk, Yohji tossed his cigarette aside and tucked back a strand of hair that kept falling into his eyes. "I could have, but I didn’t. I don’t think it would be very wise, me hanging out in his place while surfing the net for porn."

"No, it wouldn’t. Hiro doesn’t like it when he finds Aya entertaining someone other than Ayumi and me." The light flashed, signaling it was safe for them to cross the street. "Just something for you to keep in mind."

"Trust me, kiddo, your brother is on my mind a lot lately. I won’t let Aya get hurt," he informed Mamoru, thinking this would be yet another time he’d been threatened about doing just that. "I care about him too much to allow that to happen."

Mamoru squeezed his arm affectionately and smiled at him. "I know, Yohji. Just be sure to keep yourself from harm, too. You’re not getting out of those two hours so easily."

Yohji had to laugh, and he stopped to hug Mamoru to him. "The thought never crossed my mind, or I’d have thrown myself in front of a bus back there. Just go easy on me, okay? Give me a couple of weeks to make enough money to treat you and Ken to a night out."

Laughing himself, Mamoru hugged him back and then tugged him down the street, towards where Yohji’s car was parked. "Don’t forget Aya, though he really doesn’t like playing games."

"I never forget about Aya, kiddo, not for a single second."

*******

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