Cathedrals

by nekojita

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Chapter 1

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Disclaimer: No, I donít own WeiŖ at all outside of my twisted fantasies. But Teddy is all mine, that boy is so fun to play with. And Cassandra also (well, maybe not quite as fun).

Disclaimer #2: Okay, donít know if youíve read any of Kabukiís wonderful fics (if you havenít, do so right away, you wonít regret it). If you have you might notice a few familiar seeming plot themes, whatever. It is purely unintentional. You have no amount of the screaming we do when we beta each otherís stories. Much of it along the lines of Ďyou bitch, I am/will be writing something just like that. Shi-ne.í (re: Youjiís multilingualism and the Humphrey Bogart movie festival, just to name two). Put it down to two great and evil minds thinking alike, or something like that, and enjoy two different approaches to the thing. Waiting to find out we were part of some telepathic gene program when we were children. The dreaded A-gene. Anyways, rambled on enough, hereís the story.

*******

"Aya, Iím telling you the guy was checking out your ass!"

"So? I donít recall having ĎProperty of Yohji Kudohí emblazoned upon it, whatís the big deal?

"He. Was. Checking. Out. Your. Ass." Yohji fairly snorted out each word, hands itching to grab ahold of his oblivious lover and shake some sense into that pretty red head of his.

"Once more, so what? That still doesnít entitle you to dousing a customer with the water hose!" Violet eyes glared at the possessive blond. "You donít see me doing that to all of your admirers, do you?"

"Ha. You hardly acknowledge their existence, being much too busy trying to glare me to death instead. And none of them have me bending over and reaching for every out of the way plant or flower for over ten minutes just so they could stare at my goods. Youíre lucky I didnít deck the guy. That was sexual harassment."

Aya rubbed his temples in response to his growing headache. "And what do you call it when you do it?"

"Sign of affection." The blond smiled nervously at the growls his kitten was producing. It never paid to piss Aya off near the end of a shift, the rest of the night was usually spent groveling to get back into the manís good graces, but damn it. He was not about to stand here and get bitched at for scaring away some pervert who was harassing his boyfriend. The redhead must be made to understand that Yohji had been acting in his best interest. Of course it would help matters if he didnít have the reputation of being a highly jealous boyfriend. But when you were dating a gorgeous man who couldnít grasp the concept that other people were constantly trying to pick him up, it became a bit of a strain. The blond didnít deal well with strangers attempting to steal away the smaller man right in front of him.

Yohji turned to his fellow co-workers. "Guys, help me out here."

Omi and Ken exchanged terrified glances. The two younger assassins had tried to clean up the store as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, just avoid a situation like this one. If they could have snuck off during the fight they would have. But then they wouldíve had to face an Aya who was not only angry with them for skipping work, but furious due to his fight with Yohji. Not a good combination. Usually the tactic worked, but not tonight. And they were so close to being finished.

Omi swallowed nervously, then offered his opinion. "Ah, Yohji-kun, you could have been a bit moreÖ diplomatic in how you treated the man. He was a paying customer, after all." The youth quickly ducked his head at the glower directed his way by green eyes.

"Yeah, well, the guy /was/ a bit of a lech. If it had been any of the fan club heíd been looking at like that, Iím sure nobody would be objecting." Ken knew if it had been Omi that the pervert had been checking out he would have punched the man, customer or not. However, he purposely avoided looking at the teamís leader, concentrating instead on the pile of debris heíd been sweeping. He could feel the glare he was receiving by way of the chills running up and down his spine.

"See, Kenken has a point." Kenken was wishing heíd kept his mouth shut. "I was doing the whole shop a favor by drenching that hentai bastard. No telling what he might have done if he stuck around." Yohji glared over at the swordsman, willing the man to see his point.

"You still over-reacted. For all you know another minute or two and he might have bought something and left."

"Or he could have been busy trying to rip off your clothes and trip you to the floor. You should be a little more thankful to the man who saved your precious virtue."

"Kudoh." Omi Ďeepedí and Ken dropped the broom at that tone of voice, and both of them started to carefully back away from the embattled lovers. Things /never/ went well when Aya said the playboyís name like that.

As for Yohji, the man was grinning weakly, cursing himself for adding that last bit. "Uh, kitten, have I told you how much I loved you lately?" The red headís response was a snarl. Oh boy, looks like he was at the point where the groveling started. "Really, love, I didnít mean to soak the man that much. The hose just sort ofÖ slipped. I did wait ten minutes, after all. Last time something like this happened the I lost it under five. Donít you think you should be commending me on my restraint?" One of these days he would learn when to shut up. On the other hand, judging by the way Aya was rubbing his temples, he might get out of this by being so much of a headache the redhead dropped the subject. Granted, he would be made to pay for the incident later, but that was later. There was always a chance the vindictive man would forget, however slim. Make that miniscule, but it was still a chance. "Be thankful I went with water. I had debated tossing a pot of azaleas at his head. Wouldnít have been any danger of hitting you, considering you were bent in half at the time. But I remembered how mad you got when I dropped the plant on that touchy feely womanís foot last week."

That was it, the swordsman thought; he needed some Advil before he killed somebody. Namely a certain irritating blond. Aya stormed over to his workstation and the ever-present bottle of headache medicine that could be found there. Since this relationship with Yohji had started heíd been buying the stuff in bulk. Using the last of his tea to wash down several of the green pills, he counted to ten before looking over at his boyfriend. "The next time you decide to Ďsave my virtueí like that again, youíll be working the morning shift, /alone/ for a month. Understood?"

Which was a nice way to say no morning sex or playtime at work for several weeks. Yohji would have to wrack his brains to come up with a new way to discourage the damn would-be poachers. "Got it. No more hosing down or chucking plants at the customers. Any suggestions on what I can do to the perverts next time they try something?" he asked sarcastically.

Aya shook out two more of the pills and swallowed them dry. "Kudoh, donít push it or youíll be sleeping by yourself for the next week."

Okay, that was a not so nice way of saying heíd be cut off for seven days, at the very least. "Iím shutting up." Glancing around he noticed that the shop was clean and all the chores done. There were a few benefits to starting a fight at closing time, if he managed to not spend the night alone in his bed it would almost be worth it. "Looks like Ken and Omi pretty much cleaned up everything. Want to go out and grab a bite to eat?"

"No."

"Aw, come on, Aya. Iím sorry. There, I said it. Even though the guy deserved it. So get out of the snit youíre in and go get changed. My treat tonight."

"I said no." The red head walked around the shop, finishing one or two things, putting away the abandoned broom. Yohji trailed after him, frowning at the younger man. Aya had just turned down a free meal. If he didnít shake the man out of the foul mood he was in real soon it was going to be a cold and lonely night

"We could stop by that bookstore you like so much." Maybe bribery would work.

"Hn." Great. At least before he was getting actual words. Things were so not looking good. Figuring that since his boyfriend was already pissed it wouldnít make much difference if he smoked in the shop, the blond lit a cigarette. About to snap at the smoker, the smaller man paused at a knock on the door. Yohji crossed the room and opened it, finding a red headed woman waiting outside.

"Manx, what a surprise. Another minute or two and we could have made good our escape."

"Sorry Kudoh, got held up in traffic. Is everyone still here?" The Kritiker go-between searched the flower shop for all four of the assassins.

"Aya and I are, but you better hurry if you want to catch the younger ones." The two teenagers had learned quickly to flee the house when a major fight was in the works. Manx nodded to the lanky blond as she hurried upstairs. The two men followed her, Yohji grinning wickedly all of a sudden.

In the process of putting on his coat while waiting for Ken to join him, Omi jumped when he heard people coming into the kitchen, then smiled when he saw who it was. "Manx! How are you this evening?"

"Iím fine, Omi. And you?" The woman smiled fondly at the youth, reaching out to adjust his shirt collar. "Ready to go out? Sorry if Iím messing up any plans."

"Itís okay, Ken and I were just going to grab a bite to eat." The brunet finally joined the group, a crestfallen expression on his face at having his night out with the younger blond ruined. Manx led the young men to the mission room.

Taking her place by the television, the female redhead watched as Omi and Ken settled down on the couch. Aya made to stand against the wall and was startled when Yohji snaked out an arm, pulling him on the blondís lap in a nearby chair. About to hiss at the older man and jump up, the swordsman stilled when he felt a pair of assessing green eyes on him. Mentally cursing the calculating playboy, Aya positioned himself between two long legs, managing to land a good blow with his left elbow while doing so. Yohji wisely bit back the whimper, but wrapped his arms around the smaller man to ensure there were no more such assaults. He knew that that his kitten didnít want Manx to see them fighting, the woman was already convinced it would only be a matter of time before the two men broke up.

The two youngest WeiŖ hid their grins at witnessing the playboyís antics. They knew what the man was up too and were amused. The sound of a throat being cleared brought everybodyís attention back to the agent who had assembled them together that evening.

"Sorry if Iím interrupting something, but I thought you just might be interested in the latest mission Kritiker has for you." Four sets of eyes were instantly focused on her. Starting up the VCR, Manx stood back as images of mutilated bodies appeared on the television screen. Persiaís voice was heard describing what they were seeing. "There have been a series of murders in the Shibuya section of Tokyo. All of the victims have been between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five. The one thing they have in common, besides shopping in the area between Meiji Dori and the Ginza line, were westernized features. Hair or eye color outside the Japanese norm, and two of the victims had a foreign parent. There have been four deaths already, and three assaults prior that we assume is connected. WeiŖ is to find the dark beast responsible and put an end to this horror."

Manx passed out several folders to the assassins containing the victimsí backgrounds and the police case files. Yohji read the information over Ayaís shoulder, hands now busy massaging the redheadís temples and scalp to help with the manís headache. "So let me get this straight, you want us to wander about in one of the most popular shopping districts in Tokyo until we find whoeverís responsible. Kritiker willing to reimburse us for all the goodies we buy? The shop owners arenít going to appreciate it if we hang around doing nothing."

"Somehow I knew you would be the one to point that out, Kudoh. Besides your normal pay for the mission, our employers will supply a daily stipend for spending. It isnít extravagant by any means, but should allow you several purchases a day. Hidaka, you are the only one who doesnít meet mission criteria. You can choose between contact lenses or have your hair professionally dyed. Any preference?"

"Uh, the contacts should be fine." That way he could take them out when he wasnít working; it was a lot less of a fuss than dealing with a new hair color.

"Ah Ken-kun, and I so wanted to see what you looked like as a blond. Just ask Yohji, we really do have more fun." Omi winked at the brunet, causing him to blush.

A smile now on her face, Manx informed the flustered athlete that she would be dropping the contacts off tomorrow. After verifying the whole team would be participating in this assignment, the woman wished WeiŖ good luck and made her departure.

The four young men remained in the basement room, going over the information packets. "Weíll have to analyze what times the victims were most likely to be found in the district and make up a schedule accordingly. Considering that the majority of them were in school or college, it shouldnít interfere with work here too much. Iíll check and see if they used credit cards for purchases and compile a list of the stores they frequented. Otherwise itíll be a bit of a challenge being noticed by the killer in that large an area," Omi remarked.

"Guess we wonít be going out tonight after all. There enough food upstairs or do we order takeout?" Long fingers still combing through a crimson hued mop, Yohji glanced at Ken, whose turn it was to shop that week.

"Should be, just went to the store yesterday. How do sandwiches sound?"

Omi perked up at that question. "Delicious. I think thereís some soup in the cupboard too. Why donít we go fix some and bring it down here? Be back real quick with supper." The young blond shooíed his friend upstairs, tossing the playboy a meaningful glance over his shoulder as he went up the steps.

Grateful for a few minutes of privacy, Yohji tugged on an eartail. "So what do you think of the latest assignment?"

"Like Omi said, itíll be difficult to stand out in the crowd." Aya batted the hand away, an automatic gesture at this point.

"Oh, I donít know, I think somehow weíll all manage. At least three of us are natural red heads and blonds, not too many of the kids hanging out there can claim that." There was an odd note of tension in the two menís voices. Both of them had grown up ostracized for their looks, Aya because of his unnatural for a Japanese coloring and Yohji for so obviously being a half-breed. It was a little hard to think of those traits now being advantageous. "If not Iím sure weíll come up with a way of being noticed."

"Why donít I like the sound of that?" Aya twisted around to face the older man, stomach flipping at the sight of the evil grin on that handsome face. "Donít you think youíre in trouble enough without pulling some crazy stunt in public?"

The blond tried to look hurt as he pulled the smaller man about until he was seated facing him. "Really kitten, we need to work on your overactive sense of paranoia. What makes you think Iíll do anything to make you upset during the mission?"

"You really donít want me to bring up the argument from earlier, do you?" Aya arched an eyebrow in inquiry, his hands resting on the playboyís chest. Taking in the shaking head, "I didnít think so." He was willing to bet the blond was hoping heíd forgotten all about their fight, what with the new mission. The man was wrong, but Aya was going to wait for a better time to pay him back.

"Whatíll I get if I promise to be a good boy?" Yohji asked, eyes wide and trying for his best chibi look.

"Thatíll be a first if you actually manage to pull it off," the smaller man retorted.

"Okay, whatíll I get if I promise to be on my best behavior?" Yohji lifted a hand to play with the silky strands brushing the back of the swordsmanís neck. Shivering slightly, Aya leaned in til his lips were millimeters away from the blondís.

"I donít know, interested in anything in particular?"

"How does a weekend holed up in a hotel somewhere sound? Doesnít even have to be outside of the city, as long as thereís no work, no interruptions, a big bed and room service."

Violet eyes focused off into the distance as their owner thought about the offer. "It might be doable, if we get Omi and Ken to agree to cover the shop by themselves."

"Piece of cake. As long as we promise to return the favor one day. How much longer do you think the chibiís going to torture poor Ken?" The blond brushed his lips lightly back and forth over his loverís mouth.

"Until Hidaka confesses his feelings. Not everyone is as forward as you." The pale man flicked out his tongue, producing a groan from Yohji.

"If Iíd waited for you to admit you loved me Iíd be dead of old age. Sometimes being a bit pushy pays off."

"Hn."

Having had enough of the teasing, Yohji slanted his mouth on top of Ayaís and began the kiss in earnest. Keeping in mind that their teammates would be returning in a few minutes, he made do with simply rendering the smaller man breathless, hands prevented from stripping off clothes by being buried deep in crimson hair. Looked as if he wasnít going to be spending the night alone after all. Working out the details for the new mission should keep him occupied enough not to stir up any more trouble tonight.

"Weíre coming down, so you guys better be decent," Kenís warning was followed by a pair of feet stomping on the steps and giggles from Omi. Reluctantly pulling apart, Aya turned to sit forward again as Yohji wrapped his legs around the redhead. Ken set a plate of sandwiches next to the couple as Omi handed them a mug of soup each. "If youíre done making up, how about we get to work?"

*******

Aya peered at the alarm clock, then begun the complicated procedure of disentangling himself from his lover without waking the man up. Between his tendency to treat the blond as if he was a mattress, and Kudohís habit of seeing how many limbs he could wrap around him, it was always a difficult task. The red head was only successful about half the time, and it looked like this morning wasnít going to be one of them. Yohji stirred awake as he tried to pry the manís hand off of his hip. "Mmm, where ya goiní?"

"To work. Go back to sleep." There could always be a first time when the playboy actually did that.

Instead, a green eye opened up, checked the clock, then turned its attention along with its mate on the frowning redhead. "You got time." Fingers entangled Ayaís left eartail and used it as leverage to pull him up into a kiss. Deciding it would be easier and more enjoyable to just go along with the blond than try to fight him off, Aya returned the kiss as his fingers brushed across the manís morning erection.

Rolling over until the swordsman was underneath him, Yohji broke off the kiss long enough to smirk at his lover. He then bent down to trace the outline of a delicate ear with his tongue as the fingers of his right hand did the same to the redheadís lips. Tugging on a bare earlobe, he moaned softly as the fingers were sucked into a warm mouth. Aya flicked his tongue against the digits he was suckling, his body shivering at the warm breath on his neck. He let go of the fingers as he opened his mouth to gasp at the teeth grazing his skin.

Yohji used his dampened fingers to stretch his lover, twisting them inside the man until he writhed and moaned. Gods, but he adored starting the morning off like this, making love to the redhead. Each and every day he woke up afraid it had all been a dream, only to find that Aya was indeed in his bed and very much his. Slowly pushing into the smaller man, the blond buried his head in the redheadís neck, groaning out his name. Aya tilted his hips forward, needing to feel his lover deep inside of him, tormented by the slow pace.

His shafted buried completely inside the swordsman, Yohji thrust two or three times cautiously, making sure he wouldnít tear his lover. Once satisfied that wouldnít happen, he gave in to the smaller manís pleas and rocked his hips faster, driving into that tight sheath as hard and as deep he could. Aya mewled out his name as he tilted his pelvis further up, meeting each frenzied thrust. Grabbing a handful of honey colored hair he jerked the older manís face up for an ardent kiss, his other hand digging into a golden flank, urging the blond in deeper.

It felt as if he was on fire, nerves tingling and lips seared and a molten heat that was pooling in his middle, spreading farther out at each thrust. Aya gasped into his loverís mouth, hands tightening their hold with a painful intensity as that heat flared and consumed him, muscles clenching as the orgasm ripped through him. Feeling the redheadís body tighten around him, Yohji soon followed, breath shuddering and body shaking in the aftermath of his climax. He rested on top of the panting man, a sense of languishment filling him and lulling him back to sleep.

Aya let his lover lay on top of him for a few minutes, needing the grounding feeling of weight pressing him down to help him gather his scattered wits. Mindful of the time once again, and the necessity of a shower, he shoved at the blondís shoulder. "Kudoh, get off of me. One of us has to work." Yohji just mumbled something and wrapped his arms tight around the smaller man. "Kudoh, Iím warning you. Wake up and let me go." Counting to ten, Aya then bent his head and sunk his teeth into a bare shoulder.

"Nani?" Green eyes snapped open as the blond rolled off of Aya, rubbing his shoulder. "Geez, kitten, whatís with the teeth?" he grumbled, drooping lids ruining his attempt at a scowl.

"Just getting your attention." Aya got out of bed, then leaned over and kissed Yohji on the forehead. "You can go back to sleep now. See you in a few hours." He grabbed a robe and left the room as a sleepy voice complained about evil-tempered redheads.

A quick shower later he was in his bedroom getting changed. He kept his clothes here in a vain attempt to prevent them from reeking of smoke. By the end of the day whatever he was wearing was usually saturated with the scent, but at least he started out the morning not smelling like an ashtray. Choosing a pair of jeans and a grey v-neck t-shirt, he made his way to the kitchen. A sleepy Omi greeted him, looking up from his bowl of cereal.

Noting the slight smile that graced the redheadís lips, the youth swallowed a jealous sigh and played with his breakfast. Ken could take some lessons from the manís boyfriend, that was for sure. Maybe if the brunet was more like Yohji he could be the one walking around with a very satisfied look on his face. But no, Omi had to have a soft spot for an idiot who was too afraid to confess his feelings. Briefly he wondered how the older blond had gone about seducing Aya, but decided he wasnít desperate enough for those tactics. At least not yet.

The kitchen was rather quiet, what with Omi lost in his thoughts and Aya busy scanning the morning paper. Once done, he nodded good-bye to the archer and made his way into the shop. In a good mood from the quick bout of sex and mind filled with ways to torment his boyfriend later, it didnít take the swordsman long to set things up. After that he concentrated on preparing the dayís orders, pausing every now and then to deal with customers. The morning went by quickly, and before long Yohji was strolling into the shop, just in time for the lunch crowd.

The blond could only give his lover a quick wink before becoming busy at the register. If heíd had more time he might have noticed the wicked gleam in violet eyes that indicated his Ďlaterí from the previous night had arrived. As soon as the lunch crowd was gone, the redhead gestured for the older man to come over to him. Aware of the two elderly women giving the display of violets a thorough inspection, Yohji ambled over and ran a hand through scarlet locks. "Want something?" He asked the question in a quiet, seductive tone of voice.

"Yes."

"And that would be?" The blond smiled down on his lover, his lids heavy over green eyes.

"For you to fertilize the plants in the greenhouse. We got a fresh supply of manure in the other day, mix it with the compost and repot the plants." Aya managed to keep the amusement out of his voice, but just barely at the dumbfounded look on his loverís face.

"But, thatíll take the rest of the day." And would be a very messy, very smelly job.

"I know." Taking in the smug glint in a pair of violet eyes, Yohji swallowed the rest of his complaint. Maybe if he just shut up and got to work the smaller man would consider his punishment done with. The gods help him if that hentai businessman showed up anytime soon though, or heíd be throwing the register at the bastardís head.

Ken appeared just in time to watch a glum Yohji march off to the greenhouse as if to the gallows. Raising an eyebrow at the pale florist, he shook his head at the hint of an evil smile on Ayaís lips. The brunet decided he really didnít want to know, so busied himself with preparing the arrangements for delivery.

Mind occupied with the antics of the older members of WeiŖ, the new assignment that would keep him from seeing much of his soccer kids for the foreseeable future and his growing obsession with Omi, Ken was a bit distracted while dropping off the flowers. In a hurry to get back and help with the after-school crowd, the brunet paid no attention to the oddly attired foreigner he bumped into during one such delivery.

*******

"Here we are, home safe and sound. Careful Koyu, someone left an empty box by the door." Teddy Stout helped maneuver his blind lover around the obstacle.

"You fuss too much, TB," Koyu Saito remarked. He was a tall Japanese man with chocolate brown hair flopping down onto dark sunglasses. The blind man was still a bit sensitive about the glass orbs that replaced his hazel eyes, and so wore the shades and let his bangs grow long in response.

"Yeah well who was it that tripped over that abandoned Asuka issue the other day on the way to the store, hm? Besides, after living twenty years with the worldís foremost fusser, the habit has rubbed off on me the slightest bit." The longhaired American smiled at his boyfriend even though the other man couldnít see him.

"Just promise me you wonít start taking a bat to any objects blocking my path and Iíll never complain again." Teddy laughed at the comment, a reference to his over-protective brother, and hugged Koyuís arm close.

Riding up in the apartment buildingís elevator, he reflected on his relationship with the blind man. Koyu had been one of his first boyfriends, an amusing lover who had broken things off amicably, citing he wasnít ready for a serious relationship at the time. But the two men had remained in touch, and it was only a matter of time when the Asian man, ready for a commitment, had come back to him. Unfortunately, the American had been involved with a man who had the tendency to rape and mutilate other homosexual men, and Saito had been caught up in that. Upon finding out it had been his lover who had assaulted the man Teddy had stopped by to apologize. Unlike a former co-worker who remained bitter about the experience and refused to have anything to do with the foreigner, Koyu had brushed aside the needless apology, just happy to have Teddy by his side again. It hadnít been the manís fault; the one responsible was dead and beyond any earthly punishment. So the two men had resumed their friendship, and in the course of the past three months found it developing into something much deeper and more involved.

Koyu Saito would never be able to regain his sight, but at least now he had someone to share the pain and frustration of his disability with, someone who could make him smile on even the worst days. And Teddy had a truly kind lover to help him forget all about David Aso and help put that part of his life behind him. Even though the longhaired man had been in no way involved with the attacks, he still felt a bit guilty over the matter. For all he knew he might in some way have contributed to Davidís psychotic behavior. At the very least he should have figured out what the man had been doing. Koyu not blaming him for the assault had helped assuage that remorse somewhat.

The two lovers had spent the day together and were returning to Saitoís apartment before Teddy had to leave for work. He now worked at a Mediterranean restaurant situated around a series of hotels in Tokyo. Both his brother Mickey and he had felt the need to make a clean break after Asoís death, and had gotten a job at a place eager to hire two experienced employees who spoke several different languages. The money was much better than what they had made at Bacchus, but the American had enjoyed the atmosphere there much more. At least heíd been able to wear his kilt to work at the bar.

"Itís our floor, sweetie." Stepping out of the elevator, the two men collided with a young man waving goodbye to one of Koyuís neighbors. The manís hat was knocked off, reveling brunet hair and big brown eyes. Mind busy trying to place the florist, Teddy absentmindedly helped steady his boyfriend on his feet. Suddenly recalling where he had seen the younger man before, the foreigner called out, but was cut off by the elevatorís doors. Shit.

"You okay, Saito-san?" the neighbor asked nervously, one hand full of flowers.

"Yeah, just a little stunned. Someone seemed to be in a hurry."

"He was such a polite man, Iím sure it was an accident."

"Tomoeda-san, can I see those flowers? Theyíre so lovely. Are they from an admirer?" Teddy inquired, an innocent expression on his face. If Koyu could have seen it, heíd have known something was up."

Now smiling, the young woman held out the bouquet. "Theyíre from my boyfriend. He knows how much I love tulips."

Fussing and ah-ing over the arrangement, Teddy made sure to note the card proclaiming where the flowers came from. ĎKitten in the houseí. Interesting name. Especially considering a supposed college student studying to be a reporter worked there.

Ushering his boyfriend safely to the apartment, Stout quickly changed into the spare uniform he kept there and kissed the man goodbye. Heading towards the subway, the American reflected on all he knew about the florist. The brunet had been hanging around Bacchus and other clubs the last week or so of Davidís reign of terror. The brown eyed had passed himself off as a college reporter, eager for a story for his schoolís paper. But the last night heíd seen David alive the young man had been in the bar, questioning the disappearance of a server nicknamed Red. It had been very suspicious at the time, this man had showing up and asking specific questions about the missing worker and Aso. Doubly so when Teddy, his brother and two other co-workers had gone down to the police station to report Redís apparent kidnapping. The police had blown them off before rushing out to an anonymous call concerning the serial rapistís location.

Once news of them finding David Asoís body in a building filled with souvenirs taken from the victims filtered out, Teddy was all but shoved out the stationís door. Insistent on learning what had happened to Red before he would leave, the American was surprised when a red headed woman approached him. Informing the longhaired man that his friend was fine, she remarked in a chillingly bright tone that it would be best for him and his brother if they forgot all about the manís presence and left. Consequent attempts to contact the missing person proved useless, as his phone was disconnected and address proved false. The Stouts were left to assume that Red, most likely his Ďboyfriendí Kudoh and even the young reporter had been undercover police officers working the case. But now he just ran into the supposed reporter delivering flowers. It was all very suspicious, and Teddy had way too curious of a nature to leave the mystery alone. It looked as if heíd be purchasing some flowers tomorrow afternoon.

*******

"Yohji! Hurry up. Aya made dinner and itís getting cold."

"Iím coming. Be down in a minute." Fresh from a shower, the blond quickly combed his damp hair and made for the kitchen. He must have washed off a kilo or two of dirt and he could still smell the fertilizer, though it was most likely his imagination. Trust Aya to think up something like that, knowing how much his boyfriend hated doing work that made one sweaty and filthy. Hopefully the bloodthirsty man was now appeased and would forget all about yesterdayís fight. Next time he was going to let a customer molest the redhead before stepping in to save him. Maybe that would teach him a lesson.

Walking into the room, the blond felt a sinking feeling around his middle. The table was set for a more elaborate meal than he would have expected before a mission. The assassins were just grabbing a quick bite to eat before heading out to the Shibuya district after all. "Whatís with the fuss?"

"Itís not every night we get something nice to eat besides takeout." Omi commented, looking hungrily at the dish Aya was setting on the table. Looking at it, and the innocent expression on his loverís face, Yohji placed the sinking feeling.

The redhead had indeed put some effort into dinner. A large salad filled with peppers, cucumbers and scallops and a bubbling confection of cheese, tofu and various mushrooms, topped with Thai spices were the nightly offerings. Yohji detested scallops with a passion after having a bad batch once, and didnít care much more for oyster mushrooms or tofu. All of this his pale lover knew. "Looks great," the blond offered weakly. And reached for a helping. If he failed to eat the vindictive bastard would just come up with another way to torment him. Might as well get it over with.

Fortunately, as predicted, dinner was a quick affair. Everyone was in a rush to finish and get on their way. So Omi or Ken did not think it too odd that the resident playboy was a bit subdued during the meal, busy chewing and drinking lots of water. Although the younger blond noticed that his friend appeared a bit relieved when Aya declared himself full and moved away from the table.

Ken volunteered to put away the few leftovers and get the dishes soaking. Yohji rushed upstairs to brush his teeth several times, trying to get the taste of scallops out of his mouth, then retreated to his room. A couple minutes later he heard the door open and close. Shifting back from his closet, he gave the redhead an sullen look. "If youíre here to exact anymore revenge, just kill me and save me the suffering."

"No, I think Iím through with you for now." Aya was dressed in a pair of black jeans and a black t-shirt. Not the most fashionable things, though the jeans were cut low enough to pass muster, but the stark color made his skin appear luminous and his eyes and hair all the more brilliant. There would be no overlooking the swordsman tonight. Yohji had on a pair of straight-legged, slightly baggy jeans that hung low on his hips, showing off his red boxers. He had been pulling on a tight t-shirt with a prominent logo from an American jean company when the redhead walked in.

"Me thinks that weíll spend some time shopping for your wardrobe tonight." At the scowl that followed the comment, Yohji smirked back, "hey, Kritikerís paying for it, and itís a job requirement, so deal with it." Penance finally over with, he left the closet and dragged the smaller man into his arms. "If you taste like scallops Iím dumping your ass and running off with Manx." Eyes flashing at the threat, Aya was abruptly silenced by the kiss. After a minute he wriggled free his arms and slung them over the blondís neck. Yohji had taken his punishment like a man, he deserved a little reward.

"Mmm, delicious." Yohji pulled back and grinned at his kitten. Aya gave him a heavy lidded look for a minute, leaning back into his arms, before violet eyes iced over and he straightened up.

"I have to get going now." The redhead turned to leave the room, but was stopped by the hand on his wrist.

"I was serious earlier. Youíll need some new clothes to blend in a little, and I know you wonít buy them yourself. Besides, most of the people in that area are going to be hanging out with other friends, it will look strange if youíre walking around glaring at people all night. So considered us partnered up for the mission." Yohji almost dropped the slim wrist at the glare he was getting.

Aya growled at the man. "Kudoh, if this is all a part of some crazy idea to see how many shops you can molest me in, youíll look back on today with much fondness."

"Hey, that was uncalled for," the blond shot his lover an angry look. "Just ask Omi, heíll agree with me. The chibi will be running into school buddies tonight, watch and see if he doesnít hang out with them. Would you rather spend the evening with Ken?"

Aya stood there, doubt lessening the impact of the Ďshi-neí glare. Realizing that he didnít want to start another fight, not with the last one just now over, the blond relented a bit. "Besides, we talked about this last night. I behave, and we go away for a weekend. Not about to jeopardize that."

Standing still a moment longer, Aya lifted his wrist, twisting his hand to grasp Kudohís. He rubbed it across his cheek before letting go and walking out the door. Used to by now of the redheadís silent ways of apologizing, Yohji walked after the man, whistling cheerfully. Besides, he now had some ammunition to use against the short-tempered man the next time they started arguing.

*******

"Youíre actually enjoying this, arenít you," Aya growled at his lover. The blond was reclining back on the bench, a cigarette dangling from his lips. There were a clutter of bags at his feet, Yohji had surpassed his work stipend and spent some of his own cash on things. Aya was standing beside him, holding onto the few purchases he had made that night.

"Spending time in the company of a gorgeous person and buying things with other peopleís money? Better believe it. Though I usually go for an older crowd. Even if I was single the pickings here are pretty slim. Either too young or wearing too much makeup." He was referring to many of the girlsí tendency to wear heavy brown makeup to look as if they had a tan. Yohji preferred a more natural beauty, and lately had been completely enthralled by lily-white skin. Glancing over at his fixation, he noticed the tense shoulders and furrowed brows that indicated another headache. It seemed that Aya had been suffering a lot of them lately.

"Correct me if Iím wrong, but I take it youíre completely miserable. Is it being asked every five minutes where you go to get your hair dyed or just the usual people living and breathing in your presence thatís getting to you?"

"I canít believe people willingly dress up like this and walk around in public. And why do they need so much stuff in the first place?" The redhead was rubbing at his temples, a frumpy glare directed at the teenagers giggling beside him.

Yep, another headache. Maybe the redhead should see a doctor about them. Wouldnít /that/ be fun suggesting Aya make an appointment. "It gives the kids something to do, and what else can they spend the money on? Not too many things they can afford besides games, clothes and so forth."

"Hn."

Yohji wondered what it had been like to grow up with plenty of money like his lover had. It was clear from the manís tastes and habits that Ran Fujimiya hadnít spent many days wondering if he had enough money to eat let alone buy any frivolous objects. Not that the redhead came across as spoiled by any means. But this was a man whoíd think nothing of dropping several thousand yen on some out of print foreign book. Funny to consider when he was so frugal with everything else. Yohji assumed that came after his parentsí death, when heíd lost access to the family wealth and had to pay for his sisterís medical bills on his own.

The giggling increased in intensity, disrupting the blond from his thoughts. Looked as if the redhead and him were about to be glomped again. The female shopping crowd had noticed the two attractive men and considered them fair game. At one point the assassins had hidden in a dressing room for almost thirty minutes, waiting for a group of more rabid admirers to give up and leave the store. Remembering his promise, Yohji had been frustrated as all hell to have the perfect opportunity to pounce on his boyfriend and having to ignore it. Aya was in for a big surprise if he thought all he was going to do upon arriving at the Koneko was sleep.

"What do you say to us calling it a night? Saw Omi head home about an hour ago, and most of the shops are now closed. I think we were on display for long enough." Aya flashed him a grateful look before nodding his head. Yohji suppressed the urge to wrap an arm around the redheadís slender waist when his kitten walked past him. Instead he settled for walking so close together the two menís hands kept brushing against the other. There were cries of disappointment coming from behind them as they hurriedly left the shopping arcade.

*******

Busy watering some hanging baskets, Ken glanced over at the approaching couple. Yohji and Aya were finally showing up for their shifts. It was the brunetís turn to leave early today, so he had opened the shop by himself. The two lovebirds would man the Koneko in the afternoon by themselves, since Omi was meeting with some friends after school to head back down to the Shibuya district and hang out. This mission was allowing the youth to have a more normal lifestyle, and Ken hoped Omi took advantage of it. The teenager had seemed so apologetic as he explained to his teammates last night that it made more sense for him to canvass the area earlier in the evening during the week, when other kids his age would be there before going home to study. The other three assassins had agreed that they would manage the shop without him. Besides, Omi wasnít the type of person to blow off work or a mission just to have fun.

The brunet had spent his night wandering around the arcades. He wished he could have spent the time with Omi, but there was enough of a difference in their ages that it would have looked a little odd. Yet another reason Ken held back from confessing his feelings to the boy. Omi deserved someone more his age. Just because Yohji and Ayaís relationship seemed to be working out, despite the weekly big blow-up between the two men, didnít mean that the chibi and him would have the same luck.

Watching as the playboy scanned the shop for clientele before tilting his loverís face up for a lingering kiss, Ken tried to ignore a pang of jealousy. Both men looked a little worse for wear today. Judging from the sounds coming out of their bedroom last night, the athlete was ready to bet they didnít get much sleep. Heíd had to turn on his radio to drown out the moans and gasps, and heíd moved his bed to the opposite wall weeks before. These all-nighters were quite common after they made up from a big fight, and werenít helping with the brunetís frustration any.

Yohji settled behind the register, sunglasses hiding bloodshot eyes and a big grin on his face. He smirked at the frowning soccer player, then flipped open a magazine. Life was good, and if he managed to not piss Aya off any time soon would continue to be that way. The blond paid attention to the hotel advertisements, mentally noting the ones that looked worth a closer inspection. He really had nothing to spend his money on besides his car, clothes and having a good time. Considering his clubbing days were seriously curtailed and he hadnít bought any drugs for a couple months, he could easily afford a couple of nights at an extravagant hotel.

The three assassins kept themselves busy inbetween the customers, Yohji planning the getaway, Aya on the floral arrangements, and Ken tending the floor. The noon rush came and went, and Ken was taking care of one or two little things before finishing his shift. Hearing the door chimes, he called out a welcome and looked up.

Standing just inside the door was a young foreigner with long black hair flowing down his back except for two small braids on either side of his face. Light blue eyes surveyed the shop. Ken stood staring at the blue plaid skirt he was wearing, along with a plain white long-sleeved t-shirt. The man was familiar, he was just trying to place where he seen him before. Behind him he heard Yohji let out a string of curses, and the strange manís face burst out into a smile as he glanced over at the register.

"Whatís kicking Kudoh? Youíre here and soís the cub reporter, I take it the kitten canít be too far off. I think you guys have a bit of explaining to do."

Hearing the word Ďreporterí jolted Kenís memory. The brunet groaned. Just what WeiŖ needed, Teddy Stout stumbling upon their real identities.

*******

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