Cathedrals

*******

Chapter 3

*******

A violet eye opened and glared at the ringing cell phone on the nightstand. Since the annoying tones formed the notes of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, it meant that it was his phone. Lifting himself off of a cursing blond, Aya reached over and picked up the bothersome appliance. He quickly woke up as soon as he looked at the caller id and realized that the call was from the Magic Bus Hospital, where his sister resided. "Nani?!"

"Excuse me, is this Aya Fujimiya?" The voice on the other end was familiar, it only took the redhead a moment to place the name. Dr. Rōyama.

"Yes it is. What do you want, Doctor?" Aya mouthed who it was calling that early in the morning to his grumpy boyfriend, who was lying in bed on his side glaring at the smaller man and his phone. Yohji did not take having his sleep rudely interrupted very well. Unless it was for sex.

"Sorry for bothering you at this hour. I wanted to make sure I had a chance to talk to you today. It’s about your test results." The man sounded as if he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all.

"What about them?" Yohji had taken advantage of the doctor’s brief explanation to plant a kiss on his lover’s lips. The smaller man pushed him away as he asked Rōyama the question. Undeterred, the blond merely continued his way down a pale chest, shoving the linen sheets out of his way as he went. When a slim hand reached down to stop him he just grabbed and held onto it, entwining their fingers together.

"Nothing too serious. But judging from the severity of the pain I thought you might appreciate having the matter attended to as soon as possible. There is some medication that you’ll need to take for the time being. I‘d very much like it if you would come to my office today so I could give it to you and explain the situation in detail."

"Hn." The redhead was finding it hard to concentrate on what the man was saying because of the feel of Yohji’s warm breath on his stiffening erection. The older man was in a teasing mood this morning. Hoping to end the call soon so he could focus on the matter at hand, Aya asked the doctor what time would be good for him to stop by. And nearly growled in frustration when he was put on hold, so as to confer with the doctor’s secretary. Yohji took that opportunity to wrap his lips around the redhead’s cock.

Head tossed back, Aya answered ‘yes’ to the woman’s inquiry if eleven am would be a good time for him. And abruptly severed the connection before he embarrassed himself, tossing the phone aside. Hand now free, he buried his fingers into the blond’s wavy hair, urging the man to take him deeper into his mouth. The swordsman groaned as Yohji deep-throated him, hips thrusting forward into that warm cavern. His world narrowed down to the blond’s talented orifice enveloping him, the tongue still teasing in nature. After what seemed a small eternity he came, spurting into his lover’s mouth as he called out the man’s name.

Resting back into the pillows with his eyes closed, the redhead felt Yohji retrace his path back up to his face. Aya parted his lips for the searing kiss, tasting himself as the playboy’s tongue delved deep into his mouth. A pale hand crept down to stroke the other man’s erect shaft, enjoying the moan that action garnered from the blond. Breaking off the kiss, Yohji rolled over onto his side, pulling the smaller man with him.

"What did the doctor say about your test results? Hmm, easy kitten, that doesn’t come off."

"Hn. Nothing serious, but he wants me to take some medication. I’m to stop by later this morning."

Knowing how much the younger man hated going to the doctor, Yohji tried to fix a stern gaze on his lover. Which was a bit tricky to do when the man sliding down the bed. "You are going, aren’t you? Kind of hard to fight when you can’t see straight." It was getting difficult to form coherent sentences, what with Aya intent on returning the favor from earlier, his tongue licking up and down a twitching cock.

"Hn." Aya was prevented from being able to say much more at the moment. Not that Yohji minded in the slightest.

*******

It was very hard to get the smug grin off his face. Try as he would to straighten his mouth out, Yohji’s lips would just return to that very satisfied curve as green eyes sparkled with joy. One had to be happy after starting off the day with a blowjob from a gorgeous lover. Even if it was a bit of an earlier start than he would have liked. Add to that the fact that Aya wasn’t suffering from some sort of terminal or permanently debilitating disease and it was turning out to be a pretty good Monday morning.

Aya had already left for the hospital. He’d stayed around long enough to open the store and finish the most pressing orders, and said he’d be back for the arrival of Weiß’s fan club on the scene. Yohji had gotten out of bed at the same time as the younger man, feeling that a shower with his kitten was well worth any amount of missed sleep. The two of them managed to get clean eventually, it was a very good thing the Koneko had a rather large hot water heater. Not even the chibi glaring at the lovers for almost making him late for school could put a dent in his good mood. Yohji was determined to enjoy the feeling for as long as he could. Something usually came along and put an end to it pretty soon.

The few morning customers were treated to extremely congenial service, and all the female clientele left the store blushing and giggling, clutching the free flower that had been bestowed on them. Ken walked into the store to start the shift in time to witness an eighty or so year old woman pat the blond on his cheek and remark if she was the slightest bit younger she’d take him up on one of his more suggestive offers. She went on her way with a smile on her face and a bouquet of peonies.

"Don’t take this the wrong way Kudoh, but I think I liked it better when you staggered in for your shifts all hungover and fresh from some stranger’s bed. Nothing personal." At least that way the brunet had been able to wake up with the help of lots of steaming hot water. It was hard to put up with a unusually chipper person when one had just suffered through a barely lukewarm shower. One didn’t need to be a genius to figure out how the hot water heater had become so depleted, especially considering Yohji’s unusual attitude. "Where’s the love of your life at?"

The blond leaned back with his elbows resting on the counter. Ken’s cynical comment was not going to spoil his mood. Besides, the athlete was just jealous. "He had to go back to the hospital." Noting the anxious look that crossed the younger man’s face, Yohji told him of the early morning phone call. Once more he couldn’t suppress the smirk that returned as he thought of what the call had led to. Which in return caused a disgruntled look to appear on Ken’s face.

"You know Kenken, all your problems would be solved if you just told the chibi you loved him. As fun as it is to see the two of you dance around each other, the team already has one permanently grouchy member. We hardly need two."

The brunet plucked at the petals of a sunflower, scattering bits of yellow all over the floor. "I told you, I’m not at all sure if it’s just infatuation or love. Not about to ruin a perfectly good friendship over the first. Besides, Omi’s still pretty young. What if all he’s looking for is a little fun? He’s not ready for a serious relationship."

Yohji resisted the urge to smack the younger man, it would only lead to more brain damage. Baka must have taken one too many soccer balls to the head already. That was the only explanation. "And you think /Aya/ was? Or me for that matter? I said before it was your decision, and that I wouldn’t interfere. But I think you’re not giving the kiddo the credit he deserves."

"Whatever." Ken was relieved to hear the door chimes go off until he recognized one of the persons walking in. It appeared as if it wasn’t going to be a good day for him.

"Morning Kudoh, Brown-eyes. This is Koyu Saito. Where’s Red at, wanted the two of them to meet." The chipper man went through the introductions so fast that the three other men needed a second to catch up.

"Uhm, he’s at an appointment but should be back soon." Realizing that the strange Japanese man was blind, Yohji’s mind made the connection to where he’d heard the name Koyu Saito before. The man had been one of David Aso’s victims, chosen because he was an ex-boyfriend of Teddy’s who’d wanted the American back. The blond was cheered to see that Aso had failed to prevent that. "Koyu Saito, huh? Always wondered who would be crazy enough to willingly put up with Teddy. Now I know."

The blind man smiled, clearly picturing the indignant expression that was crossing his boyfriend’s face. "I get that reaction a lot. One of these days I’m going to find out that TB here has an evil twin somewhere that everyone else runs across. He’s really not that bad."

Teddy sniffed at the ‘not that bad’ comment. Glancing over at the tall blond, he caught the narrowed gaze and angry twist of lips. He quickly shook his head and mouthed ‘didn’t tell him anything about you’ to the man. Yohji’s face relaxed somewhat back into a smile. "Just thought I’d bring Koyu down here before we have lunch together. He really enjoyed the flowers the other day. Thought maybe we could pick something else out."

"Yes, the lilies were lovely. The apartment still smells like them." Koyu smiled at the memory. It was nice to receive flowers for some other reason than being in the hospital. He’d been afraid he’d never want to be given another bouquet or arrangement ever again until Teddy had brought back the lilies. The American had related the story of how he’d run into some former customers in the flower shop they ran, describing the couple in such a manner that the blind man had laughed until his sides had hurt. "Do you have any hyacinth or snowdrops? Always liked how they smelled."

"We have both. Ken, would you mind assisting Saito-san?" Green eyes stared into light blue, warning the foreigner not to budge from his spot near the register as the brunet lead Koyu to a display.

As soon as his boyfriend was far enough away, Teddy quietly informed the blond there was no need for the man to worry. "I don’t talk to him about anything remotely involved with David, and that includes you and Red. Told him you two used to stop by Bacchus, that was it."

"Hn." Gods, Aya was starting to rub off on him. He desperately needed a night out clubbing. "Alright then. Have a couple questions for you, ‘TB’."

The American crinkled his nose at the nickname. "Stands for teddy bear. Knew I loved the man when I let him call me that. What do you want to know? Sorry, I’m taken so I can’t be giving out my phone number anymore."

Yohji laughed in spite of himself. "I go for sullen beautiful redheads, remember? You might be able to manage the later two at some point, but I can’t imagine you ever being the first." Teddy laughed himself. "No, I wanted to know how well you speak German."

"Pretty good. Mickey and I lived there for almost five years, until I was about ten. My father was stationed at Rammstein. We loved it almost as much as Japan. In fact I still keep in touch with a couple friends there. Why do you ask?"

"Need you to translate a few words for me." Since he’d heard them from Schuldig, Yohji didn’t exactly want to go to a library and ask someone to help him find their meanings. Chances were good he’d be tossed out as soon as he handed over the list.

Teddy gave the older man a puzzled look. "Your boyfriend seems to know the language pretty well, why don’t you ask him?"

"Because they were said by someone who’s not exactly a good friend. I don’t think Aya would translate them for me." Not once he figured out they were from Schuldig. The younger man was still being amazingly tightlipped about anything regarding the telepath, and it was working on Yohji’s last nerve. Especially after he’d found out that Aya still had the vase. Besides, he hadn’t known the redhead could speak German until the other day. Another thing the playboy wasn’t very happy about. There was going to be a real fun discussion in the couple’s near future. Yohji had to make sure his lover’s sword was safely locked away before he initiated that one.

"Then they mustn’t be very nice. Ohhh, do tell. Wanna hear."

Yohji mentioned all the names the telepath had called him, trying to be careful of his pronunciation. Then he repeated the one’s he’d heard Mastermind refer to the swordsman as. It wasn’t long before the longhaired man was laughing hysterically. It even drew the attention of Ken and Koyu, who were all the way across the shop.

Teddy sputtered as he tried to get ahold of himself. Oh, he thought he might like this person, whoever it was. They certainly had an interesting sense of humor. "A quick question. I take it this guy has a thing for Red, hmm? And isn’t very happy with you over the fact that you got him? Geez, no wonder you’re such a possessive bastard, what with everyone making a move on the redhead. Maybe you need to have the man wear a shirt that says ‘Property of Kudoh’."

The blond nodded his head, wondering if he could get that statement added to the swordsman’s orange sweater. Still hiccupping a chuckle here and there, Teddy translated all the obscenities that Yohji had been called. The assassin clenched his hands, wishing more than anything that he had the German Bastard’s throat in his grip. He’d always known the names hadn’t been any good, but Schuldig was getting a wee bit personal with them. Then the younger man moved on to Aya’s nicknames. Yohji found himself equally torn between a jealous rage and joining the American in laughing himself silly.

*******

Aya sat in the reception area, waiting for Dr. Rōyama to see him. The sense of calm he’d felt after spending some time with his imouto was rapidly fading. The redhead had always detested doctors. His childhood was filled with memories of various physicians poking and prodding at him, mumbling about recessive genes and abnormal melatonin. He’d had to keep going back until his mother was finally assured that he was in fact ‘normal’ and his unusual coloring wasn’t an indication of some illness. The woman had only his best interests in heart, but it still had caused him a lot of pain and suffering as he’d submitted to the tests.

Add to that the failing of the best doctors money could buy to cure his sister, and his loathing had only increased. They all said the same thing, that head injuries were so unpredictable there was no way of knowing if or when Aya-chan would ever wake up. A few had gone far enough to suggest that the girl shouldn’t even be alive in the first place and to just give up on her. That hadn’t exactly endeared the assassin to the profession. Especially since Kritiker made him take extensive physical and psychological exams twice a year. More than anything the swordsman wanted to get the visit over with. Only the fact that Yohji had been right, that he couldn’t fight with the incapacitating headaches, kept him sitting in the chair.

"Fujimiya-san? The doctor will see you now. He’s in his office." Aya nodded to the receptionist and stalked back to see the man. Once in the room he was greeted by the physician and asked to sit down.

"Ah, Fujimiya-san, sorry to keep you waiting. I had to re-arrange my schedule a bit for this meeting." Taking in the man’s sharp stare, the man quickly added. "As I said on the phone, there is nothing seriously wrong with you, at least not right now. It’s as I suspected yesterday. Your headaches are mainly being caused by stress, along with a few other factors." Rōyama forced himself not to fidget or look away from the silent redhead. He had to act perfectly normal, or the man would suspect something. He couldn’t risk something happening to his family.

The doctor had spent the night altering old medical tests to turn over to Kritiker. There should be no cause for suspicions in that regard. Now to convince the young man to take the medication. He’d researched the pills as best he could, trying to anticipate any reactions. One was a type of pain pill, a new version he’d never seen before. As for the other, he had no clue. Well, actually he did, but had never had the access to study in depth pharmaceuticals like it before. Very few people did. That oni must have some powerful connections to be able to dispense psychotropic drugs like that. All the more reason to do as the man instructed him to.

"You indicated that you live in a pollen saturated environment. I think that due to the nature of your, uhm, work your immune system is so taxed that you’ve developed a sort of allergy to the irritants. Add to that the amount of mental stress you’re under, and the recent psychic assaults, and that leaves you with the headaches. The medicine I’m prescribing should help with the allergies and the pain. You are to take them everyday without fail, or it will be all the harder to treat your condition in the future. It is not at a critical stage yet, but can easily become so if you neglect it. The pain is an indicant that there is some slight damage occurring, and that needs to be corrected before it spreads. Or progresses past the point that it can be healed."

So far so good. The younger man was sitting still and listening to what he had to say. The focus of those unusual colored eyes on the physician made him all the more nervous, though. "You will experience some initial sleepiness and nausea, but under no circumstances are you to stop with the drug therapy. It might be severe at first, but will fade more or less over time unless your condition is aggravated, starting with the exhaustion first. Each time you take the medicine it’ll be a little less severe. I’m sorry to say that you will probably be a bit miserable the next day or two, but you should in no way fail to take the medication. There shouldn’t be any other major reactions, be sure to let me know if any appear. When you are down to a few days worth of pills just call my office and request a refill. These prescriptions are a bit on the specialized side, to try and cut back on any negative side effects, so you just can’t get them at any pharmacy. Any questions?" Rōyama was glad to get the carefully rehearsed speech out.

"How long do I need to take them? I can’t have my job performance impaired in any way." Aya scowled at the pill bottles before returning his gaze once more on the doctor.

"Anywhere from a couple months to a year, maybe two. Not forever, just until your system adjusts. And you should be feeling better by the end of the week. Let me know if it is otherwise. Besides, one fails to see how you could be performing at all if the headaches continue, and they will only get worse. I don’t mean to be facetious, but I don’t think you can exactly change your career, and that is part of what is causing your problem. Just take the medicine as directed, and stop by for a check-up every three months unless the condition worsens." The doctor’s nails bit into his palms as he waited to see if the assassin would buy the story. It appeared that way when the pale man asked if there was anything else, then snatched up the bottles and the printed sheets of information about them before storming out of the room. He sunk back into his chair, a sense of relief washing away the exhaustion.

<Good job, doc. Just make sure the Kätzchen doesn’t expect anything in the future. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on you.>

Rōyama felt like crying.

*******

Aya parked his car in the garage and then stomped his way into the kitchen. Once there he flung himself on a chair and glared at the bottles in his hands. Damn medicine. He was to take the one twice a day, and the other three times. Great. Now he had the pleasure of telling his targets that he had to pause in the middle of slicing them apart to take his medication. Hope they wouldn’t mind. Hn.

For a moment he debated just throwing the damn things away, but as if it was sentient his headache spiked to a blindingly painful level. His stay at the hospital hadn’t helped with the pain, in fact had caused it to steadily increase all day long. Sighing, he stumbled away from the table to quickly assemble a peanut butter sandwich and get a bottle of water. He took one pill each and forced himself to eat, afterwards resting his head on the table for relief. It was almost surprising when the medicine kicked in some time later and the agony slowly faded away. Headache now at a bearable level he placed the bottles on a shelf and went into the shop.

Yohji pounced on him as soon as he entered the Koneko. "Hidaka, keep an eye on things, could ya?" Ken nodded, knowing that the blond had begun to worry when Aya hadn’t shown up at the expected time. The older man dragged his lover off to the greenhouse for a private talk. "What happened? What did he say?"

Leaning against a planting bed, the redhead regarded his boyfriend distantly. The drugs were definitely taking effect. His eyelids felt so heavy. "He said the headaches are a resul’ of job stress, Schuldig messing around in my head, and allergies. Have to take pills everyday now. Jus’ took ‘em, seem to be working." It felt almost as if his icy veneer had returned, separating him from everything else. It was just the slightest bit at first, but then it grew thicker with each breath.

"Hey kitten, you alright? You look a little out of it." Yohji frowned at the smaller man. He brushed back the bangs falling into violet eyes, ending the movement with a tug on a crimson eartail. Which failed to provoke any response from the short-tempered assassin. So he tilted up the pale face to take a good look at his lover’s pupils. "Aya love, did the doctor say anything about this stuff doping the shit out of you?"

"Hhhnn. Might make me sleepy, jus’ for a li’l bit. Pain’s almos’ all gone now."

The blond jerked forward to catch his slumping boyfriend. "Oh, I’m sure you’re not feeling much of anything right now. What do you say to us putting you in bed, huh kitten?" Guess that discussion was going to have to wait a while, Yohji thought. Aya tried to push him away and stand up by himself, failing miserably. While it was amusing to see the usually sober redhead drugged out of his mind, Yohji hoped the effect didn’t last for long. The man was needed for the mission, and would be a sitting target for Schwarz and anyone else if his mental acuity or reactions were off. "Come on now."

"No." There was work to be done; Aya couldn’t let his weakness interfere with that. Managing to get an arm loose from the blond’s hold, the swordsman swung it about and knocked off the man’s sunglasses. "Dammit, Aya, that hurt."

Yohji glared at his lover, receiving an equally menacing look back. He’d finally had enough of the smaller man’s stubborn attitude. "Fine. You want to pass out down here, be my guest." He dragged the quiet man over to a table and chair. "You can get some seedlings started." The blond made sure there were plant trays, seeds and potting soil on the worktable. And that he removed any and all sharp objects. A drugged Aya and edged weapons was not a very good idea. "If you manage to get this done then you can help us on the floor." Pausing long enough to make sure the obdurate fool wasn’t going to fall off of the chair, Yohji stomped out of the greenhouse.

Ken glanced up from the crowd of girls swarming around him and saw the angry expression on the playboy’s face. That didn’t look good. Realizing that there was no sign of Aya, the brunet opened his mouth to ask if everything was okay. And abruptly shut it at the scowl Yohji directed his way. Well that was a record, a Yohji/Aya fight escalating to this level in a little less than seven minutes.

The two men were kept occupied by a bevy of demanding females. The soccer player grew more and more concerned as Aya failed to reappear. As soon as the last customer left and the door was locked, Ken turned to his co-worker. "Okay, what the hell happened?"

"Finally got pissed off enough at the infamous Fujimiya ‘I need help from no one’ attitude." The older man headed to the greenhouse, Ken in tow. "He decided that he could still work all doped up from whatever the doctor gave him, so I let him. End of story. I’m sick and tired of getting my head bitten off for being concerned over the ingrate’s well-being." Aya’s inability to let Yohji in and take care of him was getting to the blond. There had been too many secrets and fights lately, and his temper had finally snapped. Let the redhead be the one doing all the placating for once.

"Thought everything was going just fine, at least judging by this morning," Ken commented.

Yohji reflected a bit wistfully on the day’s beginning. "Give me some time to knock a bit of sense into that thick head of Aya’s and hopefully things will be."

The two men found their field leader asleep at the table, his head resting on his arms. There was a smudge of dirt on a pale cheek, and seeds scattered everywhere. "Oh man, is he going to be stiff when he wakes up." The brunet stopped a safe distance from the sleeping assassin.

"Good." Cautiously reaching out a hand, Yohji shook the redhead’s shoulder. No response. Shaking the man harder didn’t work either. "What the hell did that quack give him?" The playboy gathered his lover’s limp form in his arms and carried him out of the shop. Ken helped him with the doors, heading back to the flowershop once the redhead was in bed. Remembering the bit of paper he’d seen, Yohji made his way to the kitchen after removing Aya’s shoes and gently brushing the soil off of the man’s face.

He smoked a cigarette as he read the information. There was a warning of the medication potentially causing drowsiness at first, but that it should lessen in intensity over time. Noting the comment on loss of appetite and increased irritability, Yohji briefly reflected on how one would tell if it was the drugs or Aya’s normal everyday behavior. All in all the outlook wasn’t that dire, but it was going to be a fun couple of days. Something about the drugs set off a warning signal in the blond’s mind though. The report constantly stressed the importance of taking the medication, and his boyfriend was pretty much unconscious, not just suffering some ‘drowsiness’. There was no chance of the kitten being awake and aware enough for the mission this evening.

Yohji placed the sheets of paper on the kitchen counter. He’d have to make sure and run into Omi at some point tonight, and ask the chibi if everything seemed normal with the prescription. Hopefully the team’s resident nurse would have a clue, if not then be able find out for sure.

*******

Schuldig let himself into the building, sniffing at the lax security system. Really, you’d think people who dealt with criminals all the time wouldn’t seriously think the lock on the backdoor could deter a true professional. It had taken the German all of two minutes to break in. Once inside he used his talent to home in on his quarry, peering about the house as he walked upstairs.

Entering the bedroom Schuldig slipped over to the window and opened the thick curtains. The rapidly fading sun sent a wash of reds and golds over the sleeping form on the wide bed. Wunderschön. Lying down next to Aya, the telepath ghosted his fingers over the man’s pale face. Ever so gently brushing his mind against the swordsman’s, he established that the psychotropic drugs were in fact working. It had been a good thing he’d monitored the smaller redhead since the man had left his doctor’s appointment, and given the stubborn kitty the necessary incentive to take the pills. He’d have to keep a close watch on the situation.

Normally medication of this intensity and nature would leave the user in a drugged stupor, but his little tuberose should adjust to them shortly enough. Already the smaller man was struggling to return to consciousness, he’d be awake in another couple of hours. Until then Schuldig would take advantage of having his weiße Kamelie all to himself, especially since he couldn’t pay any more dream visits for the near future.

He combed his fingers through crimson hair, smiling as the sleeping assassin ever so minutely turned his head into the caress. It was utterly delightful to use Kudoh’s favorite gesture of affection to provoke a response from the pale man. Pulling Abyssinian closer, the telepath nibbled on an ear as his hands roamed underneath the horrid orange sweater. Careful to keep a mental eye on the younger man’s awareness, he let himself drink in the scent, taste and feel his tuberose. It wasn’t anywhere near as satisfying as that one last dream he’d shared with the assassin, and he felt his frustration growing. Cursing profusely, Schuldig ran a hand through his wild mess of hair as he sat up. It just wasn’t enough anymore unless Abyssinian was aware and participating, either by fighting him or giving in. He’d never faced a problem quite like this before. It might have been his imagination, but the German swore he heard Cassandra laughing in the back of his mind.

Regarding his obsession for several heartbeats, Schuldig leaned down to whisper into the other redhead’s ear. "Don’t worry, Knuddelhäschen. I’ll be back soon. Promise things will be much more interesting then." He watched as Aya snuggled deeper under the duvet, forehead slightly creased by a frown. Employing his talent with a delicacy that few would believe him possible of, he brought the younger man’s mind into a receptive state and mentally ‘spoke’ to it. <That’s right. You’re mine now. I told you I wanted all of you, body, mind, heart and soul. And I always get what I want. Told you there was no fighting this fate. Nothing left to do but give in and enjoy.> Schuldig broke the contact as the man moaned and tossed about on the bed, subconscious busy remembering where it had heard those words before. Almost too fast to see the German reached for something inside of his jacket and threaded it through scarlet locks. He then quickly left the house, stopping by the Kätzchen’s room for a brief moment.

*******

Omi waved to the friends who had dropped him off. Another night spent acting like a normal teenager, and he found himself growing thoroughly bored with the routine. All this shopping and playing games with people he had very little in common with anymore wasn’t nearly as much fun as he’d thought it would be. He would be glad when this mission was over and he could go back to spending his evenings home on his computer listening to his roommates fight. Part of his frustration was the fact that after several nights of hanging out in Shibuya Weiß wasn’t any closer to finding their target. There were simply too many people constantly moving about to notice anyone acting suspicious. Hopefully one of the assassins would be taken as the next victim, else they’d be at this mission forever.

Keying open the lock, the youth frowned as it only clicked three times. It should have clicked once more. His teammates knew how they were supposed to set the lock, it was one of their ways to tell if someone was waiting inside for them. He cautiously entered the house, holding several darts ready in his hand. Sneaking into the kitchen, he happened upon a bleary-eyed redhead making a pot of coffee. The man regarded him curiously for a moment before returning his attention to the coffeemaker.

"Uh, Aya-kun, are you the only one home?" Omi glanced about, trying to see if anything was out of order.

"Hai." Aya didn’t even bother turning away from the appliance. Taking in the man’s drowsy demeanor, Omi decided to do a quick check of the house. After a fast but thorough search he returned to the kitchen, where the older man was now seated at the table, gulping down a mug of the hot beverage.

"Did you have any visitors tonight, Aya?" The swordsman shook his head as he poured himself more coffee. Giving up on trying to get any answers out of the man until he was more awake, the young archer got up to get a mug of his own. As he reached into a cabinet he noticed the paperwork on the counter. He returned to the table with the cup and papers in hand. Waiting until Aya was contemplating a third cup of caffeine, violet eyes finally clear, Omi commented that he had run into Yohji while shopping and had heard about the doctor’s visit.

"So this is the list of medication he has you on? The effects sound pretty bad, but should go away after a few days. How’s the headache?" It was a bit puzzling how severe the reactions were for this type of medication. And why for only a couple days?

"The pills were working earlier, but it’s back now somewhat." Aya rubbed at his temples. It had been so difficult to wake up, but for some reason he couldn’t bear to sleep any longer. Something to do with his dreams, although he couldn’t recall them well enough to figure out what had disturbed him so. He kept mentally repeating a poem about roses and worms. It was very odd.

Omi offered the pale man a reassuring smile. "Probably takes a while for them to be fully effective. It’s good to hear that they are helping out a little. You better get used to sleeping a lot for a week or so though."

"Hn." The redhead didn’t like that thought very much. Especially if he kept waking up feeling as he did now. "How was tonight?"

"Still no luck. Come to think about it, I guess it is kind of odd to hope that a madman with a thing for mutilating young people will attack you."

"We’ll be back tomorrow." Still debating that third helping of coffee, but deciding his stomach couldn’t handle another cup, Aya looked up from his mug to catch an odd look on Omi’s face. He arched an eyebrow over the expression.

Pausing to think how best to say what he had to, the young blond set his mug down. "Sorry Aya, but you won’t be with us tomorrow evening. I’m taking you off this mission." Violet eyes glared daggers at him, and Omi forced himself to continue. "You need to get better, and won’t be any good to the team while still suffering the effects of these drugs."

"Fine. I won’t take any more until the assignment is over."

"No. Doctor’s orders are very adamant about you not breaking the regimen. Besides, we might really need you for the next mission. It’s for the best that you just get over the worst of the reactions now." Omi hated pulling rank on the swordsman, but he did have the final say in matters such as these. It still was hard nonetheless, now that he knew what Aya was spending the money he made from jobs like this on. "I’m sure Kritiker will compensate you for your time, and we can always use you as a spare backup. There’s just no way I can let you wander around as a target." Yohji would kill him, especially if something happened to the man.

Glaring at the youth for another minute, Aya got up from the table and made to leave the room. Bombay’s decision would stand, no matter whom he appealed to. The fact that it made sense only galled him all the more, if it was anyone else on the team he’d insist on the same call. He was halfway to the steps when the chibi caught up to him and grabbed his wrist.

Omi started pleading with the redhead, not wanting the older man to be upset at him. "Aya, I’m really sorry about this. Please don’t be mad at me. If you managed to get hurt during the assignment I’d never be able to forgive myself. And it wouldn’t just be you at risk."

All set to snarl at the younger man, the redhead paused at the beseeching look on Omi’s face. Unsure of what he wanted to do, Aya jerked his hands through his hair, hoping the pain would help him calm down. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something flutter to the ground.

Catching it before it could touch the floor, Omi held out a wilted sweet pea. Both men stared at the flower, wondering how it had ended up in the older man’s hair. Aya closed his eyes, mind assaulted by images flashing past too quickly to make much sense of them. A strange room, someone’s hands on his body, a sense of pleasure and despair. It all culminated in a stab of pain that had him clutching at the wall for support.

Blue eyes wide with worry, Omi asked what was wrong. Aya could only shake his head, not having a clue himself. "I’m going upstairs." He made his way to his bedroom on shaky legs

*******

Glad to be home, Yohji was humming as he walked into the kitchen. Finding it and the den deserted, he then headed upstairs. Once reaching the landing he walked over to and knocked on Omi’s door. "Enter."

"Hey chibi. You have that talk with Aya?" The older man tossed himself onto the teenager’s bed and treated the busy hacker to an assessing gaze. "I don’t see any wounds, so I assume things went well."

"I won’t say he was happy about it, but I did manage to tell him he’s off the mission." Yohji winced in sympathy over how well that discussion must have went. But the two blonds had agreed earlier that it would be for the best if the redhead sat this one out. "He was awake when I got home, but his headache had returned. You might want to go and make sure he’s alright."

Face grimacing at that thought, Yohji scooted to the edge of the bed. He then posed in a seductive manner as he batted his green eyes at the chibi. "You have a sex god of my stature on your bed and all you can think of is sending me on my way? We really need to check and see if you have any hormones in that genki little body of yours."

"Very funny, Yohji-kun." The older blond sighed dramatically and stood to his feet. Omi held up a hand to prevent the man’s immediate departure. "Before you leave, I do have some questions for you. Did anyone stop by for a visit today?"

"Nope. Why, someone riffling through your collection of porn? Blame Ken, he’s got hentai written all over him." Yohji loved it when the youth became all flustered like that. Two points for him tonight.

"Yohji, be serious for once!" Realizing what he had just said, and to whom, Omi shook his head at the big grin on the playboy’s face. "Nevermind, it’s impossible. Do you know anything special about sweet peas?"

"You mean the flowers? We sell them, I think. That’s about it. If you want to know what they stand for, ask Aya. He’s the flower expert." A dark blond eyebrow was cocked over a green eye. The man was anxious to go check his boyfriend and have it out with the man. He wasn’t in the mood to answer a bunch of questions, especially since the chibi wasn’t explaining anything.

It was safe to assume that the older man wasn’t responsible for the flower ending up in Aya’s hair. Maybe the redhead had put it there himself while drugged and just forgot about it. Not really believing that, Omi shook his head. Something suspicious was going on, but he didn’t want to say anything until he knew for sure. Yohji would overreact and Aya didn’t need any more stress. "Just curious." He handed two plastic containers over to the other blond. "Here, Aya left these downstairs. He’ll need them for his nightly dose."

Yohji took the pills. "He has to take them again today? It seems as if he’s just come down from the last dose. Are these supposed to affect him like that? They seem a bit strong. I could probably sell the damn things for a fortune at a club."

"I’m in the process of checking the pills out now, but having a bit of a problem. I don’t think they are your generic versions, exactly. Most likely something special Kritiker put together for this situation." Omi would have to do some major hacking later and see what his employers thought about what was going on.

"Great, Abyssinian the lab rat. Real nice employers we have, huh kiddo." With that Yohji departed the room. Before entering his own he stopped for a second and drew a deep breath. Time to get this over with. At least the kitten’s sword was down the hall.

Aya was stretched out on the couch, arm over his eyes and listening to a cd. "You know, the bed is a lot more comfortable. That couch is just for making out on. All part of my master plan."

"Hn." The redhead didn’t move at all. Yohji sat down on the arm of the couch and tossed the medication onto the other man’s stomach. Aya sat up in a flash, clutching the objects. When he realized what they were he glared at the playboy.

"You left those downstairs. Prescription calls for another dose at bedtime."

"I’m not taking them anymore." Aya set the bottles on the floor and started to lie back down. A strong grip on his left arm prevented that and he found himself jerked back upright.

Yohji’s anger from before came rushing back. "Bullshit. You’re taking them until the doctor says no more, even if I have to force them down your throat every damn day." He prevented his lover from talking back by shaking the man. "Time for you to listen to what I have to say. I seem to recall you bitching me out for endangering the team by being an overprotective jackass. Well you were right and I didn’t just blow you off. Now’s your turn to return the favor."

"Weiß doesn’t need someone we can’t count on. And as long as these headaches are plaguing you you’re unreliable. So take the damn pills, sit out the rest of this assignment and stop being such a pain in the ass."

Aya’s purple eyes were pure ice. "You’re not my father, and you’re not my boss. Butt out of my life." That statement earned the redhead another shake. When Yohji stopped he hissed at the taller man in fury, flashing eyes mostly covered by ragged bangs.

"I’m your teammate and your boyfriend. Don’t even threaten me with that ‘not for long’ crap either, it’s not as effective as you might think right now. We’ll deal with that first part before tackling the second." Each time it looked as if Aya was about to argue he was treated to a few more jolts. The man was going to have bruises on his arms in the morning.

It was always such a joy to try and make the redhead see reason, the stubborn baka. "If it was anyone else having these attacks you’d be ripping them a new hole for putting the rest of us at risk. You are in no way exempt from that. Besides, it’s not forever, the print outs clearly state that. So be a good little boy before you piss our employers off, or do you seriously think they’ll be happy to have a defective assassin on the loose?"

The glare was still there, what little of the violet orbs could be seen, but there was a sullen set to the redhead’s lips that said Yohji was getting through to him. Time for the next topic. "As for the boyfriend comment, you’re mistaken if you believe I don’t have some say in things from here on out. It’s clear that no one every explained to you that being in a serious relationship means some sacrifices. And I’m not talking about your free time or closet space. You have to give up some control Aya, as difficult as that may be. Other than letting me drag you around and pounce on you it’s as if I don’t have a say in anything else. I’m sick of being shut out whenever things go wrong, of being kept in the dark about everything."

Yohji let out all the things that had been bothering him the past couple months, but had been too afraid to mention. Especially after what had happened a few weeks ago at Schuldig’s instigation. "You’ve had a psychotic telepath messing around in your head for years and I have to find out about it from him. And I know there’s more going on between the two of you than you are telling me, which is pretty much nothing. Then there’s the fact that anything from the time before you joined Weiß has been designated off-limits. How was I supposed to know about you speaking several languages when I get snapped at for asking you anything remotely personal? Almost everything I know about your past has been provided by other people or been all but forced out of you. I can count all of the things you’ve ever volunteered on your life before Weiß on one hand."

"I’m not asking for all the painful little details, I just want you to trust me and let me in. To not bite my head off when I try to look out for your well-being. You have a habit of only letting me close while on your terms, and I’ve tried to meet them. Now you get to do the same." Letting go of the smaller man, Yohji kept a careful eye on him to see what the reaction would be. He felt better for finally venting all of his frustrations, now to survive the experience.

Aya rubbed his arms, trying to regain feeling in the limbs. "Do you deliberately pick the worst times to talk with our relationship," he asked, earning a puzzled look from the blond. All that shaking hadn’t helped his headache at all, neither did facing some unpleasant truths. Why couldn’t Yohji just be interested in sex? Things would be so much easier if that was the case, although he’d never had let the man get so close to him if it had been. He was torn for a couple minutes trying to decide if that was a good thing or not. "What do you want to know?"

It took a moment for the words to register for the blond. Then another to choose a subject from such a wide range of topics. Yohji doubted that Aya had the strength or patience for a major discussion tonight. "Tell me about Knuddelhäschen." The blond slaughtered the word somewhat, but Aya still got the gist of it. Enough so that he winced for some reason.

"Let me guess, you asked Teddy what it meant." He knew of no one else the older man knew who could interpret that word. The redhead wondered if there was a way to convince Kritiker that the young American was some sort of evil drug lord or mass murderer and deserved to be eliminated with extreme prejudice. "I’m sure he translated it for you."

"Snugglebunny? I get an earful for naming you kitten and you let The Bastard call you snugglebunny?" Yohji’s voice was incredulous.

"/I/ don’t let that man call me anything. How do you think I got stuck with the damn nickname? He picked the one that I’d hate the most and stayed with it. Any protest on my part just encouraged and amused him all the more."

"How the hell did he come up with snugglebunny?" The older man really wanted to know, it had been driving him crazy all day.

Aya sighed as he rubbed his eyes. "When he first started appearing in my dreams he called me a variety of names. Trying to provoke a reaction."

Yohji crept closer to the pale man on the couch. "What type of names?"

"He went on about how I was guilty like him. Called me Yūzai for a while. Then the usual sobriquets: stupid, failure, disappointment, freak and so forth.”

"And these didn’t affect you?"

"Not like Knuddelhäschen. I was… used to them. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before." The smaller man’s tone was so monotone that Yohji felt the urge to shake him again, just to get a reaction. He wanted to know who had hurled the insults with such abusing regularity on the young man, but had a feeling he already knew. Looked as if Schuldig wasn’t the only one to blame for the redhead’s lack of self-respect. "He kept trying." A amethyst orb opened to regard the older man coldly for a few seconds. "Came up with Kätzchen. You can imagine how I reacted to that one. So he decided on sickeningly sweet nicknames. Knuddelhäschen. Sußer. Schatzilein. Next came flower names."

Stroking back the obscuring bangs, Yohji gazed down on his lover’s pale visage. "White camellia and tuberose. What do they mean?"

"Among other things, perfect loveliness and dangerous pleasure. Just another way of him mocking me." Yohji thought the descriptions were dead on. "Schuldig used to call me his weißes Veilchen, his white violet, but that means purity and modesty. Now he throws it back into my face ever since I became involved with you." The swordsman sat quietly on the couch for a while, lost in thought. "Yohji, do you have any idea how hard it is to fight someone like him? A telepath that can enter your dreams and twist them however he likes, who can’t ever be blocked out? The only thing that seemed to work was shutting out everyone else, to believe that nothing mattered anymore. And now you want me to let you in. I’ve been trying, but it’s so hard."

Yohji rested his head against his kitten’s. "I know. Just keep trying, okay love? That’s what I do about my possessive behavior and tendencies to pounce you in public. Doesn’t always work, but I don’t give up. I’m asking you to do the same."

"Hn." The smaller man let himself be gathered into a hug. For once the blond didn’t try to twist it into anything sexual, just sat there holding him. Shortly there was a tug on an eartail that earned Yohji a smacked hand, and the two men shifted apart. Aya bent down and picked up his medication. "Need some water for these."

"So you are going to keep taking them?" The lanky man’s inquiry earned him a shi-ne glare.

"I’ve heard from the doctor, you and Omi. I refuse to sit through a lecture from Ken, and I know Manx and Birman would be next in line. Rather spend the next several days asleep, it will be much less painful and incitement to murder. Besides, no more shopping will be a good thing."

Yohji stepped back out of reach. "There’s my kitten, ever looking on the bright side of life." As the glare intensified he left the room to go fetch a drink for the glowering man.

*******

The song mentioned in the last chapter is ‘Cathedrals’, by Jump Little Children. Quite the coincident, huh?

*******

Return to Archive

Next Chapter