Come Here Boy

by nekojita


Sitting on the floor, Aya glanced around his room, trying to figure out just what exactly else he could take with him. Packing was never an easy chore, especially when he had to leave so much behind. It couldnít look as if anything was missing, as far as his teammates and employers were to know he was to die sometime very soon. It would look suspicious if many of his belongings were gone, as well as his body missing.

Heíd already photo copied his journals, so he wouldnít lose all of his writings. It was painful to leave the originals behind, considering how heíd poured his heart into the books, but couldnít be avoided. The sweater his sister gave him would have to stay as well, that was too conspicuous an item. A few of his books and cdís lay in a bag, some of them replaced by less cherished copies. They lay alongside a dozen or so photos and small knickknacks that were irreplaceable. His most valued treasures, tucked away in a small gym bag with room for a few more items. If only he could decide what those would be. Aya stared at the objects in his hands, wondering if he could bear leaving them behind with everything else, or if they should be included as well.

A length of black ribbon trailed down his wrist, sharp contrast to the gleam of silver in his palm. There was a tinkling sound from two small bells as his hand shook minutely. One was carved in the shape of a rose, the other attached to a small silver ring. The first was a gift from Kudoh, the second his gift for the man. He hadnít worn either bell since the day his lover had chosen Neu over him, but hadnít been able to throw them away. Now he was faced with the decision of leaving them here or keeping them as a reminder of the happier times he had shared with the blond and WeiŖ. Making up his mind, Aya reached into his bag, pulling out a small box that he then crammed the jewelry into. Perhaps he was making a mistake, holding on to his past like this, but he could always get rid of the objects later. When he was far away from here and settled into his new life. One that would include his sister, current lover and the manís teammates.

Gracefully rising to his feet, Aya set the bag on the bed and zipped it closed. The pale man decided that there was nothing else of value after all. Heíd left things behind before, most likely would have to do it again someday. Besides, it was safer this way, the more he took the better chance there was of Kritiker noticing that something was gone. Lifting the bagís strap to his shoulder, Aya tried not to wince when he thought how in all probability his belongings would just be tossed into the trash. There was no one left here who cared for him anymore to keep them.

Aya quietly set about leaving the house before his roommates awoke and asked him any awkward questions, like where was he going this early in the morning and why was he carrying a bag. He wanted them to think that he was out looking for his sister. Only Kudoh would suspect the truth, that he was secretly visiting his lover, but so far the man hadnít said anything to Tsukiyono or Hidaka about it. He was too busy either drinking himself into oblivion or trying to worm his way back into Ayaís good graces without any success. Another reason to leave, before the older man stumbled back home from one of his binges and saw him. There was a stab of pain in the swordsmanís chest as he thought about his old boyfriend, but he quickly shook his head and focused on something else. Aya-chan. She was the one that mattered right now, the only thing.

The quiet man made his way outside and down the street several blocks before hailing a taxi. The closer time got to his imoutoís rescue, the less chances he wanted to risk of being found out. He didnít take his car, considering the way it stood out. Sitting back silently in the cab, Aya ignored the talkative driver, thinking ahead to what lay in store at the end of the ride. Of Schuldig, waiting for him in their hotel room. It was his day off, and the telepath expected him to spend all of it there with him. Not that he minded the prospect, lately the only place he could relax was in the manís presence. Aya looked forward to hearing about his imouto and having his lover make him forget about his worries for a while.

Having arrived at the hotel, Aya entered it with an easy familiarity. There were several people checking out in the early morning, leaving to go home or off on business. A few heads turned to stare at the pale redhead striding through the lobby to the elevators, but found their thoughts immediately directed elsewhere. Aya felt a wave of amusement that he knew was from his lover, who chided him lightly for attracting attention, as if heíd done it deliberately, before ensuring that no one would remember him entering the place. The good humor changed to anticipation as the elevator climbed up, making the Japanese man shiver. He had no doubts what was on Schuldigís mind, it would take some effort fending off the man long enough to find out how Aya-chan was doing.

As usual, the hotel door was slightly ajar for him to enter. Walking into the room, Aya found Schuldig seated on a couch, smoking a cigarette. He dropped his bag to the floor and crossed over to where the German was waiting, settling himself on the manís lap. Schuldig ground out the cigarette as one arm curved around the smaller manís waist, then tilted Ayaís face up for a kiss. After a couple of minutes Aya forcibly pulled away, breath hitching as he braced a hand on his loverís chest to keep from being hauled back for more. In German he commented, "Schu, not now."

Sighing, the telepath frowned while playing with a strand of Ayaís hair. "Sorry precious, just a little happy to see you. The past few days have been hell, and itís a safe bet I wonít be able to meet with you again until this is all over." He let go of the lock to run his thumb over the pale manís mouth, smiling when it was nipped at. A pair of violet eyes regarded him impatiently below furrowed crimson brows. "So no pleasure before business? Spoilsport. Very well then. Your sister is the same, no sign of change, but neither harmed from the situation." Schuldig took a moment to telepathically send his heart a current image of the girl, lying motionless on a hospital bed. Aya relaxed the arm on his chest, and though all he wanted to do was hold the smaller redhead close, Schuldig let him remain pulled away. This next part wasnít going to be fun, but had to be braved. If he successfully pulled it off, there would be nothing left to stand in his way of having his heart all to himself.

He cupped Ayaís face between his palms, looking deep into those lovely violet colored eyes. It seemed that the swordsman was picking up on his unease through their link, and shifted about on his lap uncomfortably. "Aya, we need to talk about your sister, and what is going to happen after the convergence." The slim form tensed at his words. "I think," Schuldig paused, searching out the best way to say something that he knew was going to set his lover off. "I think it would be best if we left her here in Japan."

"No!" Shoving away from the German, Aya scrambled to his feet and yelled in Japanese. "No! Iím not leaving her. You promised me Schu, you said you were taking both of us away. Donít you dare tell me that you were lying!" He backed away from the other man until he bumped into the wall, filled with fury and pain. Another betrayal, why did his lovers always betray him?

<Iím not betraying you, Kštzchen, nor did I lie. I swore that I would take care of both of you, and I mean that. Just listen to me, please?> Shaking his head, the younger man felt a phantom caress stroke his face and tease through his hair. He kept his eyes on Schuldig, who was perched on the edge of the sofa, expression solemn. <I want you to think about this, what do you believe is going to happen once we break free of Esset and Kritiker?>

Leaning his head against the wall, Aya answered in a soft voice. "I donít know, you said something about going to Europe. I thought weíd settle down some place, wait for things to blow over here, find a nice hospital for Aya-chan." He had pictured himself maybe taking a couple of classes at a small university as he tried to figure out what to do with himself, if Schu could be talked into allowing him to do so. So much of his concentration had been focused on making sure his imouto was safe, he hadnít really given it much thought, to be honest.

<Neither did I, until lately.> Schuldigís voice echoed in his head, a presence that he was now used to. The connection between them was so strong, Aya was forgetting what it felt like to have his thoughts all to himself. Schu was always there, softly commenting about various things, offering him support and those phantom touches. The last time they had met here there had been no words exchanged out loud at all, somehow it felt so right to be deep in each otherís minds. <The time approaches when this will all end, so we have to make some hard choices now. And that involves your sister, mein wertvolles Herz.> He got off the couch and crossed over to the pale man, standing before him. <Iím thinking about her welfare.> Before Aya could say anything he pressed a finger against the manís lips. <Hear me out first, and then I will accept whatever you decide.>

When the younger redhead nodded in agreement, Schuldig continued out loud. "I know what you were dreaming about. I only wish that was what the future had in store for us. But things will be dangerous after the fall of Esset. Schwarz will be busy, ensuring our survival and making sure that we are in a position where we will never be used again. Which means moving about, handling matters as they arise. There wonít be any time for us to rest, and weíll need your help, Abyssinian. If we take your imouto with us, she will only be in danger as well. Plus it will draw attention to both her and us, a comatose Japanese girl bouncing from one hospital to another. Do you want to chance that Kritiker or some other organization learns about her and puts two and two together? They will then use her to get to you and Schwarz. Is that what you want? For Aya-chan to continually be a pawn, always in danger because of you?"

Schuldig gazed at his lover, willing the man to see reason. It was more than him wanting to have the catalyst all to himself. Aya-chanís presence truly would endanger them, and he couldnít allow that. Anything that put the younger man at risk was unacceptable. There was nothing he could do to influence this matter, Ayaís feelings for his sister were too strong. Plus if the man ever found out about the tampering, he was as good as dead. There were limits to what Aya would accept. But the same need to protect the girl that had made Abyssinian his would work in his favor, the logic was that sound. "Leave her here, please little tuberose. I have a plan to get her off the island where the ceremony will take place, she will be safe then. Let your friends watch over her. You have saved more than enough money to pay her hospital bills for however long she lives, and I can easily add more to the accounts. No one will seek to use her as a means to control you anymore, and Kritiker will keep her from harm after this. Trying to take her with us will imperil her needlessly. I can make sure she is tended to properly, and if she remains in one place she will receive the care she needs."

Aya kept his head tilted backwards as tears streamed down his face. The one constant in his life these past few years had been his imouto. At times the only thing that had kept him marginally sane was sitting next to the girl, holding her hand and looking down on her sweet face as he poured out his troubles. It had torn at his soul when Schreient had taken Aya-chan. Heíd sold himself to Schuldig to ensure her safety and for a chance to snatch her back from the people who had ordered Schwarz to steal her away from that team. Now here he was faced with the prospect of never seeing her again. "I want her Schu, I want her with me. I need her near."

He remained as he was while the German sighed. "I know, precious, I know. Guess we have no choice but to take her with us then. Who knows, maybe sheíll wake up one day and we wonít need to keep shuffling her about from hospital to hospital." That thought made Aya groan in pain. He should be cheered with the image of Aya-chan awake and well. But how would he explain them being in Europe, never able to return to Japan? Or Schwarzís presence? He was bound to them as long as Schu was. There would be no way to hide what he had become unless he let the telepath tamper with his imoutoís thoughts. And then she would be chained to the same life as he was, or he would be forced to abandon her all alone to keep her safe. Aya choked back on a sob, seeing no way out of the situation. His imouto was his life, but all he did was endanger her needlessly. Aya couldnít take her being kidnapped again, and the next time it might not be necessary to keep the girl whole and safe. He had to put aside his pain for her well-being. It felt as if a part of him shattered as he reached the necessary conclusion.

In a hushed voice he unwillingly agreed with his lover. "Youíre right, it would never work. Even if she woke up, she would be in danger. Here, there are people to look out for and protect her. Youíre right, damn you." Gentle hands wiped at his tears as Aya pushed away from the wall to clutch Schuldig tight. "I hate you for this," he said as he tucked his head against the manís neck.

"I know, Knuddelhšschen. But itís for the best, for both you and her, or I would never make you hurt this much. I promise to keep an eye on her, make sure that she receives all the care and attention she deserves." Schuldig stroked the smaller manís back, radiating comfort and love. "I told you I wouldnít let her come to harm, and I intend to keep that vow." Aya clung to him, trying to reconcile the fact that he would shortly never see his beloved sibling again. <It will be alright.>

<It hurts Schu, so damn much. Why do I have to lose everything I love? Am I that much of a monster?>

The German bent his head to murmur into a delicate ear. "Youíll never lose me. Never. Even if Iím half a world away Iíll still be in your mind, doing all I can to keep you safe and whole. Youíre mine." Aya didnít fight the claim, just leaned back until he could look up at the taller man. Schuldig tenderly wiped away the last of the tears. "It will be alright. My word on that, trust me."

Aya snorted as he rubbed his eyes. "Itís a little late for me to question your word, Schu. You said you have a plan, I want to know what it is. Is it that close to the convergence?" He sought a distraction from the last topic. There would be enough time to anguish over his choice in the future, right now he had to make sure that his imouto wasnít a hostage for much longer.

"A matter of days. Esset will be coming here the night after tomorrow, the ceremony will take place shortly after their arrival."

That didnít give them much time. "What are we going to do?"

Once more toying with the smaller manís hair, Schuldig posed a question of his own. "Does that one girl who looks like your sister still come around? Sakura Tomoe is her name, correct?" At Ayaís cautious nod he continued. "Is she still infatuated with her Aya-san?"

Ayaís answer was quick and defensive. "What does that matter? Are you planning on using her for something Schu?" At a probing sensation he snapped at the telepath. "Get out of my head."

Ignoring the command, the longhaired man smiled evilly. <Ah, I see that she still is. Oh donít worry, I donít want to harm the girl, just use Tomoeís devotion to you and her resemblance to Aya-chan. The next day or two might be a little rough on the poor thing, but I promise that sheíll come to no lasting harm.> At Ayaís muttered curse and glare he shook his head. <I need her for the plan to work. I canít promise that your sister will be perfectly safe otherwise. Besides, weíll need someone on the inside to whisk Aya-chan away while Schwarz and WeiŖ fight. I wonít harm a hair on her head.> Now inside said head was another matter. Time to nip the growing obsession for a certain swordsman in the bud. As if heíd caught that thought, Aya narrowed his eyes at him. Schuldig went for a reassuring look.

Aya knew the man too well to believe it. "What do you intend to use her for?"

"I canít tell you right now, you need to be surprised, or someone might notice your reactions. Just know that Iíll ensure both of them escape, and Iím sorry for any pain you suffer over the next couple of days. Things must look authentic, not scripted." Schuldig could only watch as the smaller man slowly wound a lock of his own hair around a slender finger and tugged harshly, prompting an Ďowí from him.

"Do whatever you need to ensure that my sister is safe and WeiŖ alive at the end of this. It doesnít matter what happens to me." Another tug silenced the telepathís disagreement with that last statement. "Iíve brought all the belongings I want to keep with me, I can now leave at any time."

<Gut.> Schuldig grasped the finger bringing tears to his eyes with its yanks as he leaned down for a kiss. Aya kissed him back fervently, releasing the strand for a firmer hold on the long hair. The manís mind was open wide to him, grief and loss haunting its corners as passion and need intensified with each heartbeat. He wouldnít let his heart suffer those emotions for long, Aya was his completely now and he wouldnít stand for the man being in pain. <Soon. This time next week we will be in Europe, free from those who seek to control us. Iíll make you happy, I promise.>

The smaller man just held on to him even tighter while steering them towards the bedroom. Schuldig let himself be towed there, inwardly amazed at how the man managed the feat backwards and with his eyes closed. Ah, his tuberose definitely had his talents. Catching that thought, Aya bit into his bottom lip, making him gasp at the suddenness of the action. Next thing the telepath knew Aya had shifted them about and he was shoved onto the bed, the pale man straddling his waist. "You donít know the half of it," his lover huskily whispered, violet eyes heavy with desire. Schuldig could just lie there as he was quickly stripped of his shirt.

This was, this was just fucking amazing, the German thought. Aya had never initiated anything before, letting him take control of any and all seductions. But here the man was moving down his chest, holding his hands firmly down on the mattress as a hot mouth tortured him with kisses and licks and swift little nips. Schuldig felt his loverís amusement at how truly stunned he was, and the sense of enjoyment at being in charge. There was a brief thought that Aya had to do this more often, it was the longest the telepath had ever been silent that he could ever recall. <You can do this whenever the hell you want, precious. I donít mind in the slightest.>

Aya frowned at the longhaired man, willing him to remain silent. Schuldig grinned at him in delight but complied. He returned his attention to the task at hand, losing himself in pleasure and need, a safe little world here in the bedroom where he wouldnít have to face how painful his future was going to be the next week or so. Not liking the turn his thoughts had taken, the pale man slid his hand down the front of his loverís pants, letting the Germanís pleasure wash through the both of them. Lost in the shared bliss, Aya tugged the garment away, freeing the other manís erection. Schuldig let out a moan as his member was engulfed by his loverís mouth. The next few moments passed as he groaned out the smaller redheadís name, thrusting into the hot orifice, both of their minds blanked by the telepathís emotions. Just before they could be sent over the edge, Aya pulled away as he wiped his damp lips. He moved upward to kiss Schuldig, enjoying the dazed manner in which the man returned the gesture.

Regaining his senses, Schuldig roughly tugged off Ayaís clothes, growling as pale skin was exposed for him to see and touch and taste. Each brush of flesh against flesh intertwined their minds even deeper together, until they experienced all that the other felt, the dual sensation of being impaled by a hard hot shaft and the silken heat clenching tight around it. Gasping in unison they gave in to the echoed pleasure, completely lost in each other.


Cassandra watched as the lanky blond punched her mirror, breaking the silver pane into tiny shards that chimed against each other in midair before dissipating into smoke. As Yohji clutched the cherry wood frame the reflecting surface became solid and whole once more. "Iím so sorry." The bitter phrase was an all too familiar one lately, filling her with despair and shame each time she uttered it. Green eyes filled with rage and pain drifted over to glare at her.

"Is this some sort of twisted joke? A fucking nightmare, maybe? Listen Princess, normally I donít mind dreaming about a beautiful woman, but not when she shows me my lover being screwed by my worst enemy. This is a nightmare. It has to be." It was the only explanation. Yohji had been dreaming about a shift in the Koneko where it was just him and Ken being besieged by a horde of schoolgirls, all clamoring for the last dozen of roses they had left, a sea of voices and faces that never ended. A bit odd and anxiety provoking, but completely bearable all in all. Then the foreign woman had appeared from nowhere, grabbed his hand and things had faded away until they were standing in this damn odd little cottage. Next thing he knew he was pushed over to the mirror, which played the scene of Aya willing giving himself to Mastermind, ready to abandon him and WeiŖ and even Aya-chan. It had been too much to see, the Bastard thrusting into his kittenís body as the pale man had moaned out the Germanís name, holding onto him tight. "It has to be a nightmare, just like last time."

Feeling the heat slowly leave her face from the manís compliment, Cassandra crossed over to him and tugged him away from the mirror. "Yes and no. As always itís a matter of perspective. To the evil one it is a dream of what he fervently hungers for, for the star child it is a nightmare that becomes a pleasant reality with each passing day. You are the one who will decide if the vision will ever come true, that is why I brought you here, golden knight. Not to inflict pain upon, but to warn." They came to a halt a few meters before a huge loom, covered by a dark woven cloak.

"Listen Princess, hate to say this to you but you are making just about as much sense as you did the last time I dreamed about you. You wouldnít happen to have a Cliff Notes version of your speech somewhere, would you? Hearing you talk is like trying to read ĎFinneganís Wakeí." Yohji yanked a hand through his hair, still upset over what he had just seen. Yep, definitely a nightmare. One that would haunt him for days, like the last one heíd had. Just the thought of the Bastard touching Aya filled him with rage and fear. Glancing down at his quiet companion, the blond took in the womanís crest fallen expression. He reached out a hand to lightly tap her on the nose. "Sorry to snap at you, Princess, but listening to you gives me a headache. Why canít you just come out and say whatever the hell you want to?"

Rubbing at her nose, all Cassandra could reply was "Princess?" She blushed again at the smile that was offered to her. "Yeah, Princess. You never did tell me your name, have to call you something, now donít I? All this talk of knights and evil ones brought it to mind, but I think it suits you." Yohji pulled his face into a hurt expression. "Donít tell me that you hate the nickname as well, like a certain stubborn redhead I love." The psychic shook her head, flustered by the pet name and the attention directed her way.

Remembering about the manís lover, she made an effort to concentrate on why sheíd pulled the Knight of Cups into this dream. "No true names can be spoken here, but that one will do. Listen to me as I speak as plainly as possible." Green eyes focused sharply on her, humor swiftly fleeing. "Warned you I did, the last time we spoke. To think of the future. It draws ever near, the decisive steps about to be taken. Those cruel winged Erinyes will snatch away the empty vessel, breaking your starís heart. Him and your comrades at arms, the Chariot and the Page of Swords, will seek to find them with hate-filled souls. But undecided you will be, torn between the past and the present. Very dangerous, to be caught amongst two worlds like that. No hope for the future at all if you are thus suspended. Chose that which is gone and the future shall be as you saw it, the evil one and the star child united." Gazing deep into the blondís perplexed eyes, Cassandra let out a growl and smacked Kudoh. "Idiot! Are you even hearing what I say?"

"Hey, no rough stuff before the third date," Yohji snapped back, rubbing his sore head. Geez, the princess packed a mean punch. Maybe she was related to Aya. "Have you tried listening to yourself lately? You sound like fucking Yoda! Iíd get better answers shaking an eight ball! You make absolu- hey, hands off! Iím taken!" His male pride took a bit of a blow as the small woman easily dragged him close to the loom, holding him still and forcing his head to look at the cloth. A red gleam drew his attention.

"See this? It was a few strands at first, now it grows with each hour. They are already entwined past any hope of severing, in part because of the dreams and how vulnerable his love for you has made the star child. Death has been chained, he is no match for the Magicianís manipulations, especially when you make him so weak. But you can be his strength as well. Unless you shatter him by choosing the doppelganger when she seeks to betray you. If your choice is the past, the dream becomes reality and you will have nothing."

Sighing as he finally managed to shrug off the tiny hands, Yohji rubbed his eyes and wished desperately for a drink. A part of him kept insisting that this was all his normal silly imaginings, but a pit of fear had opened up in his stomach and refused to let him go. "All right, letís see if I understand this. You keep saying choose the future. Someone from my past is going to show up and come between Aya and I. It is Aya you are talking about, right? Heís the star child? You ever try calling the man that to his face, he isnít real big on cute little names, you know." At the brunetteís snarl he held up his hands and continued. "Hey, I put up with your gibberish, you can put up with my attitude. Now where were we? Right, if I donít pick Aya, who I assume you mean is my present, then the kitten is going to run off with Mastermind? Not fucking likely, he hates the man."

Cassandra shook her head as she ran a hand over the cloth stretched out before her. "A part of him still does, but it grows smaller by the day. The dreams see to that. Already the Magician has him alone and isolated, no one else to cling to. Hope remains though, even if it was just a reverie, he chose to hold on to the tokens you bestowed to each other. You have your chains on him as well, sir knight, ones that he willingly accepted. That is the key issue at hand, no matter how the evil one twists things, it was you that the star child truly gave himself to freely and with consent. That hold will remain until you do something to break it."

"Iím never letting go of the kitten, if thatís what youíre thinking." Yohji glared at the woman, voice low and serious. "I get the point, donít break his heart. Nothing is going to make me do that. And if The Bastard is messing with his head again, the solution is real simple. I kill the prick. You wanna be a doll and tell me how the hell I manage that, Princess?"

All the statement earned him was a frantic shake of the head, long dark hair sent flying back and forth. "Itís progressed too far, _never_ seek the Magicianís death. You will not like the consequences. Harming the one will harm the other." Cassandra ran a fingertip around the silver ring on her hand. "You say you will never betray your star, but the time will come when you wonít heed his advice and well-being. Never underestimate the hold the past has on one. When the crux is at hand, remember my words, and what I have shown you. Donít try to hold on to both, or you will have nothing. And the evil one will have a prize that is without measure."

"I need a drink." Letting his head drop to his chest, Yohji closed his eyes for a moment. "I wonít lose him, you know. I donít care what you say about the past and all of that, I made a promise to never leave him. Canít break it." There were too few people out there that believed in his word, that Aya was one of them was reason enough to get out of bed each and every morning. "Youíll see, weíll be together to the end." He started at a touch to his cheek.

Blushing slightly at her boldness, Cassandra gave him a soft smile. "You are meant for each other, if it wasnít for the evil oneís intervention there would be no need for these warnings. Just donít let your regret and guilt and belief that the star child will always forgive you dictate your actions. Forgiveness is not the same thing as acceptance, never forget that, either in the upcoming months or in the holy city. You have a chance at true happiness, but the past seeks to break you apart with ghosts and scars. I will help you when I can."

Lush lips curved into a grin that had seduced many a person. "Thanks Princess, if the Bastard is involved Iíll need all the help I can get." The small woman quickly looked downward, cheeks bright red. Yohji thought she looked enchanting, if his psyche had to come up with some figment to encourage him on in his battle with the telepath, at least it was a cutie. Now if he could only figure out who the woman reminded him of. "So any other glimpses of the future you want to share with me? Like maybe some winning lottery numbers, or when Ken is going to break down and admit he loves the chibi? Hell, Iíll even accept a warning about the next fight Aya and I are going to get into. Need all the help--." He stopped talking as Cassandraís head jerked up and she held out a hand for silence. "Something wrong?"

She nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, you have to go. The dream is over, the evil one will come here next to see how his actions have influenced the future." Grey eyes shined at him brightly. "Donít forget what we talked about. Now go and comfort your love." For a moment her hand touched the loom. "He realizes that something is wrong, that things have shifted in a direction that he would never have consciously taken. Thereís pain and confusion and longing, his talent yearning to be united in fact with the evil oneís. Which is a topic for next time, but the risk of discovery far outweighs the need for knowledge. Now go. Shoo, shoo." Before Yohji could react in indignation at being shooed away, he felt himself melting away into darkness.

It took him some time to realize that he was no longer dreaming but lying in his bed. In the background a song was playing low on his stereo. Yohji just laid there as he heard it end and then repeat again from the beginning. Stretching out his arms, the blond realized that his lover was not sleeping next to him. Yohji sat up in bed, rubbing at his eyes and glancing around the room.

Aya was sitting on the couch, a small pale bundle that glowed in the darkness. Getting out of bed, Yohji stumbled over to his lover. The pale man was seated with his knees tucked under the huge sweatshirt he was wearing, one arm wrapped tight around his body. The other one clutched a bottle that the playboy recognized contained whiskey. Well, at least it had, it was nearly empty now. As he watched Aya lifted it and took a long swallow. Besides him on the cushion were two pill containers. The older assassin felt a wave of panic as he reached down to pick them up, and was relieved to find out that they were still mostly full. Yohji sat down on the couch as a white face glittering with tears lifted to look him. "What is it, love? Have a headache? I donít think you should be mixing the medication with alcohol like that."

The manís head bobbed up and down, whether in answer to the question or statement Yohji wasnít sure. He snagged the bottle, pulling it from an unresisting hand and set it on the floor, ignoring the urge to sample a little himself. That done, he regarded his boyfriend, who just stared at him with glittering eyes. Crimson strands prevented him from interpreting the emotions shining in the violet orbs, so he made to brush the bangs out of the way. Grabbing the hand extended to him and pulling on it until his lover was snuggled against him and holding him tight, Aya rested his head on Yohjiís shoulder. After a moment he spoke, voice hushed and raw. "Do you ever wonder at times if you are going crazy?"

"All the time love," the blond soothed, rubbing his hands up and down the smaller manís back. "Itís when you stop wondering that you know you have a problem. Something wrong, have a bad dream?" Ever since they had returned from their vacation, the swordsmanís sleep had been fitful events, plagued by nightmares. For a moment Yohjiís mind flashed back to a womanís voice warning him about not forsaking his present love, but Aya shivering in his arms distracted him from the thought. "Itíll be okay. I promise. I wonít let anything harm you." He rocked his lover in his arms. "Iíll never let you down, kitten. My word on it. Now why donít you try and go back to sleep, you really need it." Yohji settled back onto the couch, pulling Aya onto his lap, reaching for the blanket draped behind them and covering the both of them with it.

"Donít want to dream anymore. Something bad is happening in them." It frightened Aya, how anymore when he woke up he felt like a stranger. Odd feelings besieged him, and he knew of no way to fight what was happening. He wasnít any good at dealing with intangibles, the redhead needed something he could take his sword to and cut down so it would never bother him again. This was something that he couldnít defend against, and that fact shook him to the core.

Combing his fingers through silky hair, Yohji asked for an example. An image filled his mind, of Aya in bed with Mastermind, and his arms tightened around the redhead until the man wheezed out that he couldnít breath. Murmuring an apology, lush lips kissed a pale forehead.

Drawing in a deep breath, Aya tried to put his anxieties into words. "I donít know. I always remember my dreams, but I canít recall these ones. All I know is that in them Iím losing you forever, and now Aya-chan as well." Exhausted from worry, he let Yohjiís presence and touch ease him back to sleep, as the man repeated his vow to never leave him. Sitting there in the darkness, the older man listened first to the sound of his kittenís breath deepen, then found himself paying attention to the song that Aya had on the stereo. It was from his cd collection, a foreign artist whose voice and dramatic style had caught his fancy. Yohji started translating the English lyrics as he rested his cheek on top of the smaller manís head.

Itís dark in here

Visions are flashing into my head

As I reminisce

My reoccurring dreams and you said

Iím falling falling for you babe,

And my feelings are getting stronger,

So why donít you stay with me for a

For a little longer

Come here boy

Oh come here boy,

Come here boy

Oh come here boy

I know that my face

Is only too familiar to your sleep

I can see it in your eyes

I can tell by your body heat

Why are you taking so long

You need to come and find me, honey

To set your mind at rest

And let your dreams run free

Come here boy

Oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy

You know, Iím no stranger in your dreams

You know, Iím no stranger in your dreams

Iím craving, Iím howling Iím begging Iím pleading

Be mine tonight, oh yeah

Oh and Iím waiting Iím dying, Iím wanting and needing

To show you a night, oh yeah

Where Iíll be touching and holding caressing and giving you

Your every fantasy, yeah

Iíll get you dreaming and lusting and burning and praying

For more of this ecstasy, oh yeah

Come here boy

Oh oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy, yeah

Come here boy

Oh come here boy

You know

You know. Iím no stranger in your dreams

As the song started to make sense he held Aya closer. A half remembered dream occupied Yohjiís thoughts, of standing in a strange cottage as a petite woman warned him about breaking his loverís heart. Of a vision where Mastermind had taken the man away from him. "Over my dead body. You hear me, Princess? Iím not going to let that happen."


Smirking in pleasure and satisfaction, Schuldig stepped into the cottage, finding Cassandra standing before the loom. He walked over to her side, extending a hand to caress the dark cloak. "Did you see that dream? It was wonderful. He was completely willing that time, it took no influence from me to have Aya surrender himself. That fact was almost as delicious as what came after it. Such a shame you donít like sex, or Iíd share the memory with you." The telepathís eyes were heavy with remembered desire, glowing cat-like in the dim light. "That was the most intense session yet, I canít wait till I have him in real life. Not much longer now."

"Iíve said it before, you push too hard, evil one!" Cassandra scowled at the young man, voice tight in outrage. "Feel what you have done to him, he hovers near the edge! Too much change and heartache, a catalyst can be broken, never you forget. When that happens dark times will come for all. With one this powerful, should that come to pass what our masters have planned for the future would be a blessing."

The redhead languidly waved a hand in the air before resuming its stroking of the woven cloth. "I know my history, you Alte Hexe. Plagues and war and mass death, oh my. But I wonít let that happen, I donít want him broken anymore than you do. I just want him to be mine.

Shaking her head, the grey woman let out a weary sigh. "It is useless talking to you, such an evil child. Youíll do as you want." And she didnít have the power to stop him. Esset had bred him well, hers and his fatherís talents were but sparks to his inferno. Then again neither of them could hope to leash a catalyst, even a weak one. The evil oneís heart was anything but weak. "He hungers for you now, leave him be for some time or that fact will drive him mad. Bide your time, why I bother repeating that I will never know. Though you come to me for advice, and heed it not."

Stretching and yawning, Schuldig treated her to a mocking look. "I come to you for glimpses of the future, not even Farfie is out of it enough to take advice from another insane person. But if you say he is that fragile, Iíll give my precious tuberose a brief respite. As you said, he wants me back now, maybe Iíll wait to see if he comes to me." There was a flash of an evil grin as the man stepped into the shadows. "Then again maybe I wonít. Such a tasty little kitty, donít you know itís very hard to resist. Let me know if anything changes or a new development appears. Ja." He started to whistle a tune and the shadows darkened for a moment, next thing she knew the telepath was gone. Cassandra remained still for a while longer, making sure he had truly left, then delicately touched her weaving. "Iím so sorry."


Song is by Imogen Heap.


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