Scar Tissue

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by nekojita

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Aya grunted softly as a trembling hand stroked along his stomach, gently wiping him clean as he lay there, spent from contentment and exertion. Yohji was… delightfully exhausting. The man never failed to fill him with pleasure and wear him out to the point where Aya could spend a few hours sleeping peacefully, free of nightmares. Which was why he had let Yohji talk him into his bed again and again these past few weeks. He needed a respite from his nightmares and an outlet for his tension, especially after a mission. That was all, he told himself very sternly.

He knew he’d have to get out of the bed in a few minutes and make his way to his apartment, but he didn’t have the energy at the moment. Nor did he want to shatter the fragile peace he’d attained in Yohji’s bed, from Yohji’s body, by forcing himself to move. But even if it was an option to remain here, neither of them would get any rest. They’d found that out the hard way the few times they’d fallen asleep immediately after sex, too exhausted from each other and missions to sleep in their respective beds. Until the affair had started a over a month ago, Aya had never slept with another person and he found it difficult to sleep when there was someone else tossing and turning next to him.

For all of Yohji’s many conquests, he was just as unused to sharing a bed for something other than sex these past few years. He’d sheepishly confided one morning after the both of them had tossed about all night but had been too tired to crawl out of bed that he wasn’t used to sticking around after sex. Aya had been oddly both hurt and shocked at that announcement. Hurt at the blatant reminder that all this was to Yohji was sex with a convenient partner, one who lived close by and was available after missions and wouldn’t ask embarrassing questions about wounds. Shocked that Yohji had stayed in his bed all the same, when Yohji usually did manage to leave under his own steam the beds of all those one-night stands. Maybe it was because Aya was a teammate and would usually be the first one getting up in the morning, intent on leaving quietly and not causing a scene. For some reason, though, it was always Aya’s bed the two of them ended up staying in on those rare occasions.

All those facts did was paint how ambiguous their relationship was, which bothered Aya more and more with each passing night. He wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t given in to Yohji’s teasing one day and pressed him against the wall while kissing him breathless, then accepting his offer. If he’d just walked away would they have remained merely teammates for the rest of their acquaintance, or would the relationship have happened anyway, under more favorable circumstances? Would they have gotten together out of more than mutual attraction and frustration? As it was, they didn’t talk to each other very much, both in bed and out, and there was still some distrust, some distance, that prevented them from completely relaxing in each other’s presence. They could trust each other enough to fuck but not enough to rest peacefully side by side.

With these dark thoughts in his head, Aya slowly became aware that even though he was now clean, Yohji’s hand still teased at his flesh. Wondering if the man wanted another round of sex, Aya opened his eyes and looked over at his… lover. Fuck buddy. The second was more accurate, even if its crudeness made him frown.

Yohji trailed a finger along a slightly raised scar on his ribcage, a slight frown on his face as well. Wondering what he was thinking, Aya hesitantly spoke Yohji’s name.

"Hmm, where did you get this scar, Aya? It looks older than the others," Yohji asked, his voice warm and tinged with curiosity, quite unlike its usually detached nature after sex.

For a moment Aya considered just grunting out ‘a while ago’ but couldn’t find it in himself to be so curt. Maybe because it was the first time that someone had expressed any interest in his past for quite some time. Or because it was the first time Yohji had expressed any interest in him other than to get him into bed or to dump a shift on him.

"It’s from when… I was training with a sword. The person I was sparring with was using a faulty shinai - but didn’t know it at the time. When they hit me across the ribs it shattered and broke the skin." It was almost worth it to dig up his memories of Sendai to see the shocked expression on Yohji’s face. He was willing to bet that the man hadn’t really expected him to answer. To be honest, Aya was even a bit confused that he’d answered after all, let alone truthfully.

After a moment Yohji closed his mouth and smiled charmingly at Aya. He also slid his hand down Aya’s chest to his stomach and touched the scar that rested right above his navel. "And this one?"

Aya grunted in surprise and then nibbled at his lip. Why was Yohji so curious? He’d expected him to grow bored as soon as he answered, and then Aya would be able to leave and seek out his own bed. But instead Yohji smiled gently and ran his fingers over the scar tissue in such a way that caused Aya to shiver. He wasn’t used to such gentle touches outside of sex.

"Some time ago, when I was freelancing." Yohji and the others knew from Birman that he’d worked privately as an assassin before joining Weiß, but Aya hadn’t told them anything about that time. He hadn’t told them much of anything at all, to be exact. Yet here he was, opening his mouth again. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was in another man’s bed, having just had sex, he would say it was rather uncharacteristic of him. But when put in that perspective….

"It looks like a bullet grazed you." Yohji’s frown returned as he tenderly stroked the scar, his touch light and warm, the tips of his fingers slightly rough.

"Hmmm."

Yohji’s curious green eyes stared indecipherably at him for a moment, and then the finger took to tracing its way along Aya’s body to another scar. This time to one on his hip, causing him to suck in his breath at the touch.

"This looks like a knife wound."

A bitter, pain-filled memory rushed through Aya’s head as he thought about that scar. "It was. It taught me the hard way to make sure that the body lying on the ground is really… dead." Actually, he’d assumed that the man had been passed out, and had learned otherwise. That had been the last time that Aya had ever made that assumption. ‘Live and learn’ took on a new meaning due to his current occupation, along with the assumption that a wounded target could do him no harm. Despite the darkness it brought to his soul, he became convinced that mercy would only lead to his death and he made sure to always finish off his opponents. After all, who would look after Aya-chan if someone he had foolishly thought to spared killed him?

Yohji’s voice softened, a sharp contrast to the darkness that entered his eyes and made his generous mouth twist. "I can’t believe you only wounded a target and didn’t kill him."

He guessed not, Aya thought a touch sadly. All Yohji saw him as was an efficient killer, a fellow assassin - and a fuck buddy. Aya mustn’t forget that, considering the fact that he was lying here naked in Yohji’s bed after having been fucked by the man. Which was why he didn’t explain Crashers and their no kill policy, unwilling to reveal any more personal information to someone who would most likely grow bored with him in another couple of weeks. He’d given in to one impulse that day in the Koneko, he wasn’t going to do it again tonight. It was bad enough he was still here and talking to Yohji when he should be long gone.

Yohji didn’t seem to notice his silence, probably because he was so used to it or maybe just didn’t really care about what he had to say, and resumed his exploration of Aya’s body. His rough index finger came to rest on Aya’s right knee, and his voice no longer held that bit of softness or warmth but was curious once more.

"What about this one? It’s very faint."

"From a hurdle during a relay race at school." Aya’s voice was rough, his words curt as he refused to elaborate any further, unwilling to think about his past as Ran. Yohji must have noticed it because he immediately moved on.

The next touch was along his left bicep.

He didn’t wait for the question to be said aloud, not with the way Yohji’s finger stilled and the inquiring look sent his way. "Another bullet wound during a freelance mission." This was something he felt more comfortable discussing, just one professional chatting with another. "I didn’t have any cover when I had to take out the target, and got grazed a few times when I charged him." That had been a bad one, and Aya shivered in memory of how close he’d come to being killed that night, to leaving his sister behind with no one to support her. But he’d needed the money so desperately. Would Yohji ever understand that? From what he could tell, Yohji wasn’t in Weiß for the money or for revenge. For a moment it shamed Aya that he’d taken someone as a lover and knew next to nothing about them. Why did he have to feel… lust for Yohji, and why had he given in to that emotion? Why was he still here, actually talking about his past, his scars, when the sex was over? Yohji did something to him, something that made him lose any common sense he possessed and so far he hadn’t figured out a way to fight the effect that Yohji had on him.

"Let me guess, here," Yohji’s long finger stroked along Aya’s left shoulder, his voice soothing as if he sensed Aya’s discomfort and sought to put him at ease, "and here." A teasing touch ran along Aya’s ribcage again as he nodded. "You must have scared the hell out of them. I can see it now - you appearing out of nowhere, clad all in leather and waving your katana. I know… I know I would have stared in amazement." Yohji sounded more amused than amazed at the moment.

"Hmph." Aya wasn’t sure if Yohji had insulted him or not, but he was used to the uncertainty so he resisted the urge to bat aside Yohji’s questing hand. It seemed to be the basis for their relationship, that and lust. And death and blood as well, as much a part of them as their scars.

Continuing on, Yohji gently stroked the right side of Aya’s neck. "Your sweater hides this most of the time." Aya knew he was referring to the slim line that ran along the base of his throat.

"Someone tried to slit my throat," he said, and couldn’t quite suppress a shiver. It had been yet another close call when he had been trying to learn the necessary skills to keep himself alive.

"They had to have been rather close to do that. You need to be more careful, Ayan." There was a hint of reproach to Yohji’s voice and expression, the emotion a bit shocking to Aya as he hadn’t thought that Yohji cared that much. He didn’t know how to react to it, which made him uncomfortable and annoyed in turns.

Why did it matter to Yohji if he was careful or not? It wasn’t as if Yohji couldn’t find another lover if something happened to him. Growing more uncomfortable with the questions and Yohji’s reactions to his scars - yet still unable to force himself out of the bed - Aya decided to turn the tables.

He reached out and just as gently ran his fingertips over the scar above Yohji’s right nipple. "This isn’t a bullet wound." It was ragged and branched out over the light brown skin, and for the life of him, Aya couldn’t figure out what had caused it. He often wondered about the wound when he and Yohji made… had sex, but the one or two times he’d touched it, Yohji had shied away, much like he was doing now.

Yohji went still for a moment and then sighed as he pressed Aya’s hand against his chest. "It… I used to be a private detective, I told you that, didn’t I?" When Aya shook his head, Yohji’s eyes went wide and he seemed confused. "I could swear that I told you that one night."

It was on the tip of his tongue to comment that they never talked, other than to decide whose bedroom to use and other necessities, but Aya was practiced at remaining quiet.

Yohji sighed again and smiled ruefully, his tangled hair falling onto his face. "Well, I got punched by this guy who had barbed wire wrapped around his glove when I tried to tail his boss. He barely touched me, for which I’m very grateful for, but he left me a reminder." This time, the reproach in Yohji’s voice seemed directed at himself. " I was really lucky; he could have torn me up pretty bad."

That explained the wound’s jagged nature. With uncharacteristic reluctance, Aya slid his hand free and continued along Yohji’s left arm to another scar.

"This is a bullet wound." Years of working for Kritiker had taught him what they looked like, much more than he ever thought possible when he’d been Ran.

"Yeah, from one of my earlier missions. Found out the hard way, just like you, to make sure I had adequate cover." Yohji once again grabbed Aya’s hand and then rolled aside until he was lying on his back. "Either that or wear Kevlar, if possible." From the hint of coldness in Yohji’s voice, Aya assumed that the discussion was over, but his hand remained trapped. Turning to face Yohji, he ran a finger over the hand that held his tightly. About to order Yohji to let him go and then leave, the feel of several thin ridges under his fingertip distracted Aya.

He studied the scars for a few seconds and made an educated guess. "These are from your wire?"

Yohji sighed and slumped back onto the bed. "Aya… I’m tired." He closed his eyes and pressed his lips tightly together into a thin line. A bit miffed at being dismissed so curtly when he’d made more of an effort to answer *Yohji’s* questions and confused over what he was supposed to do about his hand, Aya sat up and straddled Yohji’s waist. Now that got the man to pay attention to him.

He leaned down until his eartails trailed along Yohji’s scarred chest. "What’s your problem?" If he was being put in his place he wanted Yohji to say it loud and clear and then let him go. He would gladly retreat to his bedroom, and maybe it would provide the impetuous to end this… he couldn’t say ‘relationship’. Maybe that was the reason he was idling here tonight, because a part of him recognized that yet another thing was coming to an end. For some reason he didn’t feel any relief at that thought, but he refused to dwell on the matter, per usual when it concerned Yohji.

"Aya…." Yohji’s face was oddly uncertain, and his lovely, expressive eyes refused to look directly at Aya. This was it then, this would be the end. Tomorrow they’d go back to… no, nothing had really changed between them other than the sex. Tomorrow, Aya wouldn’t have to worry again about having to slink back to his bed after sex with Yohji. He’d spend his nights in it all alone once more, and Yohji would just whore around with someone else. There was a sudden pain in Aya’s chest, one that took him by surprise and almost made him gasp.

His voice sad and tired, Yohji offered a weak smile. "I just… don’t like anyone touching my scars. They’re ugly."

Surprised out of his painful thoughts, Aya blinked as he gazed down at Yohji. What the hell was the man talking about? Scars? Yohji eyes were still downcast, and there was a faint blush to his cheeks.

"You’re that vain?" They were the first words he could think of, and proved yet again the reason why he normally kept his mouth shut when Yohji angrily glared.

"Thanks a lot, Aya. Gods you can be a cold bastard sometimes," Yohji muttered. "Yeah, I think they’re ugly; most people don’t enjoy walking around looking like they suffered an attack from Dr. Frankenstein. They attract attention, and I just hate having to come up with excuses for them." Yohji glared at him a little longer and then closed his eyes again, as let go of Aya’s hand.

Relieved to be free, Aya straightened up and stared at his teammate. He should go, he knew he should, and maybe Yohji would leave him alone from now on. As if it was solely Yohji’s fault that this… relationship had ever occurred in the first place. He could go back to being alone, locked inside his misery with no outlet other than the faint hope of his sister waking up one day and a chance at Takatori. Staring at the golden body sprawled beneath him, Aya suddenly wondered if it was possible for him to do that any more. After all, he’d let Yohji in much more than he’d ever intended.

Before he knew what he was doing, he leaned down again and brushed his tongue along the ragged scar on Yohji’s chest, who jerked at the contact and choked out his name in response. Yohji’s large, calloused hands clenched in his hair as his tongue moved along the man’s body. Aya ignored the tight grip as he teased at the puckered flesh, as he licked and nipped at it and the nipple beneath it and wondered what the hell he was doing.

Yohji moaned softly and relaxed the hold in his hair. "Aya, what are you doing?" he asked, echoing Aya’s thoughts. There was a loud moan when Aya shifted downward to lave the some attention to the scar just right of Yohji’s heart before he moved downward. When he reached the faint scar tissue on Yohji’s lower stomach, he gently kissed and licked it before he pulled back just enough to softly blow on the wet flesh and look Yohji in the eyes.

Still not sure what quite had possessed him and spurred him into action, he nonetheless tried to explain. "They’re not ugly. You’re… you worry too much over nonsense." Not liking what he’d almost revealed, he continued with his self-appointed task. He didn’t find Yohji’s body to be marred or hideous; the scars painted a story of survival and pain, one that he understood intimately. Nothing could take away from the blond’s beauty, certainly not a few blemishes.

He kissed a scar on Yohji’s left thigh and skimmed his fingers up Yohji’s inner thigh as he did so. "Tell me about this one," he said, his voice quiet and unsure.

"Aya… oh gods." Yohji tossed his head back, his dark gold hair fanning out onto the grey pillowcase. "Some target had a few more bodyguards than we were expecting, and I got shot. It happened right after I joined Weiß."

Rubbing his face along Yohji’s leg, Aya shifted upward, moving towards the wound on Yohji’s shoulder. He kept his right hand were it was and let it slowly inch closer and closer to Yohji’s balls as he teased circles on the sensitive flesh. "And this one?" He felt more than a little shocked at his audacity, at the way he savored touching Yohji’s body but it was easier to continue than to stop.

Groaning, Yohji spread his legs open wider. "First time I was shot. It was when I was detective. Hurt like hell for over a week, and Asuka…."

Aya had heard that name before, on the few occasions when they’d shared a bed for more than an hour or two, and once Yohji had called it out during sex. That memory shocked him with its pain so he distracted himself with sucking on the healed wound as his fingers brushed against the bottom of Yohji’s balls. As he did so, he also remembered Yohji whispering the name when he’d been unconscious, during the Riot case. Obviously the woman had meant something to Yohji. There was a spark of pain that he deliberately ignored at the thought.

His teammate’s hand grasped his hair tightly and Aya was suddenly jerked forward for a savage kiss. Yohji devoured his mouth frantically, and something inside Aya stirred to the challenge, made him delve his tongue in as deep as it would go into Yohji’s mouth, to suck Yohji’s tongue as deeply as possible into his own mouth.

Yohji broke off the kiss and gasped for air when Aya’s fingers cupped his balls, Aya’s thumb rubbing back and forth over the thin, sensitive skin. His lips fastened onto a golden neck as he found himself still craving the other man’s taste.

"Ah, oh gods, Aya. Asuka… she was my old partner," Yohji mumbled, his voice unsteady. "You’d have liked her. She’s dead now."

Pausing for a moment, Aya rested his head on Yohji’s shoulder and closed his eyes as he thought about the stark way Yohji had announced that. He wondered if this Asuka was the reason for the former detective joining Weiß and if she meant as much to Yohji as Aya-chan did to him. From the pain in the man’s voice, it was clear that Yohji had cared about the woman. Maybe that was why Yohji kept the world at bay by treating everyone as simple fucks, disposable and temporary. Aya knew that what had happened to his sister and parents had left him scarred in many ways, it was highly possible that Asuka’s death had done the same to Yohji.

But his thoughts scattered when Yohji shifted beneath him, his erection rubbing against Aya’s thigh. His own cock hardening at the friction, Aya shoved aside his dark musings and focused on convincing his idiot teammate that he wasn’t hideous. He grasped Yohji’s large right hand in his and ran his tongue over the thin white lines that covered it, crisscrossing the long fingers. As he did this, his other hand began to stroke Yohji’s hard cock, which made the man buck his hips at the touch.

"Aya… don’t stop," Yohji pleaded. Aya let go of the man’s hand and continued to trail his fingers and mouth along the golden body, stroking and kissing all the old wounds he found. Along Yohji’s chest and back, his arms and legs, never once stopping with the slow strokes to his cock. He enjoyed the way Yohji moaned and cursed beneath him, the way Yohji twisted about to keep Aya’s hands and mouth on him as much as possible. Unable to resist and unwilling to talk about the past any longer, Aya returned to Yohji’s mouth, needing that taste again.

Yohji wrapped his arms and legs about Aya and pulled him closer as their tongues battled. Letting go of Yohji’s cock so he could then grind his own against it, Aya felt along the nightstand for the container of lube. He needed Yohji, needed to be inside the man to prove just how incredibly desirable and gorgeous Yohji really was. There was something about Kudoh Yohji that drew him in, pulled him from behind his walls of silence and indifference and made him feel, made him want and need again. Which was why when Yohji had propositioned him that one day, a teasing smile on his lips as he repeated the offer for the umpteenth time, Aya hadn’t been able to resist giving into that want despite his fears and common sense. Even if he’d only have Yohji and the emotions for a short time, at least he’d have had something of the man.

Just like he was going to have him again now. Even though he knew he was going to regret that impulse, and that he’d only be hurt again - but Aya’s world was already one of regrets and pain. However, Yohji had shown him one of pleasure and blissful, brief periods of forgetfulness and as much as he was afraid of those feelings, he wanted more. When they were fucking each other nothing mattered but the ecstasy they felt. Aya wanted to feel that again, especially if it was for the last time.

Once his fingers were slick, Aya pressed them against Yohji’s tight opening and circled the puckered flesh until Yohji moaned his name and pressed against his hand. Almost giving in to the urge to smile at the sight before him, of Yohji wanton and begging for him, Aya returned his mouth to the ragged scar on the man’s chest as he pushed one of his fingers inside, into tight heat and soft flesh.

His mouth roaming over the numerous scars, Aya added another finger and soon scissored them open and closed as he delighted in the way that Yohji pleaded with him for more, the way Yohji didn’t try to flinch from his touches anymore. Strong fingers entangled in his hair and prevented him from moving his head very far from Yohji’s body. Taking a nipple between his lips, Aya flicked that spot inside his lover to make his teammate gasp in pleasure. He did so again and again until the hand gripping his hair fell down to the bed and began to twist its long fingers in the sheets instead.

Judging Yohji to be ready, Aya slicked his cock and then grabbed a pillow to shove it under Yohji’s thrusting hips. He shifted downwards on the bed until he was kneeling between Yohji’s thighs, and after pulling him forward until Yohji’s legs rested on his own, Aya thrust himself inside in one slow, steady pulse.

Yohji tossed back his head and shoved his hips forward, trying to take Aya in even further as he let out a hissing, slow breath. Taking a moment to pant out the man’s name, Aya closed his eyes and savored the tight clenching heat that enveloped him, driving him wild with pleasure. One hand gripped Yohji’s thigh to pull him closer still, and the other wrapped itself around the man’s jutting cock, pumping up and down in time to his thrusts.

How the hell could Yohji think he was anything but gorgeous? His golden skin, his emerald eyes, the dark honey of his hair, all of him was warmth and pleasure, a haven for Aya to lose himself into. This is what kept him following Yohji to one of their rooms almost every night: Yohji himself and the peace he offered Aya, even if only for a short time. Aya had never wanted anyone like this, had never seen anyone more beautiful, scars and all. Maybe even more so for those few flaws as they broke apart the beauty, made it seem attainable. They made Yohji real.

Thrusting as deep inside as he could, Aya leaned down and brushed his lips along Yohji’s chest. "You’re beautiful." He didn’t know why the words had finally escaped him, only that he had to say them. Yohji seemed to do that to him a lot.

Yohji stared at him, eyes hazy with passion and half cloaked by sweat-soaked strands of dark gold hair. Yohji licked his lips and caressed Aya’s cheek, threaded his fingers through an eartail and used it to pull Aya’s mouth onto his.

A forceful thrust soon made the two of them break apart from the kiss and moan the other’s name. Yohji’s hand joined Aya’s on his cock and they stroked in unison as Aya shifted his hips to try to bury himself as deep inside Yohji as he could. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, not making a sound, and then Yohji tossed his head to the side and arched his back as he came, streams of warm come plastering his chest and stomach.

Feeling himself being clenched tight, Aya shifted his grip from Yohji’s softening cock and grabbed the man’s hip instead to pound inside him desperately. He wanted to make this moment last a bit longer, to not let it end, but it was a losing battle, especially when Yohji whispered his name and stroked a shaking hand through his hair. Aya surrendered to his feelings and came fast and hard inside his lover.

His head dropped down to his chest as he panted, and it was a couple of minutes before Aya could manage to pull out of Yohji and fall down beside him on the bed after he did so. Sated and tired once more, Aya resolved that this time he would leave for his room… as soon as he gathered his strength. He’d leave and never come back, but at least this goodbye wouldn’t fill him with the same regret as all his others. He’d known this would end, and at least it hadn’t happened painfully or ugly as was usually the case with him.

He started when Yohji brushed back his bangs and pressed a kiss against Aya’s forehead. Confused by the tender gesture, Aya frowned and struggled to sit up. His body was pleasantly sore and entirely exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to remain curled up beside Yohji. But that wasn’t possible, and he could rest in his own bed. He had to leave now, before he let his emotions dictate any more of his actions.

"Hey, where you going?" Yohji sounded confused as Aya forced himself to sit upright, to move away from his teammate.

"To bed." Aya glanced over the edge of the bed and wondered where his clothes had gone. They’d been tossed about rather helter-skelter as soon as he’d stepped inside Yohji’s room that evening. The search was interrupted when Aya found himself being jerked back down on the bed rather harshly, and without thinking he flailed out an arm, striking Yohji on the chin as he fell.

"Ow, dammit. What was that for?" Yohji rubbed his jaw and pouted, his hair tousled and mouth turned down into a frown that made him look like a petulant child.

Aya didn’t understand why the man just wasn’t letting him go, like always. "Why did you pull me back? I need to go to bed." He opened the shop in the morning, as did Yohji, which meant he’d be the only one getting up to set things up.

Yohji made an exasperated sound and rolled his eyes. "You’re already in bed."

There was an odd note to Yohji’s voice, one so out of place that Aya glanced over and met Yohji’s eyes for the first time since he’d fallen back on the bed. Yohji’s voice had been uncharacteristically soft and pleading just then, and there was an uncertain look on the handsome face. One that Aya thought might be on his as well, as he tried to puzzle out what was going through Yohji’s mind. Did the man want to have sex again? Did he not want to end things just like this?

He tried to clarify matters a little better. "I need to sleep, not fuck," he grumbled, wanting nothing more to flee and put this all behind him as quickly as possible. It was too painful to drag it out like this.

"Then sleep here." Yohji snaked out an arm and pulled Aya closer to him, his hand stroking along the side of Aya’s face. A frown on his lips, Aya allowed the touch as he examined his teammate, desperate to establish a motive for the odd behavior.

"I won’t get any sleep here, and neither will you," he pointed out, the voice of reason in an increasingly insane situation. "Let me go."

There was a loud sigh and then Aya found himself yanked onto Yohji’s chest. He glared fiercely and tried to move away, but Yohji held on tightly. "Just go to sleep, Aya." Yohji sounded tired, and for a moment Aya almost gave in. Almost. But Yohji was breaking the rules of their unspoken agreement, had broken them all night long - he refused to think about how he himself had broken them as well - and Aya wanted to know why. He asked the word out loud.

There was another exasperated sigh as Yohji fumbled about with one hand in vain for his cigarettes. "Why did you tell me I’m beautiful?"

That wasn’t what Aya had expected to hear. "It’s not fair to answer a question with a question. You first." He glared for good measure, which was rather hard with the way Yohji was caressing his face, but didn’t stop. Unsure of what to do, he fell back on old habits and hoped to muddle through whatever it was Yohji was trying to prove right now.

"I don’t want you to go." Yohji gave him a tender smile and stroked his fingers along Aya’s left cheekbone, the touch gentle enough to make Aya shiver.

"Why not?" Aya asked, too befuddled with the situation to figure out what it was that Yohji wanted.

With a wicked grin, Yohji bopped Aya on his nose, and then there was no longer problem with him glaring any more. "Ah ah, your turn."

Sighing himself, Aya glanced over at the clock and decided to get this over with so he could go to bed. This is what happened when he dared to open himself up and tell the truth, he chided himself. "Because you are beautiful. Don’t tell me you don’t know that, you crow about it to anyone who’ll hear." Yohji the sex god, the beautiful lover and leaver of all. Why couldn’t it have been Omi or Ken’s bed he’d woken up in that day? Why did he have to wake from a nightmare and have Kudoh Yohji be the first thing he’d seen? Here it was a couple months later, and he was still trying to get out of the man’s bed.

"You think I’m beautiful?" There was a suspicious grin on Yohji’s face, bordering on being silly. Aya scowled at him for it.

"Yes," he snapped as he wondered if this was all a big joke to Yohji.

The grin became sillier. "Really?"

Aya growled out Yohji’s name and tried to squirm free. What the hell was wrong with the man tonight? Had he been drugged or hit on the head during the mission? Or did he have a sudden suicidal impulse and decide to die by Aya’s hands tonight?

As he pondered things, Yohji grabbed his chin and yanked his head up for a kiss. Giving up on his struggles, Aya found himself kissing the idiot back instead of hitting him. Why couldn’t he get enough of Yohji? Why did he give in like this?

"You’re the beautiful one, you know?" Yohji said quietly when the kiss came to an end a few seconds later. "So pale and perfect, and always out of reach. Always leaving me here alone. I want you to stay, Aya." His expression just then was so earnest that Aya had to look away.

Confused as much by Yohji’s words as by the naked emotion in his eyes, Aya said the first thing that came to him. "I can’t stay," he admitted, more truth in a night where there’d been too much already.

"Why not?" Yohji asked, ever the damn detective.

"Because I’m not supposed to." He was supposed to go, in fact should have gone almost an hour ago. But Yohji and his questions had distracted him, and now Aya found himself in the middle of a ridiculous conversation, one they weren’t supposed to have. It was only supposed to be sex. It had only ever been about sex, hadn’t it?

Yohji’s eyes narrowed suddenly, flashing with anger. "Who said you’re not supposed to stay? Is that why you’ve been leaving whenever you can?"

It was Aya’s turn to sigh. "Kudoh, you wanted sex, you got it. Let me go," he snarled, his anger making a belated appearance.

There was an annoyed hiss and Yohji suddenly sat up, dragging Aya along with him. "Who said this was only about sex?" he asked, his entire demeanor indignant.

"Who said it wasn’t?" Truly angry now, Aya pushed against Yohji’s chest and tried to pry himself free from the man’s arms. Being a truly suicidal idiot, Yohji only held on to him even tighter.

"Aya, you fucking idiot, I never once said this was only about sex," Yohji muttered as he tried to blow aside the hair that fell into his eyes while they struggled. "If it was, I’d have grown tired of your sullen, anti-social ass long ago. I wouldn’t have given up on dating other people, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be trying to get you to stay the night."

Aya felt as if the world suddenly shifted off its axis and stared at Yohji as the words sunk in, surprised by them and the force they’d been spoken with. "But… you asked me if I was up for some fun, and I said yes. After that, it’s just been sex." Granted, he wasn’t an expert when it came to dating by any means, but he knew the difference between a real relationship and a buddy with benefits one. Nothing had ever convinced him that what he and Yohji had was the first. And had Yohji really given up his other dates? Aya knew he’d gone out a few times to drink the past month, and had deliberately not thought about the idiot until he stumbled home and knocked on Aya’s door to invite him to Yohji’s room or ask to come into his.

Yohji let out a slow breath as he jerked a hand through his hair and smiled sadly. "I didn’t expect you to say yes, not to that," he admitted, as if reluctant. "But you did, and I thought… I thought you wanted more when you kept on saying yes. And we’ve been so busy with work the past few weeks, who the hell has the time and energy to talk? I thought… you’d just open up when the time was right. I thought that might have been tonight, since you stayed. Gods, guess I was wrong, ne?" He laughed just then, the sound bitter and sad, and avoided looking directly at Aya.

His arms around Aya fell aside. "Go on then, get some rest." Yohji turned away and resumed his search for his cigarettes, eventually finding the pack. Aya remained on the bed, torn between what he wanted to do. A part of him told him to leave, that he’d gotten all the closure he was ever going to get and that he’d be a fool to stay here. Another… another refused to let him move his body, other than to stretch out on the bed. That part had had enough of endings and regrets. That part had welcomed Yohji’s words just then, in the hope that glittered behind them. Wondering just how much he’d regret this, Aya gave in to that part.

Yohji’s eyes went wide when he felt the bed shift and turned to find Aya lying down on it. He set the cigarettes aside and lay beside him, a confused look on his face.

"Aren’t you going?" he asked, his voice soft and uncertain, so unlike the usually self-assured Kudoh Yohji.

Aya snorted and reached for the covers that had been kicked half off the bed during sex. Yohji’s room was getting chilly, and being naked didn’t help any.

"Aya?" Yohji asked, his voice even quieter than before.

"I can’t sleep if you keep talking," Aya grumbled, annoyed that the former detective couldn’t figure this out.

There was silence for a moment, and then Yohji pulled the covers over himself as well and sidled close to Aya, draped an arm around his waist.

"So why are you staying? Isn’t this supposed to be just about sex?" Yohji asked, his voice a bit more sure than it had been a few seconds before.

Damn Yohji for never being able to let a mystery rest in peace. Aya sighed and rubbed his tired eyes. He tried to think clearly, but was too exhausted and torn between conflicting impulses to make much sense of his thoughts. All he knew was that he couldn’t take any more regret, and as frightened as he was right now, this felt… right.

"It hurts, you know. Leaving or staying, they both hurt," he slowly admitted. "But one doesn’t hurt as bad as the other." It sounded like gibberish even to him, but that was what had come to him as he sought for an explanation. A part of him still screamed for him to leave, that he was opening himself up to more pain, more loss, and who the hell would be crazy enough to trust Kudoh Yohji at his word? But that was the part that caused him the most pain. Maybe he was being stupid and maybe Yohji would change his mind in the morning or another week, and Aya would have no one to blame but himself. But he’d tried for the past several weeks to rationalize what should have only been an impulsive fling, and decided that sometimes one had to risk the pain or there would be nothing other than despair and loneliness.

Another kiss was pressed against his forehead and Yohji snuggled closer. "That’s the thing about scar tissue, you know," Yohji said, all uncertainty gone. "You get wounded, all torn up and bruised, and then you have to heal. But when that’s done, you have to move on, and it hurts at first. The scars bind you way too tight, and you have to keep trying before they give and the pain goes away. Oh, you’ll never be able to forget what hurt you so badly, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be whole again one day." Yohji’s soothing voice drifted off, and then there was a short bark of laughter. "Gods, I sound like some demented fortune cookie. It must be your influence."

Deciding it was best for the man’s health if he ignored that comment, Aya asked a question that had bothered him for the last few minutes. "Yohji, have you really not dated anyone else?" He wanted to know if Yohji had spoken the truth, if there was any sense in trusting him.

There was no hesitation to Yohji’s answer. "No, I haven’t. At first… I was enjoying having you as a lover much too much to look elsewhere. Not to mention we’ve been so damn busy, I never had the time. But then… I couldn’t see what anyone else would possibly have to offer me, no matter how many bars I went to. Who else is going to tell me I’m beautiful, scars and all, and mean it?" Yohji asked, the chuckle back in his voice. "And I know…" Yohji’s eyes grew distant for a moment. "I know you’ll take care of yourself, that I won’t lose you." He stroked his hand along the scar on Aya’s shoulder. "Hell, if you’ve survived all of this, nothing’s gonna kill you. Except maybe execution by the fashion police. What the hell are you thinking to wear orange all the time?"

Not bothering to open his eyes, which had drifted closed during Yohji’s speech, Aya lifted his right hand and punched the idiot in the stomach. He didn’t dignify the last comment with an answer, just pulled the blankets over to his side of the bed and hugged them tightly around him. Surprisingly, he found himself falling asleep to the sound of Yohji quietly muttering about abusive redheads and hoped that this night he’d manage to get some rest for once. As he gradually fell asleep, Aya thought that if he was sharing a bed with the lazy idiot, he could at least ensure that Yohji woke up in time for his shift. Then he gave up thinking, lulled unconscious by the warmth from the body holding him close.

*******

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