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Shadow Play

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by nekojita

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Disclaimer: No, no, and no. Dammit.

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Thanks to Tritorella for the title, and for her and Forsaken for the help w/ this fic.

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"…And a hand of all fire elements beats your pairs of water and wind," Tenshi crowed as he placed the crudely illustrated playing cards down on the old table. Murphy grumbled and moved his hands away from the pot, smarting at his loss. He’d had two pairs of upper level elements; he should have won this round.

"Poor Murphy, a bit upset that Tenshi is winning back all the money he lost last night? It seems the man is a quick learner." His partner, Hideo, obviously found the situation very funny, but then he’d folded his hand rather early in the game and hadn’t lost that much money. If it had been the black-haired man who’d lost against their new friend, Hideo wouldn’t be very happy. Then again, that was probably a very good thing, Murphy thought. He enjoyed visiting this part of the mountains and would like to be able to return here someday. Still, he hated to lose.

Muttering under his breath, Murphy fished his handkerchief out of his pocket and swiped his bald head with the already soaked material. It was the middle of summer, and the weather had been unbearably hot and humid the past several days. Hideo, Jun and he had hoped to escape the oppressive heat, among other things, by staying in the mountains, but that wasn’t working out as well as they thought it would. At least he had some satisfaction of knowing that it was even hotter down in the valleys. Judging by how busy the Dark Cloud Inn was tonight, they weren’t the only ones seeking to escape the heat. At least, that was what Murphy assumed all the people were doing in the old, slightly dingy inn, which didn’t have a lot to boast about other than decent food and potent drinks.

Tenshi pocketed the money and leaned back in his chair. "Sorry to say this, Murph, but I’m calling it quits tonight. I’ve won back a good chunk of what I lost, and think I’d be pressing my luck if I played anymore. You’ll have to wait til tomorrow to reclaim it from me." At his groan the lanky man smiled and waved at one of the Dark Cloud’s servers, motioning for him to come to their table.

"But to ease the pain a bit, I’m buying the next bottle."

Jun grunted while Hideo and the other person sitting at their table, an old man by the name of Porter, cheered Tenshi’s decision. Murphy grinned at the young man to show he didn’t really have any hard feelings, at least none that couldn’t be assuaged with a little alcohol, and Tenshi smiled back before ordering a bottle of whiskey for the table. It soon arrived, and the five of them fell silent as they drank.

Looking over the rim of his shot glass, Murphy studied his new companion. Tenshi was a very attractive young man, more than a bit on the tall and lanky side, with golden skin, shoulder length dark brown hair and the darkest green eyes he’d ever seen. They almost looked black in the inn’s poor light, and one could only tell they were green when Tenshi would light a cigarette, the flame reflecting in them.

He was definitely good-looking, and had an easygoing charm about him that made Murphy and his friends warm to him right away. But oddly enough, he felt no attraction for the man, none of them did, and they were always rather… appreciative of a fine looking person. Tenshi, despite his appearance, only inspired friendliness from the three of them, which was odd in and of itself. They didn’t often warm to strangers unless they wanted something from them, and all they’d done with the young man was trade stories and swap cards. Hell, Murphy didn’t even mind that much losing to Tenshi.

"Ah, that was good," Tenshi moaned as he sat his glass back on the table. He then reached for the bottle of whiskey, smiling at Murphy as he did. "Think I want another one. Anyone else?"

Murphy and Jun immediately pushed their glasses towards him, and he generously filled them. Then as Murphy watched he carelessly tossed back the alcohol and set his empty glass back on the table.

"You sure can handle the stuff, Tenshi. You got the looks of a professional, there."

Hideo grunted and poured himself some more whiskey. "Too bad you don’t generally play cards as well as you drink, or you wouldn’t be trying to win back your money."

"Hmm, I grew up in a bar, so I drank this stuff more often than I did milk when I was a kid," Tenshi commented, a wry smile on his face. "A real shame it wasn’t a gambling house, or maybe I’d be good at cards too. But if you guys take off before I get the chance to win all my money back, it won’t be a big deal. I always manage to find more somehow."

"Interesting to know," Jun quietly commented, speaking for the first time in almost an hour. He shared a glance with Murphy, who afterwards resumed studying Tenshi once again.

The man’s clothes were of good quality, if a little old-fashioned and traveled stained. They were in better condition than his or those of his companions, whose outfits were a bit mismatched and ill fitting. Then again, they hadn’t had to pay for them, Murphy thought smugly.

Porter suddenly excused himself, citing the wish to find another table that was still playing. They nodded at the man as he left, more than content to have one less person to share the alcohol with, and Hideo asked Tenshi a few questions about the bar he’d grown up in. The younger man’s general answers made it clear that he didn’t want to come right out and name the place, which made Murphy and his friends wonder if there was a reason for that.

"So, when did you finally decide you had enough of the place and strike off on your own, Tenshi? You can’t be more than twenty or so, and don’t look scruffy enough to have been living on your own for very long." Murphy leaned across the table and studied his new friend with interest.

Tenshi shrugged his shoulders, taking one last drag from his cigarette before tossing it aside. "I left home a while ago, at a pretty young age all things considered. And I’m a _little_ older than I look."

"Decided to see the world," Jun asked quietly.

"Something like that. I fell in love with this gorgeous redhead, and when he had to move on I followed." Tenshi laughed and shook his head, ignoring the looks Murphy and Hideo shared over the ‘had’ comment. "Gods, I can barely recall how young and naïve I was back then. Got my taste of the real world, learned a few hard lessons, and been wandering around ever since."

"What happened to him," Murphy inquired.

Tenshi smiled at him and stretched out both of his arms, gesturing to the space around him. "Do you see a redhead here with me?"

"Nope. Just yourself."

"Guess that answers your question, doesn’t it? Ah well, live and learn, that’s what I’ve always said. I’d probably have drunk myself into an early grave if I hadn’t met him and left home." Tenshi poured himself another shot of whiskey, emptying the bottle as he did. He called out to a passing server for another one to be brought to the table.

Murphy smiled in appreciation of another free bottle of drink and leaned back in his chair. "Fate has a funny way of helping you out, even when you think it’s bedeviling the hell out of you."

"That it does. Still, I won’t complain too much. I usually have some money in my pouch, when I don’t lose it to card sharks," Tenshi looked ruefully at Murphy as he said that. "And there’s always a pretty face to be found if I look hard enough."

"Here here," Hideo said as he raised his glass and finished off the last of his shot. The other bottle of whiskey soon arrived and the four of them started to complain about the heat and how none of them wanted to go back down the mountain into more of it, even if they were bored as all hell.

It was during the third bottle that Tenshi had ordered that the Guards showed up, walking into the place as if they owned it. Murphy’s lip curled in disgust at the sight of two young men dressed in impeccable dark blue coats, appearing unaffected by the heat.

"Hmm, don’t usually see their kind this far north," Tenshi commented before making a bitter face and downing his shot.

"You have something against Guards?"

He looked at Murphy and shrugged his shoulders. "I just don’t think they’ve been doing their job. You hear about all sorts of troubles lately, like how a young woman was raped and killed down in the nearest valley a week or two ago, and it’s not safe at all to travel some roads unless you want to be robbed. Meanwhile _they_ just prance around for show and don’t do a damn thing."

"True. They definitely got complacent under the old Queen, who didn’t seem to care about anything that happened outside the capital. Crime has gotten worse in the past couple years." Hideo shot Murphy an amused look before pouring all four of them some more alcohol.

Grunting, Tenshi brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen into his eyes. "Oh, crime has always been bad, and I doubt that’s ever gonna change. I’m just bugged by how snotty they’ve been acting lately. Bunch of posers, that’s all the Guards have become."

"Now, now, you’re much too young to be this bitter, lad. Have another drink." Murphy pushed the bottle of alcohol closer to the young man, who just shook his head and lit another cigarette. "Besides, I heard the new queen is determined as hell to straighten out the mess old Mina left for her. She’ll have a fun time trying to do that. I wish her luck," he added, a touch sarcastically, which brought quick flashes of smiles to Hideo, Tenshi and even Jun’s faces.

The table fell silent for a few minutes, then the discussion turned to the recent coronation the past year of Queen Sakura. From the sounds of it Tenshi had been in the capital for that, but he was being cagey about certain details. He made a comment about work and fell abruptly silent, letting Hideo and Murphy take the brunt of the conversation for a few minutes while Jun quietly watched the door.

The small man’s attention became ensnared by something, so the three of them turned to take a look at what had caught Jun’s eye. A man wearing a hooded jerkin slowly walked into the inn and seated himself at an empty table. He was tall, almost as much so as Tenshi, and the dark grey clothes he was wearing showed a graceful, compact body. He pushed back his hood, revealing a pale face framed by hair that was a black so pure it showed blue highlights in the dim candlelight, a long braid of it falling down the front of his chest all the way to his lap.

"What were you saying about being able to find some lovelies, Tenshi?" Hideo’s voice was amused and a touch rough, and he didn’t bother to look away from the stranger as he spoke. Murphy didn’t blame his friend, as the newcomer was simply gorgeous. He felt almost compelled to stare at the man, and when he forced himself to check out his companions he found them in a similar state. Tenshi’s face was a mask of lust for a moment, until he noticed Murphy staring at him. Then he smiled in a predatory manner and raised his half empty glass in a salute.

"Oh yeah, he’s lovely all right. Only way to improve on that is if he was a redhead. I’m suck a sucker for them." Tenshi laughed for a moment. "But he’ll definitely do."

Murphy was thinking much the same thing, and when he cleared his throat his partners looked his way, confirming that they shared his opinion. Then he resumed staring at the young man across the room, noting the fine make of his clothes and his haughty air. The stranger spoke quietly to a server, not even looking at the man as he gave his order, and after a quick glance of the room he sniffed and stared down at his hands, which were folded on the table.

"Me thinks the man is a wee bit stuck up," Hideo commented.

"Oh, I hope not. There’s something I’d like to stick in him, and finding a piece of wood there first is going to be a bit disappointing." Tenshi tucked back his hair behind his ears and grinned wolfishly at them.

Chuckling, Murphy nodded his head. "My feelings exactly." He glanced over at Jun, who without a word rose from the table and walked out the door. Tenshi watched him leave, a frown on his face and a slight slur to his voice. It seemed all the alcohol was finally catching up to him.

"Don’t tell me I offended him."

"Nah, Jun just has some needs he’s seeing to," Hideo answered, a smirk on his face. Murphy shot him a warning glance, wishing his friend hadn’t had quite so much to drink this evening. If Hideo got out of hand things would get messy, just like they had a couple weeks ago. That wasn’t a good thing right now, considering the sudden appearance of the Guards.

Appearing relieved, Tenshi grinned and resumed watching the inn’s latest customer. The strange man was sipping the drink the server had brought him, refusing to look at anyone. Meanwhile everyone in the inn was staring back at him, attracted by his beauty. The longer Murphy stared the more filled with lust he became, almost unreasonably so. Granted, it had been a couple weeks since he’d last had an outlet for his needs, and the man was breathtaking…. He’d have him soon enough, and then feel better for a while. Suddenly Murphy wasn’t quite so bored anymore.

The three of them started talking again, of all things about what they’d like to do to the longhaired stranger, and Tenshi appeared to have a nicely perverted mind, almost as much so as Hideo. Several of his comments had the two of them laughing, and the last of the bottle of whiskey soon disappeared.

"…hmmm, imagine it though. Him all tied up wearing nothing but that lovely hair of his. I’m such a sucker for a lovely with long hair." Tenshi rolled his eyes and then leered at the stranger.

"I thought you were a sucker for redheads," Murphy chortled, all to happy to think of the other man all tied up. Maybe he’d have to make sure that fantasy came true.

Laughing a bit too loud, Tenshi propped his hands on the tabletop and gazed blearily at Murphy. "Yes, I am. Think I can convince the man to dye it all red for me?"

"I think… hold on one second. It looks like one of the pricks is gonna try something." The three of them turned to look back at the one table, Tenshi almost falling out of the chair as he did so. One of the Guards was chatting up the longhaired man, and from the looks of it he wasn’t too happy to be hit upon. Murphy couldn’t hear what was being said, but after a minute or two the stranger stood up and hissed indignantly before yanking his hood over his head and storming out of the inn. The Guard made to follow, but was prevented by his partner.

"What a fucking shame! The asshole had to go and ruin things for all of us," Tenshi sulked. Then he looked back at Murphy. "Hey, where are you guys going?"

"We’re going to check up on Jun, he’s been gone a little too long. Most likely he’s had too much to drink and is wandering around all the damn trees here." The half-lie fell easily from Murphy lips, and he had to hurry after Hideo, who was almost running out of the inn. He barely had time to call over his shoulder "good night" to Tenshi.

Once outside the door he grabbed his partner’s arm and yanked the man to a halt. "Hideo, calm down."

"… Okay. Where’s the trail Jun left us? I’m not letting that one get away, Murph. He looks like he’ll be a lot of fun."

Not blaming his anxious friend, Murphy looked about for the markers Jun would have left when he started to tail the stranger. He immediately found the quartz stones, and making sure to pick them up Hideo and he soon were on their friend’s trail. They hurried through the woods until it became clear the stranger was taking one of the older, less traveled mountain paths to wherever he was going. Then they started running, knowing Jun wouldn’t waste any time leaving stones for them when there was a clear path to follow.

In just a few minutes they caught up to their friend, who was hunched by a collapsed pine tree just outside the perimeter of a clearing. They sank down on their haunches around him.

"He’s stopped for the moment, for a bite to eat from the looks of it. Doesn’t seem like he had the chance to have any dinner back at the inn." Jun told them, never bothering to take his sight off their prey.

"Nah, one of those bluecoats pissed him off before he could get his food. He got anyone with him?" Hideo’s eyes never shifted from the tall figure who was sitting on another overturned log and munching on some bread and cheese.

"No."

"Good. No sense waiting then, ne?" The black-haired man pulled out a few of his knives and started towards the clearing. Murphy cursed inwardly and shared a look with Jun. More than likely it was going to be another bloody night, and if they wanted any fun they better get going. They rose to their feet and flanked their partner.

The stranger looked at them when they were a few feet into the clearing, his pale face impassive. "What do you want?"

His voice was deep and oddly reverberant, causing shivers to run down Murphy’s spine. He wondered what it would sound like when the man cried out in pain.

"You, pretty. We’ve come for some fun. Be a good boy and don’t fight, and we’ll let you go when we’re done," Murphy lied. They’d never let one of their prey go, it was why they hadn’t been caught yet.

The young man didn’t say a word while they circled around him, still retaining a bit of caution even though by now Murphy was so hard he was almost in pain, and he knew his friends had to be just as excited. Unsurprisingly, it was Hideo who touched the man first, yanking down his hood and grasping him around the shoulder, holding a knife to the man’s throat.

Still, he didn’t show any emotion, not an ounce of fear. Instead he lifted his eyes, which appeared black in the dim light, until a moonbeam fell across them. Murphy imagined he’d caught a glimpse of reflective silver before their prey lowered his gaze.

"You’re the men responsible for what happened to the woman the other week, down in Two Dells." The man didn’t sound very surprised or scared, which was odd.

"Ah, the pretty has a brain," Hideo crooned. His knife dipped down to the black laces holding the neck of the grey jerkin closed and slashed through them, scratching white skin. The sight of blood caused Hideo to catch his breath and for Jun to press against the stranger’s back, suddenly shedding his reserved demeanor as he pawed at the longhaired man’s pants.

Murphy smiled, anticipating the sight of their prey naked. Maybe that would help break the bastard’s unnatural composure. "Remember, don’t fight and that won’t happen to you." Not for some time to come, at the least. He had a feeling they wouldn’t get bored with this prey for a while, not with how eager they were to fuck him. Murphy fumbled at his pants, trying to untie them so he could be ready to thrust his arousal into the young man’s body the moment Jun got his pants off.

"No, it won’t." The man’s voice had become ever more reverberant, taking on a menacing tone. Murphy looked up in time from his pants’ laces to see a slight smile on their prey’s face, and then suddenly something dark and sinuous wrapped around Jun and Hideo’s bodies, forcing them away from the stranger. As he watched the darkness actually lifted his friends into the air, and as they screamed they were literally torn apart. Feeling blood and flesh fall onto him, Murphy let out a scream of his own and turned around, taking off in a run.

This had to be a dream, he had to be imagining things. This wasn’t his friends’ blood covering him, and they hadn’t been killed so impossibly before his eyes. Risking a glance over his shoulder Murphy saw the stranger just standing there, surrounded by carnage but untouched by it, smiling that slight smile once more. He turned his head to look in front of him, redoubling his efforts to escape.

He didn’t make it more than ten meters back into the forest before he tripped over something. Murphy let out a cry as he fell, and then another one when a strong hand gripped his shoulder and jerked him to his feet. Still yelling, he flailed about with his arms, desperate to escape the demon he’d unwittingly preyed upon.

"Hey, Murph, calm down! It’s me."

"Ten- Tenshi?" It was his drinking companion, appearing bright eyed and amused about something. "We have to go! There’s a demon back there! He got Jun and-"

"I know." When Murphy continued to babble Tenshi smacked him across the mouth, knocking his head to the side. Tasting blood in his mouth, Murphy looked at his newest friend, who was smiling in earnest now. As he watched the wind blew through the trees, bending their branches enough that a stream of moonlight fell down upon the two of them, causing a flash of silver in Tenshi’s eyes.

"You-"

"Now now, Murph, don’t go saying ‘demon’," Tenshi sounded even more amused now. "I mean, I am one, at least partially, but I much prefer the term ‘bound’. I’ve met a few real demons in my time, and there’s a bit of difference between our kinds.

"Though you do a very good job of acting like one, a demon I mean. You and your friends. Thought you were smart, weren’t you? Filthy humans, preying on your own kind." The humor was gone now, and Tenshi’s voice had become quiet with rage. "You’re not very nice. I don’t like people who hurt innocents, Murphy, not at all." Tenshi smiled at him, revealing sharp teeth. He didn’t look human at all at that moment, and Murphy felt something wet run down his leg as he started to pray that this was all one mad dream. It was all the whiskey’s fault.

Tenshi threw him back to the ground, and Murphy whimpered as he immediately tried to scramble to his feet. Just when he stood up a gold and black net settled over him, tossed by the other… demon. He tried to struggle his way free, but the net only tightened around him.

"Let me go! Stinking demon! I’ve done nothing wrong! Sweet Kannon protect me!" He flailed about, curing as he felt himself be lifted off the ground. Then he moaned, remembering what had happened to Jun and Hideo. This was a dream, a nightmare, nothing more….

Tenshi clucked his tongue. "You know, I was going to finish you off myself, but I think since you can’t tell the difference between demons and bounds, I’m going to let you meet a few real demons. Let’s see how you like being preyed upon." The green-eyed man smiled evilly at him, revealing the sharp teeth again, and then closed his eyes. Shadows crawled around him, and he spoke in a sibilant whisper too low for Murphy to hear over his panting breath. The shadows skittered away, and after several heartbeats Tenshi opened his eyes and smiled again.

"It shouldn’t take them long, there’s always one or two of their kind prowling around in these mountains. Have fun, Murphy." Tenshi waved goodbye and started to walk away.

"Hey, where are you going, you bastard? Who are you talking about?" It soon became clear that Tenshi wasn’t going to waste another moment on him. Murphy cursed some more and once the man was gone he reached into his left boot for one of his knives. He retrieved the blade and tried to cut through his bindings, but the gold threads wouldn’t break apart, no matter how he tried, and when he touched the black strands for more than a second or two their coldness made his fingers go numb. Cursing in frustration and fear, Murphy felt tears well in his eyes.

Then it dawned on him that the nighttime noises of the forest had fallen completely still, save for the wind. There were no chirping insects, no calling birds or animals. No sounds of life at all, other than the wind through the branches and his own breathing. Cursing softly, Murphy struggled in the net as he twisted about in the air, desperate to see around him.

Something caught the net, jerking him still. Shifting back his head, all Murphy saw was glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide mouth, revealing a set of razor sharp teeth. The smell of rotting flesh assaulted him, and then his whole world became pain.

*******

There was the sound of screaming, high pitched and anguished for several seconds before being cut off. Smiling, Yohji stepped into the clearing, stripping the shadows from his hair and eyes as he did. He approached Aya slowly, doing his best to avoid the human remains scattered about and giving the kage time to smell him and pull himself together. When he was a little more than a foot away, Aya shivered and lifted his head to look at him, his face blank at first. Then he smiled, very slightly.

"Explain to me again why I did most of the work why you sat on your ass and drank these last couple days." There was still a bit of a sibilant tone to Aya’s voice, but it faded the more he spoke.

"Because I was doing detective work, making sure we had the right guys, and that requires a bit of civility and friendliness. You know, two qualities that you’re severely lacking." Yohji smiled at his mate, the expression taking the sting out of his words. Aya knew he wasn’t good with people, especially humans, and had gotten past the point where he tried to argue that he was indeed civil and friendly, when he wanted to be at least, a couple centuries ago. Yohji could care less about Aya’s lack of manners or social skills since the man wasn’t that way with him.

"Besides, I took care of the last one." He paused to think about how he’d dealt with Murphy, and hoped that the man suffered at least as much pain his victims had. "Well, sorta. We’ll have to go back that way and retrieve my wire before we leave."

Grunting softly, Aya bridged the distance between them and rested against Yohji’s chest, his mouth nipping at Yohji’s neck. Strong arms wrapped around him, and Yohji started to hum in pleasure as he lowered his head for a kiss. Aya growled and threaded his fingers through Yohji’s hair, holding him still for his mouth to be ravished.

Gods, he loved having to help his lover focus on pulling away from his kage nature after missions. It was going to be an utterly delicious night of them taking each other again and again, until Aya’s human mask was fully restored and Yohji was so sated he wouldn’t need to eat for a couple days.

He kissed Aya passionately, reveling in the feel of their bodies molded against each other’s, the way his lover tasted. Pulling away with a shuddering breath, Yohji grabbed Aya’s long braid and tugged on it. Aya glared at him for second and then sighed. As Yohji watched, the darkness faded from Aya’s hair and eyes, leaving them crimson and violet, respectively. The braid unraveled as the shadows vanished, until a heavy curtain of silk flowed down Aya’s back, reaching past his waist.

Sighing happily, Yohji buried his hands in the thick hair, pulling on it until Aya tilted his head back and looked up at him. He rubbed their noses together for a few seconds, delighting in the slight spark of annoyance he wrung from his mate. Any flash of emotion was a step in returning Aya to normal.

"Mm, I just adore redheads, you know. Do you have any idea how difficult it was to just sit there and watch you back in the inn when you were casting glamour that strongly?" The rasp in his voice should let Aya know just how difficult that had been. "That was hard enough, let me tell you. I worked my ass off for this assignment."

Aya purred quietly and nipped at Yohji’s bottom lip. "Huhn. Still say you’re lazy." When Yohji opened his mouth to protest that statement, Aya thrust his tongue inside it, and they were once again kissing each other, their hands roaming over the other and tugging at clothes. Yohji moaned in pleasure, thinking how much he loved it when Aya was demanding like this. It was going to be a very, very good night.

A familiar cry had the two of them pulling apart again, their clothes in disarray and their breathing heavy. Aya looked in the direction the sound had come from. "Flesh gaki."

"The scent of all this blood is attracting them, now that they finished the meal I left them. They sound hungry still. Why don’t we get going, since this spot lacks a certain romantic ambience?" He grasped Aya’s hand and tugged his lover in the direction of the cabin they’d been staying at for this mission. A cabin that they wouldn’t be leaving for another night or two, he thought with a grin.

"Hn." Aya allowed himself to be led from the clearing, and then pulled Yohji to a halt. When he turned to look at his mate inquiringly Aya held up his hand for a moment, causing him to fall silent. After a few seconds shadows skittered over to them, and a net of gold was deposited in Aya’s hand. Without a word he returned it to Yohji, and it was soon part of his gauntlet once more.

"Thanks, cat." He gave Aya a quick kiss in way of appreciation. "Now that’s one less thing we have to worry about. All that’s left to do is let Yoshida and Glenn know that we’ve definitely taken care of those psychopaths, and maybe we’ll be left alone for another few decades."

Aya’s snort made clear his opinion on that matter. Yohji sighed and led his lover back to their cabin. "I know, fat chance of that happening. Sakura will probably work us to death the next couple years. Sometimes I really regret that promise we made Omi."

There was another grunt from his lover, which all in all was rather vocal of the man so soon after him being so damn kage, and Yohji looked over his shoulder to smile at him. The look of desire in Aya’s shining eyes took his breath away, and Yohji was hard pressed not to fall to the ground and pull Aya on top of him and allow himself to be ravished then and there. From the looks of it, his mate sure as hell wouldn’t complain, but they’d done that often enough in the past to know they’d be picking pine needles and other things out of their hair for the next day or two. It just wasn’t worth it when a nice, comfy and clean bed awaited them, where they wouldn’t have to worry about the sun coming up and putting a stop to their fun prematurely. Several centuries had finally taught them a little patience.

But not much, so Yohji started to jog through the woods, wanting to reach the cabin so he could lose himself in Aya, in being filled with sunlight and pleasure and his lover, Aya’s hair falling all around him as they made love. He felt Aya’s desire thicken and burn all the brighter, flared on by his own need. Maybe a few more missions wouldn’t be a bad thing, as it got them out in human company and had such delightful rewards when they were done. And he wasn’t talking about loyalty to the Crown.

They finally reached the cabin, and as soon as they stepped inside Aya was pressing against Yohji once again, half snarling and half purring as shadows tugged at his clothes, revealing skin for pale hands to stroke and caress. Somehow managing to get the both of them to the bed while they kissed each other and their clothes fell to the floor, Yohji collapsed on the furniture, pulling Aya down on top of him. Just like he’d fantasized about, long strands of crimson fell all around him, brushing along his sensitive skin. He shivered in pleasure and once again buried his hands in Aya’s hair just as the man started to kiss him, and rocked his hips upwards, provoking a low moan from his mate. Yohji smiled and drank in both of their ecstasy.

*******

Aya hissed slightly as he woke up, wishing the cabin had better curtains to block out the rising sun. He was warm and snuggled against Yohji, utterly content for the moment, if not rather tired. But the exhaustion was more than worth the pleasure of last night. Lifting his head, Aya nuzzled the marks on Yohji’s neck. Marks that had been left by him.

His mate stirred at the touch, his arms wrapping tighter around Aya and pulling him closer. Yohji opened and eye and a smile slowly spread across his handsome face. One of his fingers stroked Aya’s neck, which was just as bruised as his.

"Hmmm, cat, still want some more?" Yohji’s morning erection pressed against Aya’s hip, causing him to harden in return. Aya smiled at his lover and rolled onto his back, pulling Yohji along with him.

"I never can get enough of you." It was true, especially now. The couple nights that they’d had to stay apart during this mission had been awful for him, and he knew Yohji had felt the same way. They were too used to always being together on their remote estate, just the two of them minus the few bounds that came and went, helping them with the place.

"Being the valiant lover that I am, I’ll keep trying to appease your voracious appetite." Yohji grinned some more as he ground his groin against Aya’s. Mewling in pleasure, Aya tilted his head backwards, exposing his neck. This time he wanted Yohji inside him, pressing down on him and warming him, filling him with life until Aya felt solid and real. Using his power as he had last night always made him feel out of touch with reality, and more a shinigami than ‘Aya’. He needed this contact to help bind him to the world once more. Of course Yohji was always more than happy to help him with his needs.

As Yohji started to suck on his neck and stroke Aya’s cock, Aya sighed in bliss and closed his eyes. A part of himself reminded him that the Guards would be calling on them sometime soon, wanting to know what had happened to the serial killers they’d taken care of last night, but Aya just couldn’t care. If they were going to have to work with the Shadow Guards again, on the new queen’s orders, the humans had to find out the hard way that a lot of the rumors about Yohji and him were true. With each new generation they worked with, it didn’t take more than a time or two of the humans walking in on them for the Guards to learn to give them space after any and all missions. It was also amusing as hell to see the looks on their faces when that happened.

Lifting his head from Aya’s neck, Yohji chuckled in his ear as he positioned Aya’s legs farther apart. "I don’t know exactly what you were thinking, but I get the feeling someone is in for a rude surprise and you’re rather happy about the idea. You’re such a cat."

"Enough talk," Aya hissed as he hooked an ankle around Yohji’s back. When his mate chuckled again and started to kiss him, Aya gave up on all thoughts. It would be enough to just feel for the time being. To lose himself in Yohji. He gave way to his needs and the pleasure, living in the moment and incredibly happy.

*******

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