If you can't tell by the title, this fic is for a very sweet, generous, kind and loving friend, Maclynn. She's always there for support and encouragement, and is in large part responsible for why I put out so many YxA fics (even if she thinks I've ignored them shamelessly for Rufus/Reno lately. :-P). This story is just a bit of sweet fluff meant to put a smile on her lovely face. *huggles*
Yohji lay in bed, curled up on his side and facing Aya. His mate still slept on, resting on his side as well, his head tucked beneath Yohji’s chin and his arm draped over Yohji’s waist. From what Yohji could tell, it was some time past sunrise; there was a faint line of light where the one set of curtains gaped open the slightest bit. He hugged Aya closer, as if to protect him from the stray sunbeam, and when realization of what he was doing sunk in, he had to chuckle.
More than anything, he wanted to keep Aya safe, to make sure that no one or thing harmed the man he loved. He’d willingly kill for Aya, and if it didn’t mean that Aya would share his fate, he’d die as well. What he felt for his lover was so intense, so pure and passionate that sacrifice came without thought. Whatever Aya needed, Yohji would give. It was as simple as that.
And right now, what Aya needed was a bit of rest and as much comfort that Yohji could manage. Last night’s mission… had been too much for Aya to take. If he could, Yohji would throttle Birman for assigning them to track down the sick fuck who’d been kidnapping women so he could rape and dismember them in privacy. The sight of the latest victim, still chained to the wall, her body darkened by dried blood and the scent of sex in the air…. Aya had barely left anything of the perpetrator to be identified.
Yet killing the man responsible for so much pain and horror hadn’t saved Aya from being tormented by his own past. Yohji had gone to sleep hopeful that there wouldn’t be any terrible nightmares, and that hope had soon died. He’d barely gotten any rest during the night; the few times that Aya had fallen asleep, he hadn’t been able to do the same because he knew soon enough, his mate would be afflicted with the tormenting dreams again.
He’d given up on getting any rest, not completely tired since Aya had passed along most of the energy from the perpetrator’s death via a desperately passionate kiss last night. For once Yohji’s hunger hadn’t demanded any more, not when he’d been sickened by what they’d found and concerned about its affects on Aya. So he lay in bed wide awake, his arms around his mate so he could easily feel the minute trembles that always preceded a nightmare.
Despite his concern, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning. He was warm and comfortable, with the man he loved more than anything held close enough that all he could smell with each breath was Aya’s scent. This was a pretty good day off, all in all, as long as Aya got some rest.
As if cursing himself with those thoughts, Yohji felt Aya began to tremble, a soft whimper steadily becoming louder as the trembling increased in intensity.
"Shhh, Cat, it’s okay." Yohji immediately went into action; his hands stroked through his mate’s silky hair as he pressed repeated kisses to Aya’s forehead. "I’m here. It’s just a dream, love. Come on, wake up."
Aya went stiff in his arms, the whimpers being cut off by a weak growl. Yohji winced as he felt Aya’s sharp nails dig into the small of his back, but he didn’t pull away or shove Aya’s arm aside. Instead, he just gave his mate another kiss. "It’s Yohji, love."
"Yotan." Aya’s voice was faint and trembled as much as his body. He slowly slid his arm from around Yohji’s waist and curled it up between them, his palm braced against Yohji’s chest as if to push him away.
Intense pain washed through Yohji at the thought of Aya shying away from him. He immediately loosened his hold on his lover and forced himself to speak. "Yeah, it’s me, Cat."
The palm pressed against his chest relaxed and its fingers curled. "Yotan." This time Aya’s voice wasn’t so weak and shaky, and he followed the word by pressing his face against the crook of Yohji’s neck.
Believing it was safe to hold his lover again, Yohji gingerly wrapped his arms around Aya’s back, careful to not let his hands press against scarred skin. He wanted to ask if Aya was okay but the question was rather stupid, considering the situation and the emotions he could feel. While Aya wasn’t as upset as he’d been after some of the nightmares, there was still the sensation of pain and fear, intermingled with love and relief. "Go back to sleep, Cat," he whispered against Aya’s forehead.
"Hmm, don’t want to," Aya remarked in a tired voice and gently nipped at Yohji’s shoulder. "’M awake now." That didn’t sound very convincing but Yohji wasn’t about to argue, not when he could feel Aya’s mouth still pressed against his scarred shoulder. He’d learned a few things in the months they’d been together.
"Okay, then, stay awake and be all grouchy." If he could have, he would have tugged on an eartail but neither of them were in reach. In response to the statement, Aya shifted back enough so he could glare at Yohji. "See, you’re grouchy already."
"I am not," Aya snapped, his eyes narrowing in anger but free of
any traces of silver. "You’re being an idiot."
Much preferring an angry Aya to a hurting one, Yohji merely smiled and kissed his mate on the tip of his adorable, pale nose. The way Aya wrinkled his nose in response was very cute – but the whap Yohji took to the chest in response was anything but. "Oh, yeah, *definitely* grouchy."
Yet when Aya began to growl, Yohji could only laugh and roll onto his back with Aya clutched to his chest. He didn’t stop laughing until Aya, his brow furrowed from the glare and his lips pressed together in anger, shifted about until he was resting comfortably on top of Yohji. Normally this would make Yohji feel terribly excited, but sex was the last thing on his mind at the moment. No, all that mattered was that while Aya continued to glare at him, the sense of anger, pain and fear that flowed over their link began to fade.
"Such an idiot," Aya muttered as he rested his chin on Yohji’s sternum, his eartails safely tucked out of reach. Yet as he insulted Yohji, there was a strong sensation of love and appreciation. Yohji had learned that his mate much appreciated being annoyed to being fussed over when he had the nightmares, as it gave Aya a moment to collect his thoughts and distance himself from the pain.
"Yes, but *your* idiot," Yohji replied, the answer he always gave Aya when he was called some sort of fool with no real venom to the word. He couldn’t help but smile like the idiot he was supposed to be when Aya let out a long breath and closed his eyes, the slightest of smiles on his lips.
Yohji could spoil the moment and ask about the dreams, but after almost a year together, he had a pretty good idea what they were about. Aya only reacted negatively to his presence if they were about Hirofumi forcing himself on Aya, of pain and degradation and hopelessness. For what had to be the millionth time, Yohji wished that he could kill the bastard again. Why did Ken have to be the one turned into a bound and not Hirofumi? Then Yohji could spend centuries making the sick bastard pay back what he owed for harming Aya.
Not that he’d be the only one wanting to hurt the Takatori son of a bitch. While Aya lay on his chest, Yohji covertly tapped twice on the copper bracelet that he’d tucked beneath his pillow. Aya grumbled a little until Yohji’s right arm was draped over his shoulders and opened his eyes as the hair on the back of his neck was curled around Yohji’s fingers.
"Why aren’t you sleeping?" Aya asked, his voice even but concern darkening his emotions. "We got back late last night."
"I’ve got all day to sleep, guess I’m in no hurry to do so, then." He fussed a little with the blankets and made sure that they covered Aya properly; although it was almost spring, it was still cold out and they’d been too tired to mess with a fire last night. "Besides, you’re pretty cute to watch while you’re sleeping. You look so much like a cat that I wait for you to start purring," he teased.
Aya sniffed in disdain as he folded his arms on top of Yohji’s collarbones. "You and your cat analogies. I think you’re obsessed with the creatures."
"Just one in particular." Yohji smiled tenderly as he brushed aside Aya’s ragged bangs and wanted to chuckle when his mate began to purr at the touch. All of this and Aya still thought he in no way resembled cats.
"I think you’re crazy," Aya stated, but he continued to purr and even tilted his face into the caress, his eyes closed and a slight smile on his lips. He seemed determined to put the nightmares behind him, stubborn cat that he was, and Yohji played along. Aya had faced up to his past several months ago, now it was time to heal. If Aya didn’t want to spend the day lost in darkness because of what he’d suffered during the night, then Yohji was going to be as supportive and as distracting as possible.
"Aw, I was so sure that you’d be certain about it by now," Yohji teased, his eyebrows waggling as he stuck out his tongue at his mate. That earned him another disdainful sniff but a warm flow of love, amusement and gratitude.
About to further tease his mate, Yohji didn’t say more than Aya’s name before there was a knock at the door. He smiled and held onto Aya when his lover tried to turn around to look at the door. "Come in," he called out.
Jo walked in two seconds later, a large tray in her hands. "Thanks, Mickey," she said as the man waved at Yohji and Aya before he closed the door behind her, and she made a straight line toward the bed. Reminding himself that all Jo could see of either him and Aya was from their shoulders up, he soothed his hand along Aya’s back. "You two are getting much too lazy," she snorted as she set the tray on the nightstand, but there wasn’t any real heat to the complaint.
"We know, and we promise to do even better," Yohji joked as his arms settled against the small of his lover’s back.
Giving him a cool look, Jo pursed her lips together, as if trying not to smile or laugh. "Well, I highly doubt that you two will be leaving the bed today, so I’ll be back with lunch and dinner." She pulled away several napkins to reveal a large bowl of scrambled eggs, a heap of bacon, a loaf of sweet brown bread and several cinnamon rolls. There was also a pot of tea and a carafe of what smelled to be coffee. "We’ll be having roast beef and vegetables for dinner, and spice cake for dessert." Her gaze lingered on Aya’s face, and Yohji knew that she noticed his mate’s shadowed eyes when her lips tightened again and he felt a sharp spike of anger. "So don’t let this sybarite wear you out, Aya," she said as she combed down a stray lock of Aya’s hair that was sticking up.
Yohji thought she had a lot of gall, touching his naked mate while Aya was curled up on him and in bed, but he quickly got his demon nature under control before he had a carafe of coffee slammed onto his head. There was no way that Jo would risk Aya’s precious tea, he thought with a slight sniff.
Aya’s attention was focused entirely on the plate of bacon, though it wavered when there was mention of spice cake. "Thank you, Jo," he said, his voice quiet but polite. Jo tsked a couple of times and gave Yohji a stern look before she went over to the fireplace.
"Cass said there’d be freezing rain tonight, so it’s going to be a slow day. There’s no reason why either of you should have to help downstairs," she said as she expertly got a fire going again. "I’ll ask Mickey to bring up some wood."
"Thanks, Jo," Yohji called out as she made her way to the door, and gave her the most grateful smile he could manage. All it had taken was sending a message to Reiichi that Aya hadn’t gotten much sleep during the night and Jo had arranged things to give them some peace and quiet for the day. Of course, if she’d come up here and seen Aya’s neck all marked up, chances were that Yohji would have had the hot coffee poured on his lap, but she was just being protective of Aya in her own right. As annoying as that could be at times, Yohji wasn’t going to complain. Well, not too much.
Sitting up in bed, Yohji did his best to keep Aya on his lap as he plumped the pillows behind him. While he did so, Aya sat up as well and reached for a piece of bacon. Seeing him nibble on it made Yohji want to moan but he swallowed the sound and grabbed the carafe of coffee instead. Aya was awake and doing his best to not let the dreams affect him, but that might not be the case if Yohji pushed for sex. He’d much prefer for some more time to chase away the old memories and fears. Aya would go along if he felt that Yohji was hungry, but Yohji wouldn’t risk deepening the fear unless he was truly starved and had no other choice.
Once his coffee was poured, he leaned forward and gave his lover a tender kiss. Aya tasted like bacon, his lips were a little greasy, and he almost combed his fingers through Yohji’s hair before he seemed to realize that they were greasy as well. Still, Aya kissed him back with a hint of fervor, just enough that Yohji strengthened his resolve to wait while he had some hope that things would be back to normal by this evening. Then he could do his best to ‘wear out’ his mate and ensure that Aya spent the entire night asleep. Oh, the sacrifices he was willing to make, he thought with an amused smile as he picked up a piece of bacon and pressed it against Aya’s lips.
Aya accepted the food and chewed it slowly while Yohji poured him some tea. Then he had a sip of tea while he sat there, straddling Yohji’s thighs, the blankets tucked around him and a curious look on his face. "Jo had very good timing," he said after a moment.
"Yes, imagine that." Yohji smiled in the face of Aya’s unasked
question and realized that his lover must be very tired to have not caught the
brief flare of magic when he sent the message. "She probably had someone
hovering outside the door, listening for us to wake up."
Aya didn’t look or feel as if he bought the explanation, but it was a bit of a game between them, looking after each other, getting their little bits of pampering in where they could when the other couldn’t complain. Yohji figured he’d probably get a massage later as Aya’s way of thanking him for the day, or an offer for them to go out to dinner, Aya on Yohji’s arm for the evening so Yohji could make everyone jealous and share his good fortune. Then he’d buy some almond cookies for his mate, or perhaps more fudge; a never-ending cycle of little gifts and favors and kindness that they’d never tire of, not even after centuries. For himself, Yohji knew that he’d do it even if Aya never returned the gestures, more than content to just make his lover happy, but Aya seemed to feel the same way. It wasn’t so much a system of returned favors as a sense of determination to make each other feel as good as possible.
"Here, have something other than bacon, for once," Yohji chided as he fixed them both some bowls of scrambled eggs and even buttered several slices of brown bread. There was a lot of food here, enough to leave them unable to do much more than loll about in bed until lunch, then stuff themselves silly again. During that time, they could just talk to and touch each other, and Aya could read while Yohji brought out his sketch pads and did a bit of drawing. It promised to be a quiet, lovely day. They’d defeat the darkness of the past and enjoy the time they had together now. There wasn’t much more that Yohji could ask for, and he wouldn’t risk offending the gods by seeming ungrateful for what he had.
"You’re getting all introspective," Aya commented as he grasped Yohji’s hand and licked off a bit of butter from his fingertips. "You’re not thinking of new ways to tease Ken, are you?"
"Nah, not when I’d much rather tease you." Yohji smiled and moved quickly enough to grab one of Aya’s eartails and give it a tug. "You’re much more fun, even if you bite me more than he does."
"Because I swear you ask for it," Aya said and snapped his teeth together. Yet he was happy, his show of anger aside, happy and content, and he didn’t seem to fight the exhaustion he felt any longer as he let his eyelids droop and his shoulders hunch forward.
Oh yes, a full belly and maybe a shoulder massage, and he should be ready for a nap, Yohji thought, his hope strong that this time, Aya would be able to get some rest. "Only because you bite sooo good," he crooned, and had to laugh at the long-suffering sigh his mate heaved in return. Doing his best to keep his hands to himself while they were busy eating breakfast, Yohji just waggled his eyebrows instead. He got another glare but it didn’t matter, not when he felt Aya’s happiness and love. That was worth any amount of bite marks on his poor, abused shoulder.
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