violet eyes

*******

Chapter 4

*******

"Up already, Aya-kun?" Omi stood in the doorway to the flowershop, surprised to find his quiet teammate busy at work this early in the morning. The red head was in the middle of a flower arrangement, and from the looks of things had the store ready for opening. The youngest Weiss member was taken back by this since he knew Aya hadnít returned until late the previous night, as well as Yohji and Ken. In fact, he hadnít expected to see any of his teammates up for some time, and had been determined to help them out by getting things ready at the shop.

"Hn." Aya was not the greatest conversationalist by any means, but this morning he was in an even quieter mood than usual. He hadnít arrived back home until almost three oíclock in the morning. After failing to fall asleep a couple of hours later, he had gotten up, dressed, and went down into the flower shop in an attempt to distract himself. The reason he couldnít sleep was all Yohjiís fault. Aya kept replaying the incident at Bacchus in his head, amazed again and again at how possessive the playboy had acted towards him. Even though the red head knew it was all an act, he kept struggling to suppress his reactions to the scene. It had been so very long since the young man had felt safe and secure about anything. But somehow that was what Yohji had made him feel when he had leapt to the younger manís Ďrescueí, and had held him in his arms afterward. Aya had found himself just wanting to surrender everything to the blond, to give up his precious control and let the older man take over. Only the arrival of the barís manager, Kei, had prevented Aya from doing something he would of regretted later. Like throw his arms around the blond and kiss him.

The swordsman felt a fresh wave of anger at the thought of kissing. For most of the night, and morning, he had been angry at himself for his weakness in being so attracted to Yohji. But mere thought of the kiss that the blond had instigated out in the alley made that anger focus on the older man instead. How dare Yohji casually dismiss his actions as for the good of the mission, and then turn around and kiss him like that. Was it all part of a sick game where the man tried to see how far he could push Aya or something? Did it amuse him to no end to keep the red head constantly off-balance? Avoid him one week, then act as if he cared the next? Was the red head really nothing more to Yohji than some Ďkittení he could play with?

Aya was so lost in his inner turmoil that he had forgotten all about Omi standing right next to him. He nearly jumped off the stool he was perched on when he felt a touch on his shoulder. "Aya, is something wrong? Iíve been asking you how last night went four times now. Nothing happened, right?" Omi was a little worried about his friend. He had never seen him so withdrawn and jumpy before. Maybe it was a bad idea to let him work at the bar, the younger man thought guiltily.

"Everything went fine last night," except for the presence of an aggravating playboy, Aya answered back. "There are several suspects that I hope to gain some more information about. People werenít very talkative last night, but I think they will be more in the mood today."

"Sorta like seeing if you passed the initiation first? I can understand that." Aya barely stopped himself from wincing at that comment. He had noticed that his new co-workers had been much nicer to him as the shift had wore on, especially after the whole "Yohji as a super-possessive boyfriend" routine. In fact they had taken great delight in teasing the Ďkittení about it all during the closing of the bar. Yet another thing to be angry at the playboy for.

"Let me know when you find out their names, I can then do a background check on them, see if they have any past records and the like. Well, I had come down here to try and get the shop in order for you guys this morning, but you beat me to it. You know, you donít have to worry about this Aya. Since I wonít be up all night hanging out at bars and checking out suspects, the least I can do is let you guys sleep in a little bit."

Aya looked up from the arrangement he was working on and shrugged. "Youíll just be up all night hacking away to find out the information we need on those suspects. Besides, you have school to study for, that should keep you busy enough."

Omi found himself blushing slightly. Aya was by far the most reserved member of Weiss, but the teenager knew that he cared about his teammates in his own quiet way. However it never failed to catch the younger man slightly off guard when the swordsman openly expression his concern as he did just now. It was nice to have a fellow Weiss acknowledge the difficulty Omi went through juggling being an assassin, a florist and a student all at once. "Since you have everything under control down here, I think Iíll head upstairs and make a nice breakfast for you and the others. Iíll bring down a plate for you on my way out. Before you guys head out tonight Iíd like for us to all get together and go over a few things. "

"Hn."

*******

Yohji awoke to the scent of something delicious in the air. Since it was the first morning in almost a month that he had not woken hungover and nauseous, his stomach rumbled loudly and demanded food. The blond rolled onto his back, trying to decide if it was worth the effort to ignore the organís demand and fall back asleep. However, being half awake made him aware of another part of his body that was demanding attention. His morning erection was straining his boxer shorts, making them feel uncomfortably tight.

The assassin was well aware of what had caused his body to react like this. Heíd actually had a relatively early night last night. He had headed straight home after leaving the Bacchus, too focused on thoughts of his kitten to hit any other bars in the attempt to either track down Ken or anymore suspects. Going to bed, his sleep had been filled with erotic dreams featuring the red head. Having actually held the younger man and kissing him earlier that night had only intensified the longing Yohji felt towards him, and as a result his dreams had been more vivid than usual. Recalling one in particular, the blond let his hand wander down to stroke his erection. A naked Aya was spread out on silk sheets the same brilliant violet as his eyes, his white skin practically luminous. The red head writhed sinuously against the material, calling out Yohjiís name as the older man meticulously devoured every inch of that exposed flesh, marking it every so often so the world would know that Aya was his possession. As he neared the other manís groin he teased and suckled on the surrounding flesh until Aya was hoarse from pleading for Yohji go down on him. Yohji was surprised upon awakening to not find his scalp sore from his hair being tugged on in pleasure as he deep-throated the redhead, the dream was that real. Hands moving faster and faster on his own shaft, Yohji found himself praying. Gods, please oh please let him be that wild in real life. Body straining more from the image of an uninhibited Aya surrendering himself completely to the older manís touches and kisses, Yohji reached his climax at the same time as did dream Aya. The blond lay exhausted in his bed a few more moments, as his fantasy played out. His Aya yanked him up by his hair to attack his lips, tongue delving deep to taste himself in the blondís mouth. Before Yohji could torment himself any further, his stomach decided to reassert its complaint now that more pressing needs had been dealt with. Swearing, the blond got out of bed, grabbed some clothes and stalked off to the bathroom to clean himself off.

Somewhat calmed down after his shower, Yohji made his way to the kitchen as fear and desire battled over the thought of seeing Aya. He knew the other man had to be angry about that kiss in the alley. Yohji had half expected Aya to burst in on him when he returned home, demanding an explanation and a pound of flesh. The blond had been somewhat disappointed when the swordsman had just gone off to his own bedroom. While having no desire to deal with an enraged Aya, the mere thought of the beautiful man, eyes flashing and face flushed with emotion being in his bedroom and that close to his bed made Yohji moan.

Hesitantly entering the kitchen, the blond was surprised to spy only Ken sitting down at the table, busily eating. Hoping the brunet had forgotten about their fight the previous evening, Yohji offered a sheepish grin as he poured himself some coffee and investigated what looked like a skillet of mushroom omelets.

"Help yourself. It seems that Omi made breakfast for us; he left a note that he and Aya already ate. He said that we are to let Aya off early again today, it seems that heís been up all morning working. Also, thereís another mission debriefing this evening before we head out."

Yohji frowned down at his breakfast. Aya couldnít possibly have gotten much sleep, he had been the last to return home early this morning. The man would be expected to work late again tonight and probably the next few nights as well. The red head was well known for his habit of waking early, but he usually hadnít spent the night hanging out at a bar the night before. Granted, he hadnít been getting drunk, but he had been very busy working. Worrying about his red head, Yohji wasnít paying much attention to how he greeted Ken. "So how was last night, glad to see you made it home in one piece."

Ken just sighed. "Yohji, itís morning, I had a long night, letís NOT start from where we left off our last conversation." Mollified by the apologetic expression the blond shot his way, Ken decided to ignore the comment and answer the question.

"Last night wasÖ. interesting. I followed your advice, and found a lot of people eager to talk. Theyíve had little opportunity to do so before, the police havenít exactly put their all into this investigation, and the press is only interested in the gorier details, not about the victims themselves." Ken paused for a moment, thinking of the initial difficulty heíd had being taken seriously. However, when the people he was questioning realized that he really did want to know about the lives of the men assaulted, and any leads on the attacker, they had begun to open up to him. It made the brunet feel somewhat ashamed about the fact that he was lying to these people. He quickly reminded himself that he was trying to help them by taking care of the sadist who was preying on them. Hearing about the young men who had had their lives ruined by this monster made Ken all the more eager to meet up with him as Siberian. Here was one target that the brunet was not going to feel guilty about when the mission was over.

Good humor returning due to a satisfied belly and warm caffeine, Yohji smiled at the younger assassin. Winking at him to let him know he was joking, Yohji asked Ken if he had made it out with his virtue intact.

Blushing slightly, the athlete answered back with a smile of his own. "I wonít say that a few didnít try, but you were right. All I had to mention was that Iím seeing someone, and they left me alone." Actually it was a little more involved than that, Ken had returned with an impressive collection of phone numbers "in case he was available sometime in the near future". He had thrown them away when he had gotten home last night. He had felt a bit of regret at doing so over a few of them; he had met a couple of fellows who were as crazy about soccer as he was, and would of liked getting together with them to watch a game or two.

"So have you visited the Palace or the Velvet Room yet?" Yohji eyed his friend in interest. He seemed too unruffled to have been at either club yet.

"Well, not yet, I figured Iíd work my way up to those places." Kenís blush was back.

"Hmm, well I checked out the Velvet Room last night, and am supposed to meet up with someone there tomorrow night. If you want, you can tag along then, Omi would kill me if I let you get dragged off for some bondage games without him." Score a direct hit, Yohji thought gleefully, seeing Kenís eyes glaze over and his face turn redder than Ayaís hair.

The brunet could only whimper, either at the thought of being taken advantage of in a club he had heard so many naughty rumors about, or about bondage games featuring Omi, he wasnít sure.

Deciding to give the younger man some time to recover, Yohji poured himself another cup of coffee and headed downstairs to the Koneko no Sume Ie. Time to find out just how mad the kitten is with me, he thought woefully.

*******

Grateful to be dealing with customers who kept their hands to themselves, Aya did not mind working the shop alone that morning. It gave him some time to try and pull his icy mask back on in anticipation of dealing with Yohji. He was NOT going to let the man get to him today. It was obvious to him that the blond was trying to goad a reaction from Aya, and the swordsman was determined not to give him one.

He was currently involved in helping an elderly woman put together a bouquet for a hospital visit when the blond made his appearance for the day. Dressed in his usual low slung jeans and tight shirt (although this one actually managed to cover his stomach for once), ever present sunglasses pushed up in his hair, Aya had to suppress a stab of desire at how good the lanky man looked. He liked it when Yohji dressed more like a normal person much better than when the older man was in slut mode. Oh, but he still looks so good then, what with all that golden flesh on display, a long suppressed part of Aya chimed in. Directing the woman to the register with a curt nod of his head, the red head went off to organize the flower cooler, hoping to reign in his hormones.

Yohji rang up the womanís order, trying to hide his hurt behind a smile. He knew that Aya was going to be mad at him for the night before, but did he have to snub him like that? Giving the swordsman a few minutes to cool off, he stalked over to the refrigerator unit, determined to face the issue head on. No hiding Aya, if youíre mad at me you get to deal with me face to face, the blond thought angrily. However, his head of steam got disrupted as he walked past the smaller manís work table, and noticed the plate of barely touched omelet. More worried about the man now than angry, Yohji opened the door to cooler and stepped in.

Aya looked up from selecting roses as the door opened. Suppressing a sigh at seeing who it was, he greeted Yohji with a level look.

"Donít tell me itís inventory time again," the lanky man drawled. Somehow the day seemed right now that he was near his red head. He mentally heaved a sigh of disappointment to see that the smaller was once again dressed in his usual jeans, wearing an oversized shirt on top of a laced up top. Yohji felt a wave of lust as he recalled the vision from his fantasy this morning.

Sensing that the other man was waiting for an answer, Aya quickly selected several flowers. "I just thought I would try a new flower arrangement. If you excuse me, I have some work to do."

Yohji squashed the impulse to grab the red head and kiss him breathless as Aya brushed past him. Instead, he followed Aya over to the work table, and leaned up against it, watching the man select a vase and begin to arrange the flowers.

Aya did his best to ignore the manís presence, but after a few minutes he stopped working and turned towards the blond, glaring. "What are you up to now Kudoh? Somehow I doubt that any of the customers here are going to attack me, so why donít you go cover the register."

Yohji just shrugged, trying to ignore how Aya smelled like the roses he had been handling. "Just checking out how youíre doing this morning, Aya. You couldnít of gotten much sleep if you opened the shop, and it looks like you havenít eaten much either. Got to keep your strength up to fend off all those lechers."

And what about the lecher standing next to me, Aya silently wondered. It looked like Yohji was still in his protective mood, the swordsman had hoped for his sanityís sake the playboy would go back to ignoring him. Why is he doing this to me? Why does he care if I ate or slept?

"Why shouldnít I care, weíre teammates arenít we?" Yohji answered back gruffly.

The assassin blinked up at the other man. He hadnít realized that he had spoken the last question out loud. "Is that what this is all about, watching out for a fellow member of Weiss?" Aya was trying to hide the desperate edge in his voice.

Yohji couldnít resist leaning in closer to his red head as he looked deep into violet eyes. "I tell you what, Iíll answer that question if you answer one for me, deal?" Waiting for Aya to nod in agreement, Yohji pondered just what the hell he was getting himself into. "Okay, hereís what I want to know. When did you get your belly button pierced?" It had really been bothering the blond that he had never noticed the piercing before.

Aya felt his eyebrows raise at the question. Yohji could ask him any question, and that was what he wanted to know? The man must really not be interested in me, the assassin thought dejectedly.

"I got it done about two years ago. Kur.., ah, this guy I knew dared me to get it done one day, so I did. I tend to take the jewelry out doing missions, thatís probably why no oneís noticed it yet. Your turn"

Yohji was trying to deal with the rush of jealousy he got upon hearing that Aya had done the piercing because of another guy. Just what did this guy mean to him? Shaking his head to dispel anger directed at a man Yohji didnít even know, the blond tried thinking about how he would answer Aya. Should I tell him the truth and risk scaring him away for good? Or chance making him angrier with a lie?

Before Yohji could decide, a loud voice echoed throughout the shop. "Hey, are you guys going to help out with these customers up front or what?" Aya and Yohji looked away from each other to spot an angry looking Ken busy by the register. Both men hurried to the front of the shop to help their friend out.

It wasnít until later that day that Aya realized Yohji had never answered his question.

*******

Closing the door behind him, Aya hurried down the steps to the mission room. After Ken and Yohji had all but forced him out of the shop earlier in the day, Aya had decided to pay a visit to his sister. He had hoped spending some time near her would help him calm down and to put things in their proper perspective.

Instead, he had sat down in a chair next to her and spilled out the whole Yohji affair. The red head had talked for almost an hour about how the older man had him so confused by his actions. He had also confessed to his beloved sibling over the fact that he feared he was losing his heart to the playboy. When he had finished with his tirade against heartless blonds, he had looked down at his imouto and almost cried. Here he was, pouring his heart out to his comatose sister. By all rights, it should have been Aya-chan that was bemoaning her romantic problems to her sibling, not the other way around. But that had been taken away from the both of them one night two years ago, leaving Aya-chan in a coma and turning quiet Ran into killer Aya.

After that, Aya fell into a depressed silence, just sitting there holding his sisterís still hand. He wasnít aware at what point exactly he had fallen asleep; not waking up until a nurse came in to check up on his sister. Noticing the time, Aya had quickly left the hospital, racing back home. The red head swore, realizing that he was probably late for Omiís meeting, and that he would have to rush afterwards to make it to work on time.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Aya glanced around the room. The other members of Weiss looked up at him, Omi and Ken flashing him a smile. Yohji merely stared at the swordsman, eyes hidden by his shades.

"Aya-kun! We were beginning to get worried about you."

Aya merely nodded at the concerned youngster, and settled himself against the wall.

Sensing that he wouldnít get an explanation for the red headís lateness, Omi decided to start the meeting. "Okay then. I just wanted to touch base with you guys, and to hand out some tech I think youíll need. First off, everybody take one of these." Omi stood up and passed three boxes over to his teammates.

"Are these those new tracers you were talking about the other day?"

Omi smiled at Ken. "Yes, I met up with Manx after school today to pick these up. I thought we could give them a try on this mission."

"Just what is so special about these things?" Yohji had opened his box, and held a copper bracelet with some raised designs on its surface.

"That Ďthingí is the latest in Kritiker tracing equipment. It has been modified for this job in particular. It senses body heat, and if it is removed from your wrist without being deactivated, itíll send an alarm back here. Itís known that the target completely strips his victims before he starts beating them. Since none of the victimsí belongings were ever found, I think it is safe to assume he probably keeps them. Plus he would have to remove the band in order to put handcuffs on. If he picks any of you as the next victim, we can then follow the trace back to wherever heís hiding. You can also manually activate the alarm yourself." Omi was rather pleased with himself. It had taken a little thought on how he could keep track of his teammates if they were attacked. Chances are whoever was picked would have little time to send out a signal when they were kidnapped, and if they were knocked unconscious the tracer would not be near them when they woke up. He showed the other assassins how to turn the bracelet on and off, and how to trigger the alarm.

Yohji stared at the band another minute, then placed it on his right wrist. He guessed that the bracelet wasnít all that bad, it looked a lot like the copper bands that were currently popular. But couldnít Kritiker pry a few yen out its pockets and come up with something gold, or silver at least?

"Okay, on to the updates. Aya, it seems that you have Bacchus pretty well covered. Hopefully you can find out some more about the victim that was employed there, and please try to get those names for me."

The red head only nodded again to the teenager.

"How about you Ken. How is the student reporter cover working?"

"Itís going pretty good. Several people were willing to talk to me last night, and I think the longer I hang out in the area, the more open these guys will be. I got some notes on a few of the victimsí activities around the time they were taken. Hopefully, Iíll get the rest of them soon and you can start looking for patterns."

"Any leads on the target?"

The brunet shook his head. "Not much. Everybody seems either too upset or scared to talk about him. The general consensus is that heís a gaybasher to the extreme; very few people want to think he might be one of them. Most refer to him as Ďthe sick bastardí, and I had one guy go on forever about his theory that heís a demon escaped from hell. And a couple of people referred to his as the Corinthian."

"The Corinthian, how come?"

"Something about an American comic book character with a thing for eyes. The one guy who tried to explain it to me was a bit drunk, and didnít make much sense."

"Hmm." Omi directed his attention to the oldest member of Weiss. "What have you got, Yohji?"

Leaving off fiddling with the bracelet, Yohji leaned back into the couch. "I talked to a few people last night, didnít come up with nearly as much as Ken. But," the blond drawled at his teammates looks of disappointment, "I think Iíve found a way to get into the fetish placeís members only rooms, and I know an employee there, so it shouldnít be too hard getting some info out of him."

"Really? The Velvet Room? Way to go Yohji!! Iíve started going through their member database, and Iíve already found a few guys you should check out. With the way the target beat his victims, he really seemed to know what he was doing. Maybe heís connected to the club in some way. With you covering there, and Aya at Bacchus, Ken should be able to handle the Palace. Kritiker will be pleased to hear about our progress."

With that the genki blond bounded up the stairs, intent on delivering a status report and resuming his computer search. Aya was not far behind the younger man, intent on getting ready quickly.

Yohji smirked at his remaining teammate as he too headed upstairs. "Well, guess you got your work planned out for you. I think Iím going to hit some of the bars I missed last night, maybe see if I can run into any more acquaintances." And spend some time at the Bacchus making sure no one else tries to take advantage of my kitten, the blond thought possessively.

*******

Once again in a hurry, Aya rushed out of his bedroom, and almost collided with the tall blond waiting beside his door. He paused a moment to take in the sight of Yohji dressed in impossibly tight black pants and a green lace shirt that revealed more of the manís chest than it covered. A black leather jacket was flung over his shoulder, and the taller man had tied back some of his hair, letting some still fall around his face. Reminding himself of all the reasons he had to be anger at the man, the red head growled. "Yohji, Iím in a hurry, so get out of my way. Now"

"I know youíre running late, thatís why Iím here."

"What?"

Smiling at the swordsmanís confusion, Yohji continued to let his eyes roam over the otherís body. Oh man, and he had thought his red head had looked good yesterday. Tonight the man had dressed in grey, buttery soft leather pants that showed every inch of the manís lower body, and laced up front. Like the jeans from the night before, they were very low slung, and Aya once again had the silver hoop in his navel. His sleeveless top matched the color of his hair, and was as clingy as the pants. Glancing at his Ayaís face, the blond noticed that he was also wearing eyeliner again.

"Yohji!"

Remembering why he had rushed to get ready before the red head, Yohji followed Aya to the garage. "As I was saying, I knew you had to be running late for work, so I came up to offer you a ride."

"Why should I accept a ride from you? I got my own car."

"Yeah, well by the time you find a parking space in that part of town, you really will be late. And to a job that you need for the sake of the mission. So I thought Iíd be nice and drop you off." Yohji watched his kitten process the information, trying not to smile. There really was no way for Aya to argue his way out of this, it was a very sound argument, and it was his own tardiness that made it possible for Yohji to spend some time with him. Not to mention have an excuse to check up on him at the bar.

Sighing in defeat, Aya headed over to Yohjiís Seven, not his own Porche. Moving to open the car door, he realized that the blond had beaten him to it. Glaring at the taller man, Aya settled himself in the passengerís side. ĎWhy does he keep doing this to me?í

It was a quiet ride to the bar. Aya was not in a talkative mood, and Yohji sensed it would be best not to push. Besides, it has hard enough resisting the urge to move his hand off the gear shift and place it on the red headís thigh, testing out just how soft the leather pants were.

Pulling up in front of the bar, Yohji quickly grabbed the smaller manís arm before he could escape outside. Ignoring the icy glare, the blond hauled Aya over towards him. Gripping Ayaís face with his spare hand Yohji bent forward, looking his teammate in the eye. "Remember, Iím supposed to be your boyfriend. I should at least get a proper goodbye. You donít want people to think youíre mad at me or anything, do you? Donít you want the guys to leave alone?"

Feeling Aya nod slightly in agreement, Yohji leaned in, giving in to the impulse heíd suppressed all day. He brushed his lips against Ayaís, marveling at how soft they felt. When the younger man opened his mouth to protest, Yohji took advantage of the situation by thrusting his tongue into the otherís mouth.

The blond had meant to make it a short kiss, but found himself addicted to the swordsmanís taste. It reminded him of a glass of mulled wine he had tried once, spicy and sweet and so very warm. He couldnít get enough of it. He loosened his grip on Ayaís arm, sliding his fingers through red hair as he had always longer to. It was softer than silk, a cool counterpoint to the heat he was drinking in. At first Aya had tensed up, but Yohji had focused all of his considerable skill into the kiss, and the man had stopped resisting. Feeling the red head lean ever so slightly into the kiss, his tongue awkwardly meeting Yohjiís, the blond released his hold on Ayaís face, and slowly trailed his hand downward. Halfway down the red shirt, both men were startled apart by a banging noise.

"Hey Red, if you want to be on time for your shift you better get out of the car now. You can play with your boyfriend later."

Yohji looked out the side window to see the same brunet from last night about to pound on the glass some more. Why did Ayaís coworkers keep interrupting things when they were just getting interesting? Glancing back down at the red head in his arms, Yohji caught the confused expression on the younger manís face as he quickly turned and exited the car. A feeling of elation spread throughout the blond as he watched the other assassin beat a hasty retreat into the club. Ayaís confused, the blond thought gleefully. Not shi-ne angry, not disgusted or afraid, but confused. Remembering how the smaller man had awkwardly begun returning the kiss before they had been interrupted, Yohji felt a huge grin break out on his face. "He didnít push me away, but was kissing me back. Aya was kissing me back." Resisting the urge to get out of the car so he could jump up and down in joy, Yohji pulled back into traffic.

*******

"So I see you forgave your boyfriend for his behavior last night. Sorry to interrupt anything, but Kei really hates it when the staff is late."

"Hn."

"Really, I am sorry, but you guys can pick up where you left off later. You know, Iím kinda jealous. I wish I had a boyfriend who couldnít keep his hands off of me and was so protective. It must be nice to know someoneís watching out for you, especially with the way things have been around here lately."

Aya had been ready to snap at Seiichi and tell him to be quiet, but stopped. That was the first time anyone had made a direct reference about the assault cases to him. Determined not to let the opportunity pass him by, Aya made a sound of agreement.

"I guess everyone is pretty worried about there being another incident."

Smiling sadly, the brunet paused in taking off his jacket. "Itís a really good idea to have your boyfriend drop you off like that. You know, the first guy that bastard hurt had been working here, his nameís Enjo. Heís such a sweet kid, heíd always be laughing and joking with the customers. Everybody here loved him. And then some sick pervert has to go and beat him bloody and cut out his eyes. He had these beautiful dark brown eyes, almost black, that just sparkled all the time. Now theyíre gone. At least heís alive, unlike that poor unlucky bastard they found the other day."

Aya attempted to make his face look sympathetic. He remembered the photos of Enjo Totsuka taken after the attack, and tried not to grimace. "Did the police ever find any leads?"

"Of course not, itís just a bunch of fags getting beaten and raped, why worry? They barely batted an eye when they found that last guyís body. Nope, nobody saw or heard a thing, and none of the guys taken can remember a thing."

"Seiichi!! So this is the new guy everyoneís been going on and on about. Heís so pretty! Hi! Iím Teddy."

Aya blinked his eyes once, and then again to make sure he wasnít seeing things. Before him, hand outstretched, was a slender young man with long black hair with braids along the side of his face, wearing a skirt? He was also wearing black army boots and a black t-shirt, cropped and the sleeves cut off, with ĎBrotherí written on it in English. The man was clearly not Japanese. He gingerly shook the offered hand.

Taking pity on his new co-workerís confusion, Seiichi made the introductions. "Teddy, this is Makoto Matsumoto, but everyone calls him Red. Unless youíre his boyfriend, and then you get to call him Kitten." Grinning at the glare he received for that comment, the brunet carried on. "Red, this is Teddy Stout, and yes, you are not seeing things, he is indeed wearing a skirt."

"Hey!!! Itís a kilt! Ignorant Japanese twit."

"Whatever, it sure looks like a skirt to me. Teddy is Mickeyís younger brother, which is the only reason he can get away with wearing that thing in a place like this. You should have been here when they first started working. I swear Mickey went through at least five bats trying to keep the customers from finding out what Teddy has underneath that thing. I think he wears it here just to torment the poor guys."

The foreigner grinned. "Yeah, well the boyfriends just love it, something about easy access. The latest one canít get enough of it."

"You Americans are all perverts. Come on. So did you here how Ďthe kittenísí boyfriend leapt to his rescue last night?"

"Ohhhh, I know Mickey said something about there being a little excitement because of the new guy, but he didnít get a chance to fill me in. Possessive, is he?"

Grinding his teeth in frustration, Aya followed the two men over to the bar. He would have to make sure and talk Teddy during a break tonight, try to find out a little more about him and his brother. If he didnít strangle him and Seiichi as they talked about how Ďthe kittení had driven the customers crazy.

And he still had Yohji to deal with later. A Yohji that was slowly driving him insane, or else the red head would never of kissed him back like that. ĎWhat the hell was I thinking?í But Aya knew very well that he hadnít been thinking, just reacting. No wonder the man had so many dates, if he could kiss like that. Raising a hand to trace his still swollen lips, Aya remembered how that skilled tongue had driven him wild, and how heíd shivered when Yohji had run his fingers through his hair. ĎIs it really just an act?í He didnít know what had him worried more, that Yohji really didnít care for the swordsman, or that he really might.

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