violet eyes

*******

Chapter 5

*******

"So did you hear about the new guy they got working at Bacchus now?"

"The red head? Hiromi was talking about him earlier, going on about how hot he is. You get a chance to check him out yet?"

"Nah, just found out from Ryo that there almost was a fight last night over this guy. Wanna go see if heís worth the fuss?"

"Sure, why not. Nothing much going on here, besides Iím always up to scoping out some new ass."

Yohji slammed his shot glass down onto the bar. The bartender heíd been talking to eyed him curiously. "Something wrong?"

"Sorry, just remembered that I forgot to do something." Like borrow Ayaís sword so as to chop a couple of idiots into pieces. Very little pieces. This had not been the first conversation that the blond had overheard concerning his kitten. Each time heíd had to force himself to focus on the mission and not turn around to knock some sense into the guys. It was getting harder and harder to suppress the urge to maim and kill, especially upon hearing Aya being treated like some new attraction, or as if he were a piece of meat. It seemed that Yohjiís possessive display last night hadnít discouraged the red headís suitors in the least. If anything, it had increased his appeal. ĎWeíll just have to see about that. Nobody is gonna mess around with my red head, no one.í

Dredging up a smile as he pushed aside thoughts of homicide, Yohji returned to his interrupted discussion. "You were saying something about your friend, the one who got attacked a month ago?" Yohji had followed a lead heíd picked up earlier, and used his considerable charm to get the bartender, Nakatani, to open up to him. Heíd found out the man was a good friend of one Koyu Saito, the next to last victim. After almost an hour of sitting there, nursing drinks and chatting, the blond had unsuspectingly led the conversation to the attacks. For the past fifteen minutes, Nakatani had described how his friend was trying to piece back together his life, what with losing his eyesight, and the trauma of the rape and abuse.

"Yeah, heíd just gotten home from the hospital when we heard about the last guy, Date. We were afraid the news would put him back in the hospital. Seeing how bad that sick bastard beateníd Koyu up, itís not surprising the other guy died."

"So howís your friend holding up?"

"The doctors got him seeing this psychologist, and heíll start some physical therapy in a few weeks, learn how to get around without being able to see and all. His family has been great about being there for him, helping him out. Theyíre talking about maybe moving away from the city, what with that psycho still being out there. I donít think Koyuís gonna ever be able to really get over it while heís still running around."

"I donít blame the guy. I hope he gets better soon." Yohji stood up, and put on his coat. "Itís been nice talking with you, but thereís someone I need to meet down at Bacchus. See you around." Yohji had turned to leave, when he felt a tug at his jacket sleeve.

"You headed down to Bacchus?" As the blond nodded, the other man let go of the jacket, and fumbled around with the shot glasses littering the bar top. "I donít mean to badmouth another bar, or try to scare ya, butÖ. just watch yourself down there, ok?

"Is there something I should now about the place that Iím missing?"

"Itís just, you know my friend, Koyu, well he was leaving Bacchus the night he got nabbed, and a couple of the other guys were regulars at the place. Seems to me thereís a bad vibe around that bar right now. You and your friend might want to head somewhere else." With that, the man hurried off to the other side of the bar.

Yohji mulled this bit of news over in his head as he walked out the door. He couldnít remember the police report on Saito mentioning Bacchus at all, just that the man had failed to meet a group of friends at the Palace the night he was kidnapped. He wondered what else was left out in those reports. Was there a stronger tie to the club Aya was working at than Weiss had previously thought? He knew it was the most popular bar in the area, everyone seemed to stop in at some point, even if they were on their way to another bar in the district. That was one of the reasons Aya was working there.

The blondís fingers tightened on the cigarette he was smoking, crushing it. Even though he knew Aya was at Bacchus just as much as bait as he was looking for leads, Yohji went cold at the thought of the younger man catching the targetís eye. He didnít think he could handle the fact that the swordsman might be taken as the next victim. Yohji knew that the swordsman was very good at looking after himself, but he had thought the same thing about Asuka. Having lost someone he loved once already, Yohji didnít think he could stand it if it happened again. There was no way he would risk losing Aya, especially when he had just found him.

*******

Aya was back to mentally chanting his litany as he waited tables for the second night. While there hadnít been any repeat attempts to literally pick him up, the customers were quite busy flinging innuendos and passes his way. The red head thought to himself rather caustically that if Omi had needed any fingerprints in his search for their target, he could dust Ayaís pants for them. It seemed as if every male in the bar had found some excuse to pat him on the lower body at one point that evening. It was so bad the assassin was about to lose his voice from snarling all night long.

The only plus to his shift so far was that during a break he had found out some background info on Teddy and his brother Mickey. It was the bartender that the violet eyed man was interested in, as one potential suspect. Teddy and Seiichi both had been a valuable source of information, helping him identify several other individuals he was suspicious of; between the two of them the servers knew everybody. Ayaíd had to put up with more of their teasing though, as they kept asking him if he was looking to trade his boyfriend in for someone new.

Unfortunately, one of Ayaís customers had overheard that remark, and the red head found himself in the absurd situation of defending his non-existent relationship with Yohji to complete strangers. It was enough to make him want to bash his head against the bar, repeatedly. Two more weeks of this, the red head lamented as he smacked away yet another touchy hand. Two more weeks and I will be /begging/ the target to kidnap me, just to get away from this place.

ĎI donít know if itís this place or what, but that assignment with Crashers was never as bad as this one. I guess it really made that much of a difference having Knight hang around, keeping an eye on me.í

Aya frowned fiercely at that thought, unknowing frightening away an older man about to whisper something rather suggestive in his ear. The red head hated to think that he needed anyone to keep an eye on him, he was fine by himself. Yet here he was, wishing that Yohji would just show up or something, anything to give him a break from being constantly hit upon. He was not a very physical person to begin with, and he really didnít think he could take another stranger touching him. ĎGreat, this is what Iíve been reduced to, waiting for Yohji Kudoh of all people to come to my rescue.í

As if summoned by will, Yohji walked into the club at that moment. He began to work his way to the bar, looking around to spot his teammate.

"Not you again."

Standing in front of Yohji was the manager from last night. "Kei, isnít it?"

"Kei Takeshi. What do you think you are doing here, Mr. Kudoh? I hope you arenít planning on another incident like last night."

"Yeah, as long as your customers are behaving themselves, we wonít have to worry, will we? Iím just here to check up on, uh, Makoto, Red, whatever you guys are calling him." Yohji was trying to use his height to search over the crowd, looking for a familiar red head.

"I thought I mentioned last night that Iím not crazy about my employeesí dates hanging around while they work. This sound familiar?"

Yohji gave up his search with a sigh, preparing to duke it out with Ayaís boss. "Yes, you did say that. Look, Iím not planning on staying here for the kittenís shift, I just want to check in on him, make sure heís doing all right, and find out what time I need to pick him up. It may have escaped your notice, but there is some whacko out there with a thing for pretty men, and Iíd feel a lot better knowing my boyfriend is okay."

Kei managed a sigh of his own. "Iím very aware of that nutcase running around, Bacchus lost a young man we all cared about to him, that makes it rather difficult to forget." He stared hard at the taller man for a minute. As much as he hated to give in, he knew the other man had made his point. "Alright. You can hang out here for a while, but I donít want any fights and you will not bother Red while heís busy. Just sit at the bar for a bit, and try to behave."

Knowing he won, Yohji tossed a parting remark over his shoulder as he headed to the bar. "As much as Iím able to."

Shaking his head, Kei headed back to his office, deciding it would be best not to be on the floor for the next while. ĎAt least Mickey will get a break from watching the new guy. Just hope the place doesnít get too demolished.í

Yohji meanwhile had finally made it to the bar. Purloining a stool with the ease of one well accustomed to crowded bars, he settled down. He recognized the bartender as the foreigner armed with a bat the night before, and waved him over. "Iíll take a shot of whiskey. Kei told me that I could sit here for a while as long as Iím a good boy. My boyfriend still working around here?"

Mickey nodded, and pointed over to some crowded tables where a slender red head was working. Pouring the shot, Mickey wasnít that surprised over Kei letting Redís boyfriend back in the place. Try as he could, the manager usually ended up giving in to the people dating his workers, he wasnít a bad guy at heart. And he was probably hoping the blondís presence would calm Redís customers down a bit. The new guy was turning out to be rather popular, and the strain of all that attention was beginning to tell on the red head. Also, Mickey could now resume keeping an eye out on his younger brother.

Yohji downed the shot, and waited for his moment to pounce. He didnít need to wait for long. After a few minutes, he spotted Aya storming up to the bar, the glare on his face almost up to Shi-ne level. Catching him has he walked past, Yohji hugged the smaller man, and kissed him on the forehead. "Hello, Beautiful. Whatís happening?" The blond felt some of the tension leave his body, as he held his teammate safe in his arms.

Aya blinked up at the taller man. He felt a wave of relief and desire wash over him to see the blond, and was immediately anger with himself over it. ĎI /do not/ need Yohji to rescue me.í Out loud, the red head demanded to know what Yohji was doing there.

Smiling at the frown his current obsession was giving him, he ran his fingers through red hair, marveling anew at its texture and coolness. Feeling Aya lean ever so slightly into the caress, Yohjiís green eyes sparkled. "Just thought Iíd stop by, have a drink or two while finding out what time my kitten gets off work tonight. Why? Want me to leave?"

The red head found himself equally torn between shouting "Yes" and "No". He settled for just nodding his head. Aware of all the attention the two of them were attracting, Aya stepped closer to Yohji, and wrapped his arms around the manís neck. "I should be done by two thirty. Are you allowed to be here?"

Feeling a jolt surge through his body at the red headís actions, it was Yohjiís turn to nod. Bending his head to nuzzle at Ayaís neck, he dazedly noted that the man still smelled of roses. Touching his lips to the alabaster column, he felt as well as heard Ayaís gasp. His tongue darted out to taste smooth skin, so sweet and slightly salty from sweat. Unable to stop himself, he began suck on the red headís neck, determined to leave a mark so all the men here could see that Aya was taken.

Stunned by the blondís actions, Aya just stood there, leaning even more into Yohjiís arms as his legs became wobbly. He tilted his head to the side, allowing the blond better access, and felt a moan build deep in his throat. All thoughts escaped his head, and he could only feel the manís lips and tongue on his neck. He came back to himself as he heard the catcalls and cheers from his customers. Feeling heat spread across his face, Aya tugged on Yohjiís long hair, trying to get the manís attention.

Finally breaking free due to almost frantic tugs on his hair, Yohji tightened his hold on the slender man. "Mmm, you taste so good, Kitten," he drawled, green eyes staring down into violet. He licked his lips slowly, watching as those violet orbs followed his tongue. Looking down, a wolfish smile appeared on his face as he took in the impressive love bite on the pale neck.

"Yohji." Aya stopped, frowning at the quaver in his voice. He tried it again. "Yohji, Iím supposed to be working. Sit here if you want, but let me go." The ice was back in Ayaís tone, but only by a supreme effort of will. His knees still felt weak, and his scalp was tingling.

Letting go of his red head rather reluctantly, Yohji leaned back against the bar. "Iím not going anywhere yet." He watched Aya walk back to his tables, a little uncertain on his feet. He smirked upon seeing this, and tried to find a more comfortable position on the barstool. His pants had become almost unbearably tight. The blond turned around, hoping a strong drink might help him settle down. He looked up to find the bartender watching him, a big grin on his hairy face.

"You call that being good?"

"Yeah, well, I didnít completely ravish the poor kitten, did I? I call that being very, very good."

The big man laughed while pouring Yohji a double. "Well, I think youíve given Red a reprieve." He decided to elaborate when this statement was greeted by a raised eyebrow. "You sorta took the wind out of a lot of sails with that display. A lot of guys just realized they canít compete with what you and Red got."

"Oh, and how is that?"

"Letís just put it this way. Youíre not the only whoís sitting a bit uncomfortable right now, and all /they/ were doing were watching. Iíd say that is pretty impressive chemistry. I donít even want to think what the two of you are like at home in bed. Might blow a gasket or something." Chuckling, the big man moved away, busy pouring a drink for another customer.

"Oh, you donít want to know just how much Iíve been thinking about it, " was the moaned response from Yohji.

*******

Yohji spent an hour hanging out at the bar in Bacchus. He considered it time very well spent. Between nursing another couple drinks, and glaring down some of Ayaís more enthusiastic customers, he spent the rest of the time watching his teammate. It was one of his favorite activities, watching that graceful and beautiful man move. And for once he had a legitimate excuse for his staring.

Twice more during the shift the two Weiss put on a show in an attempt to drive home the point that ĎRedí was taken. The first time was when Yohji snatched Aya away from a table of men who were attempting to trap the red head against the wall. Trying out his own Shi-ne glare, the blond pulled the swordsman back to the bar, and commenced to do some serious slow dancing. Aya had been stiff at first, but as Yohji held him close and rocked their pelvises together, the red head slowly relaxed. By the end of the first song the two men were moving in perfect sync, bodies melded into each other. Aya broke it off after the second song, almost desperate when he felt his body starting to respond. Yohji was left once again to try and cool down.

The second time was when Yohji had to go; he decided to leave the guys, and Aya, with something to remember him by. He all but pulled the red head onto his lap, determined to make Aya as frustrated as he was, and another mark on that slender neck. He was successful in both attempts. The blond swore that his kitten had been purring when he finally pulled back, violet eyes glazed over and body limp in Yohjiís arms. It had taken the red head a minute or two to grasp the fact that Yohji was saying goodbye, and that heíd be back in another hour or so. The only consolation the older man could take in leaving the swordsman there like that was the fact that he had finally gotten a definite response from Ayaís body. Heíd felt the other manís hard on when he hugged him goodbye. Not that it helped him much with his own problem.

The brunet, Seiichi, caught his attention as he made his way to the door. The other man made a fanning motion with his hand as he grinned in approval. Yohji grinned back, and mouthed Ďwatch himí. Seiichi nodded. Before he could leave, another young man, this time with long hair and wearing of all things a plaid skirt, patted him on the back and gave him a thumbís up sign. This managed to distract the assassin from his discomfort somewhat, as he tried to figure out if he had had too much to drink and was now seeing things.

*******

"I told you, the barís closed, time for you to get home, or wherever. Now leave."

Aya looked up from the table he had been clearing, eyes blinking as the overhead lights were suddenly turned up. Mickey was half carrying a rather inebriated customer to the door. Noting the manís strength, the red head once again turned back to the task at hand, eager for a distraction. He felt his body tense up at the thought that any minute now Yohji would be walking through the door, ready to drive him home.

The red head had been unable to think of anything beside the blond ever since the other man had left. Fortunately the displays that the two of them had put on did have an effect on the barís customers; they had been much better behaved the rest of the night, content to just tease their server about his ardent lover. However, this reprieve did not allow Aya much peace of mind. He was once again obsessed with trying figuring out Yohjiís motives, and trying to calm his hormones down.

He just didnít get it. This time a week ago the blond had acted as if it physically pained him to be in the same room with Aya for more than a few minutes. There had even been a couple of days when Aya hadnít seen the other man at all, so intent the blond was to avoid him. Now here he was, escorting the red head around, and pretending to be his boyfriend. And appearing very willing to do whatever was needed to keep that illusion going. It just didnít make sense, this abrupt one-eighty in attitude.

If Yohjiís sudden change of heart was a bit confusing, then Ayaís own was even more baffling. Before this mission had started, the red head had been ready to run Yohji through with his katana, that was how upset and angry he had been towards the man. And just tonight he had allowed said man to maul him in public. Several times. Aya was so confused he didnít know whether to laugh or cry; both reactions were rather telling signs about his emotional turmoil.

Pulling at his eartails in an attempt to get his emotions under control, the red head paused in his duties. It had been a long time since the assassin had been afraid for himself. All of his concern and fear had been directed towards his sister; making sure she was looked after and safe. But the young man was a bit scared by the emotions and longings Yohji had awoken in him. He had desired the blond from afar ever since he had woken up in the older manís bed, finding him nearby watching him. But that desire had been for the most part controllable, especially when Yohji went out of his way to avoid him. The older man had been put off by Ayaís mask of ice and indifference. This mission however, had changed the dynamics of their relationship.

Somehow, Aya found himself forced into close contact and more with the blond while working this case. The mask was no longer holding Yohji at bay, and for some reason his teammate seemed as determined to notice and provoke a reaction from the swordsman as he had been to ignore before. And he was proving quite skilled in getting those reactions. Aya had been strongly rattled to find his body responding to Yohjiís caresses not once but twice tonight, and that was what had him scared. He didnít know how he was to counter what the blond was doing to him. He was so inexperienced in the matter of passion that it was laughable.

Compounding the problem was the fact that it wasnít just desire that he felt towards his teammate. Simple desire could be given into, either with the blond or some other willing body. Aya had certainly had enough offers the past two days to suit even his picky nature. But for some reason Aya had always had a soft spot for Yohji, had felt closer to the blond than the other members of Weiss. Aya knew if he gave in to his feelings with the playboy, it would be equal measures of lust and affection, maybe even love. Which would be incredibly stupid, what with Yohjiís romantic track record. The red head would find himself dumped as soon as the blond got bored. And it was a well established fact that Aya didnít deal well with loss.

Lost in his thoughts, Aya all but jumped when he realized that a hand was being waved in front of his face. "Earth to Red, come in Red. Everythingís taken care of out here, just relax until your boyfriend shows up."

"Maybe thatís why heís so distracted Seiichi. He was probably thinking about what the two of them could get up to at home, and there you go disturbing him." Teddy leered at the red head. "You know, a couple of us here got a betting pool going on how many more love bites youíll be sporting tomorrow. You wouldnít want to help a poor guy out and maybe deal some inside information, huh?" The American tried to look innocent at that last remark, but the attempt was ruined by the wicked gleam in his light blue eyes.

"Hn."

"Really Teddy, canít you Army brats think of anything but sex? Ignore the hentai bastard, Red, some of us think itís just romantic how your boyfriend canít keep his hands off you. Youíre lucky to find such a sexy guy like him."

"Hn." Aya was sooo not willing to have this conversation. He began to look around for something to distract the two young men with.

"Speak of the devil, thereís your ride home. Or is he the one doing the riding?"

"Teddy!! Try to show some manners for once. I donít know how your brother or your boyfriend puts up with you."

"Yeah well, Mickeyís family, he has to, and I make it worth Davidís while."

"Pervert."

"Yep"

Aya pinched his nose, trying to will away the headache heíd gotten during the two serversí banter. He briefly wondered if there was someplace where he could hide before Yohji spotted him. That idea was shot down by Teddy loudly shouting out "Oy! Loverboy, over here." Aya wondered just how mad Mickey would be if the swordsman killed his brother.

Resigned to his fate, Aya headed over to door, where Yohji was waiting. Fortunately for his health, Teddy just winked as Seiichi wished the red head good night, and didnít add anything else. As soon as he was within armís reach of the blond, he found himself once again swept into an embrace.

"Miss me Kitten?" Yohji smiled down at the exhausted red head. He had spent the past hour or so sitting in yet another bar, half-heartedly listening for any talk about the attacks. Most of his attention had been on fantasizing what he would when he got Aya home for the night. Now that he was sure Aya wanted him, there was no reason for the blond to hold himself back from declaring his feelings.

Sighing, Aya responded back. "Yohji, can we just go home? Iím a bit tired right now."

"Sure thing," Yohji replied back, frowning in concern. "Your chariot awaits. Here, put your coat on, itís a little chilly out there."

The ride home was just as quiet as the earlier trip. Yohji kept glancing aside at Aya, who was silently sitting with his eyes closed. The blond noticed that the smaller man was tense, and doubted that he was sleeping. He decided to just let Aya rest and unwind.

As soon as the car pulled into the garage and came to a stop, Aya got out of it, intent on reaching the relative safety of his bedroom. Cursing softly, Yohji turned off the engine and raced after the other man. ĎYouíre not getting away so easily, Kitten.í

He caught up with the smaller man in the kitchen. Grabbing a slender wrist, Yohji yanked the man into his arms. "Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"I told you, Iím tired. I just want to go to bed right now. Alone." Aya glared up at the taller man. Struggling to get free, he just found himself pinned even tighter to Yohjiís chest. Feeling the blondís warmth soak in as his long hair tickled Ayaís face, the swordsman found himself unconsciously relaxing. As soon as he realized this, he tensed up again.

Keeping one arm in a firm hold around Ayaís waist, Yohji lifted a hand to brush red hair away from a delicate face. Cupping the smaller manís chin, he forced Aya to look up at him. Tracing the fine cheekbones with a finger, Yohji bent down and gently bit on Ayaís right earlobe, tugging gently on it. Hearing an indrawn breath, he let go, only to place a kiss on the skin right beneath the ear. Feeling the man shiver, he asked huskily, "Are you so sure about that?" He began running his fingers through Ayaís hair again, remembering how much the red head had liked that before.

Feeling his resolve start to crumble, Aya tried to answer back. "No, yes, I mean yeÖ" He found himself cut off as Yohji bent down and captured his mouth, tongue delving deep.

Feeling the smaller man begin to relax once more, Yohji kept up the barrage on his red headís senses. Aya was much more agreeable when he was feeling, not thinking. He thrust his tongue into the manís mouth, teasing and licking and just tasting that wonderful Aya flavor that had him craving more. Letting go of his hold on the swordsmanís waist, he began to run teasing caresses up and down the manís spine. His other hand was buried deep into that glorious hair, tilting Ayaís head this way and that as Yohji plundered his mouth.

Aya was lost once again in the sensations that the older man provoked, feeling safe and warm and cherished. He tentatively began to kiss Yohji back as his arms crept up around the blondís neck. Unsure of what exactly he was supposed to do, but willing to follow Yohjiís example, he used his tongue to taste Yohji. Feeling Aya start to respond back, the blond pulled him in even closer, rubbing his erection against the manís hip as his hand cupped the red headís ass.

Realizing that things were moving way too fast, into areas that he was way too unfamiliar with, Aya suddenly pulled back. Not managing to break completely free, he nonetheless got his arms inbetween his and Yohjiís body, and gained some needed space.

"Yohji, stop. Now."

Feeling as if he had just slammed into a brick wall, Yohji opened his eyes, breathing heavily. About to ask the red head what the hell was the matter, he paused, stunned. Aya was looking up at him with what could only be fear in his eyes. Speaking softly, "Aya, whatís wrong?"

Shivering slightly, Aya closed his eyes, so as not to see the confusion and desire on Yohjiís face. "This is whatís wrong Yohji. Why are you doing this? Why now? Why me?"

Trying to push down his desire long enough to string together two coherent thoughts, Yohji shook his head. "I donít think I understand Aya."

Anger quickly replacing fear, Aya grabbed a handful of the blondís shirt. "Why are you acting like this? A week ago you wouldnít even look at me, now youíre trying to get into bed with me. Why this sudden change? Canít go screwing around during the mission so you decide Iím the next best thing? Is that it?"

Yohji glanced down into violet eyes flashing with anger. "Is that what you believe this is all about? Do you really think Iíd treat a teammate, a friend like that?" Those eyes only continued to glare back at him.

Running a hand through his blond locks, Yohji tried to figure out how things had come to this. Just moments ago his arms had been filled with one very willing and submissive kitten. Now he was being glared at while having absurd accusations flung in his face.

As an uncomfortable silence spread throughout the room, Yohji realized that Aya wasnít going anywhere until he got an answer. Thinking back on what the red head had said, he guessed it did make some sense. Yohji had gone from one extreme to the other, from avoiding Aya to being dead set on having him. But it was only because the blond had realized that it was possible for Aya to want him too, that maybe he didnít have to suffer in love from afar when there was a chance of Aya loving him back. If he hadnít of had an excuse to touch and kiss the red head, under the pretext of the mission, none of this would of come about. But how did he convince Aya of that?

Yohji became aware of how the younger man was trembling in his arms. Suddenly he remembered that flash of fear he had spotted in Ayaís eyes as the red head broke from the kiss. This is about more than him being angry, the blond realized. Pieces of a puzzle were beginning to form in his head. The awkward way the man kissed back, as if heíd never done it before, the way his reactions were just a touch off, as if he was unsure of how he was supposed to act. The fear and startlement if Yohji moved too quick, or provoked a strong reaction. Shit, thought the blond, I donít think heís ever done anything like this before. I knew Aya was repressed, but could he possibly still be a virgin?

He knew better than to ask the red head that question, especially at that moment. He was willing to be that the answer would be yes. And with that realization all of his fantasies and plans of seduction went out the window. No wonder Aya was so confused. Feeling and doing these things for probably the first time in his life. To have all this happen so suddenly, with a man who hadnít seemed to care for him the day before. There was no way Aya would believe that Yohji was doing this because he was in love with the man, heíd only think the worst. But Yohji wasnít going to let the matter drop. If anything, Ayaís inexperience just made the blond want him more. It just meant that he truly would be Yohjiís and Yohjiís alone.

You still have to convince him to trust you though, the blond reminded himself. Aya was a person who tended to believe actions better than words. Yohji realized that he would have to prove himself to the red head first, and that meant letting him go tonight.

Raising a hand to tenderly brush back crimson bangs, Yohji looked deeply into violet eyes, trying to convince them of his sincerity. "Aya, I would never treat someone I care about the way you just described. I know you probably donít believe me right now, but I truly do care about you. Iím sorry to have been such a jerk lately. Iíve been trying to figure a few things out. I wasnít angry at you or Ken or Omi. It was just easier to think things through elsewhere."

"This may be hard to believe, but I happen to find you a very beautiful, very desirous man. Iíve always thought so, from the moment I first saw you. Maybe it took this mission to finally give me the courage to make a move on you. You have to admit you tend to keep people at armís length. Itís not easy to find an excuse to hold you and kiss you, let alone touch you. So while it may seem sudden to you, this is actually something that has been building in me for a long time. I guess thatís why Iím moving so fast, I tend to forget that maybe this is all new to you. But believe me, this is about more than trying to get into your pants. I care about you and our friendship too much to do something as stupid as that."

Startled by the sober change that had overtaken the older man, Aya could only stand there, staring back into earnest green eyes. Part of him desperately wanted to believe that Yohji was telling the truth. He truly wanted to trust the older man, but only time would tell if he could.

As he felt his face being tilted up again, Aya prepared for another assault on his senses. Instead he only felt lips lightly brush against first his forehead, then his mouth. He was held for a few more seconds, and then let go. His hands came up to rub his arms as he suddenly felt cold.

"Go to bed, Kitten. You do look tired. And try to get some sleep tonight. Let Ken and Omi worry about the shop in the morning." Aya was amazed at how soft and concerned Yohjiís voice sounded. He could only nod his head as he headed for the stairs.

Watching the smaller man leave the room, Yohji sighed deeply. ĎIím going to do whatever it takes to convince you to love me, Aya. There is no way Iím letting you go. You might not know it now, but youíre already mine. You just need to figure that out.í

*******

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