violet eyes

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chapter 9

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Aya never thought it possible that he would actually miss his coworker Teddyís presence. The man hadnít done much more than tease or fluster the red head the few days they had known each other. But the Americanís absence was being keenly felt this evening.

Teddy had taken the shift off so as to recover from the previous night. He hadnít felt up to returning back to work. According to Seiichi, the longhaired manís face was still swollen, and he was spending the evening at home with an icepack on his jaw. That left Bacchus a bit short-staffed, especially since the manís older brother was also at home nursing some injuries. Much like Yohji, the man was sporting some seriously sore ribs. All this meant that the bar was running short two reliable employees on one of the busiest nights of the week.

The red head could hardly believe the number of people packed into the bar. Mindful of the probability that Weissí target would be here at some point during the weekend, he was constantly scanning the bar for potential suspects. Fortunately, most of the customers were running tabs for the night, and all Aya had to due was print off copies of their credit card slips. Other than that, there wasnít much more he could do for the mission at the present.

It appeared that Ken was having better luck. The brunet had arrived at the bar shortly after Ayaís shift had started. After getting over his initial shock of the place, and Ayaís appearance, he had started interviewing anyone willing to talk. Word had spread of the cute student reporter covering the assault cases, so most of the customers were eager to share gossip. Ken had also run into a few men he had previously interviewed, and was warmly greeted. It seemed the soccer fanatic had picked up some admirers.

Waiting at the bar for drinks, Aya let his gaze wander around until he spotted the younger man. He was busy taking notes from a crop haired gentleman that the swordsman recognized as a regular. Almost as if he was conscious of the stare, Ken raised his head and looked back at Aya. He regarded the red head with a strange expression on his face, and was blushing slightly. Aya had to wonder what the regulars were saying about him. He had a sinking feeling that his teammate was going to be asking some embarrassing questions about what was going on between him and Yohji tomorrow. As if the red head had any clue himself. He was still trying to figure out what the blond had been so upset about earlier tonight.

Noticing where the red headís attention was directed, Seiichi couldnít resist a little teasing. He really had been working with Teddy too long. "You know Red, I had you down for being into blonds."

Coming back to himself, Aya stared back at his amused coworker. "Pardon?"

"The brown haired guy over there, one with the gorgeous eyes. Youíve been staring at him the past couple of minutes."

"Hn. Reminds me of someone I know," Aya replied as he fiddled with the bracelet on his wrist.

"So I take it a jealous Yohji wonít be hobbling into the bar, hell bent on beating some poor college student into pulp for stealing his Ďkittení.

Aya only snorted in response.

"Well, thatís good to know. We really donít need any more excitement around here. Although seeing your routine with a bat seems to have calmed your customers down a bit." The brunet began to play with some cocktail napkins. "So you think heís single?"

"What?" The swordsman was not sure he had heard that correctly.

"The reporter. I asked if you think heís single. Heís pretty cute, and Iíve always been a sucker for the athletic type. Maybe I should to try something if he ends up in my section. What do you think?"

Placing his drinks on a tray, Aya was silent for a moment. "Sure, why not. He looks like a soccer player to me. You could use that for an opening." Heading back to his tables, the red head felt a bit calmer. If he was going to be uncomfortable, might as well share the joy.

*******

Staring into his coffee mug, Yohji wondered if it would be worthwhile to brew another pot. He suspected he had reached the limit of his caffeine tolerance, but it would give him something to do. Other than going over the notes once again while waiting for Aya to return. Heíd been working on the case files, reports and interviews for so long the words were beginning to blur as he read.

Determined to do something while the red head was out playing bait for some psycho, Yohji had focused on all the information they had pertaining to Weissís latest mission. Exhausting his supply of notes, he had interrupted a Net-surfing Omi to gather up everything the police, Kritiker and Ken had dug up. The youth had seemed rather startled by the blondís appearance. After putting up with a scolding to not push himself too hard, Yohji had settled in the kitchen with the information. Several hours later, he was sore, tired, and frustrated. There had to be some common link between the men attacked, other than Bacchus, but the detective was clueless as to what it could be. Maybe Ken would have better luck working on the Americans angle.

Glancing down at his watch, the lanky man swore softly. Where the hell was Aya? It was after three in the morning. Ken had come home almost an hour ago, bleary eyed and tired. Surprised to find the kitchen occupied, he had given Yohji an odd look and declared himself off to bed. The blond had impatiently awaited the arrival of his kitten ever since then. No wonder he couldnít concentrate on the reports.

Eying his watch again, the playboy came to a decision. ĎIf heís not here in twenty minutes, Iím going out after him.í He started to straighten out the piles of data, collecting all the little comments he had observed and written down. Sometime Sunday he would have to sit down with the others and go over everything in detail. Time was slipping away from them, and Yohji was starting to have a bad feeling about the case.

Getting up to rinse out his mug, Yohji heard the garage door open and close. Resting against the counter, he faced the door, waiting. After a minute an exhausted looking red head entered the kitchen. He stood there a minute, blinking in the bright light, just looking at the blond.

ĎDoes he have any idea how cute he looks right now?í Yohji couldnít seem to do anything but drink in the sight of his teammate as a wave of relief washed over him. The man was clearly on his last dregs of energy, completely exhausted. Anyone else would of looked worn out and awful. Aya only appeared even younger and more delicate than ever. The blond couldnít understand how that was possible, but he certainly could appreciate the effect.

Coming to his senses, the red head frowned. "What are you still doing up?"

"Iíve been going over all the information we have on the mission. It was easier to do it down here than in bed. Iíd just finished for the night when you came in."

Wanting to ask if the playboy had been up awaiting his arrival, Aya decided he was too tired to deal with the answer. He just couldnít cope with Yohjiís sudden doubts over his ability to take care of himself right now. All he wanted to do was collapse in bed. Right now the damn couch was looking good, that was how drained he was. He walked past the blond on his way to the stairs. Yohji followed as fast as he could.

"What are you doing?"

"Going to bed, same as you. Itís late, if you havenít noticed."

"Hn."

Hearing the blond curse under his breathe at the pain as he limped behind him, Aya relented a bit and paused at the steps. Offering Yohji a shoulder for support, the two assassins made their way up the stairs together. Leaning the older man against the hallway wall at the top of the stairs, Aya pointedly said goodnight. He was in his room and almost had the door closed when Yohji caught up with him, forcibly keeping the door from closing. The older man had a look on his face saying that he wasnít going to let go quietly. Not wanting to wake their teammates up with a fight in the hall, Aya allowed the blond in. Besides, his katana was in the room. Somehow, he doubted that Yohji could force any issue with a length of steel at his throat.

Arms crossed over his chest as he stood in the center of the room, Aya regarded Yohji with an icy stare. "What do you want? Iím tired, all I want to do is sleep."

Sitting down on the neat bed, Yohji ran his eyes over the red head. "You look like youíre ready to collapse at any minute."

"So why donít you do me the favor of getting off my bed and letting me rest."

"How did it go tonight?" The swordsman began to rub the bridge of his nose at the question. All he wanted to do was sleep for a few hours, and the other man was too busy indulging in his curiosity to let him.

"It was very busy. /I/ was very busy. Got a little information on a few new suspects, but not much else. Leave."

Yohji suppressed a smirk. It seemed that his kitten was in a very grouchy mode. Not that that was at all unusual. But he normally wasnít rubbing his eyes and hair at the same time as biting someoneís head off. He just looked so adorable. "Geez, Aya, can you be a little more nasty to someone trying to do you a favor?"

Aya just shook his head at the cryptic comment. "Yohji, if you arenít out of this room in two minutes, Iím going for my sword." He figured heíd better give the blond some time to limp to the door.

"Always so prickly. I came in here to tell you not to worry about opening the shop in the morning. Iíll handle it, so sleep in a little."

The red head just snorted at that comment. "Youíre going to wake up that early willingly? Get real. Besides, there are a couple of orders that I need to do."

"Iíve been sleeping all day, itís no big deal to get up a little early." Clearly seeing that the smaller man didnít believe him, Yohji decided to try another tactic. "But heh, if you want to drag yourself down to the shop after only a couple hours sleep, be my guest. You never are able to accept any help. Too damn afraid of appearing weak, most likely. That, or too stubborn."

That earned him another glare. Aya was slowly realizing that the blond was not going to let the matter drop. Too tired to want to carry through with his threat, the red head decided to just give in. He was /not/ too stubborn, or afraid. "Fine, you help open the shop. I should be down around ten. Now leave."

At least I got him to sleep in a little, the blond thought. Getting up from the bed, he hobbled over to the smaller man. Pausing in front of him, he ignored an angry look and brushed back the long bangs. Placing a lingering, tender kiss on the red headís forehead, he wished him a good night and left the room.

Watching Yohji quietly leave the room, Aya felt a slight frown tug at the corners of his mouth. He wasnít even going to try and figure out what was up with the older man tonight. If he couldnít manage it wide awake, he sure as hell wasnít going to do it half dead on his feet. Stripping off his clothes, he collapsed onto the bed, and promptly fell asleep.

 

*******

Still limping slightly, Yohji made his into the Koneko no Sume Ie, coffee mug clasped tightly in hand. He couldnít remember the last time he had been up this early. Hell, it was more likely that he would be staggering to bed now, not leaving it. ĎThe things I do for the kitten. Really canít doubt that itís love.í

It was almost worth the loss of sleep just to see the expression on Kenís face when he realized it was Yohji, and not Aya, who was joining him in the shop. Glancing around, the blond noticed that Omi must have helped out again before leaving for cram school, everything was more or less ready. Heaving a sigh of relief, Yohji limped over to the counter. He picked up a stool along the way, and set it down in front of the register.

"You sure you should be down here, Yohji?"

"Donít worry Ken, Iím fine. Tired, but fine."

Ken was half tempted to test the playboyís forehead for a temperature. He never expected to see Yohji down here, especially before noon, while the man had a legitimate excuse to avoid work. He bemusedly wondered if it was possible that he was dreaming the whole thing. Walking over to the taller man, he quickly reached out and pinched the manís cheek.

"Ow! What the hell was that for?"

"Just checking." Yohji hadnít felt warm, although the glare he was directing Kenís way was decidedly heated. The brunet brushed it off though, living with Aya the past year had taught Weiss how to deal with such things. Speaking of whichÖ

"Yohji, whereís Aya?"

"Upstairs sleeping. I decided to return the favor from yesterday and let him sleep in a bit. Boyís been working too hard lately."

The red head had been dragging the past few days. Working all day in the shop, then all night at Bacchus while on the lookout for suspects had been taking its tool on the swordsman. "I know heís been busy the past few days, what with the mission and all, but we could really use his help down here. There are a couple of orders waiting for him."

Yohji regarded the brunet over the rim of his coffee cup. "Iím sure the fearless leader will be dragging himself out of bed shortly." Seeing that the younger man was about to say something, Yohji held up his hand. "You know, we used to run this shop just fine before Aya joined the group. Heís not the only one who knows how to arrange flowers. Just work on the easy orders, and leave the special requests to him."

"And what will you be doing?"

"Why, manning the register, of course."

Ken eyed the blond suspiciously. "You sure youíre up to it?"

"Itís just a sore ankle and some tender ribs. I feel much better today. Granted, I wouldnít want to run into Schwarz any time soon, but I should be able to handle a bunch of customers." And keep an eye on the kitten later, the blond thought to himself. Besides letting the swordsman get some much needed sleep, that was the other reason he had dragged himself out of bed. There was no way he was being left behind again while Aya put himself in danger.

Shaking his head, Ken headed to the back of the shop, intent on starting the arrangements. Yohji handled the morning customers, flirting up a storm and playing the sympathy card whenever anyone wanted something out of reach. Ken could not believe what the blond got away with. Several of the customers, all female, even bought a flower or two and blushingly handed them to the playboy, wishing him to get well soon.

An hour or so after the shop had opened, Ken walked over to the blond. "Maybe I should go wake Aya up now. Weíll need him down here soon. Omi wonít be back until after lunch."

"Geez Ken, let the guy sleep a little more. Heís worked more hours in the shop this week than you have." Yohji was starting to get irritated.

The athlete just stared at the older man for a minute. Yohji had all but snapped at him. It wasnít like the blond to be so concerned like this about Aya. Normally, heíd be dragging the red head down to work so Yohji could slack off. It reminded him of what heíd heard at Bacchus the night before.

"Yohji, can I ask you something?" Continuing at the older manís grunt of approval, the brunet kept his gaze locked on green eyes. "Is something going on between you and Aya?" Ken searched for any sign of reaction, and only noticed a puzzled expression on the blondís face.

"What do you mean?" Yohji was very glad his years of private investigating had graced him with a poker face. He didnít want Aya chasing him around with that damn sword of his for being the one to let Ken in on their relationship. However non existent said relationship was. Aya obviously didnít want the younger men to know that there was something going on.

Suddenly feeling like an idiot, Ken glanced down at his feet. "Well, youíve been acting pretty concerned about him lately, and thatís not like you. I mean, usually youíre avoiding the guy. And then thereís what I heard at the bar last night."

"And what is that," the playboy asked as calmly as possible. Heíd never thought that the other Weiss would notice his outwardly sudden change of heart towards the red head. If it was such a shock to them, he could only imagine how Aya felt. No wonder the man was so confused and distrustful.

ĎGreat, Iím blushing now.í "Well, a couple of the guys I talked to last night mentioned that Aya had this really protective boyfriend, and they pretty much described you dead on."

Yohji was thinking fast. "Didnít Aya tell you guys?" The brunet looked up, a frown on his face as he shook his head. "I stopped by the first night Aya was working, and found some guy harassing him big time. So to keep our favorite little assassin from killing the guy on the spot, I pulled him off Aya, pretending to be a jealous boyfriend. It seemed to make his more eager customers back off, so we just kept up the act. Thatís all. You really think Aya would give me the time of day?" Yohji let a little bitterness creep into his voice at that last comment.

"As for the rest, what can I say," the blond continued, shrugging his shoulders. "I realized Iíve been a bit of an asshole lately. Ayaís really working hard on this mission, just thought Iíd try to make up for the way Iíve been acting the past few weeks and help him out a little. Hell, I even let you leave early the other day to go play with the brats."

Not being able to argue with the logic presented to him, Ken found himself being persuaded into believing the blond. It was a bit ridiculous to think that Aya would ever fall for the playboy. He was the human icicle, after all. Look at the way he ignored that poor girl, Sakura. And Ken had thought that Yohji stood a chance? Feeling a bit like an idiot, the brunet decided to tease the older man a bit. "Come on Yohji, you trying to tell me that you, the self-proclaimed connoisseur of beauty, never have nor will try to get into Ayaís pants? Did you even get a glimpse of the way that man was dressed last night? The guys down at Bacchus were practically drooling over him. And youíre not even interested?"

Leaning back with his elbows on the counter, Yohji leered back at the younger man. "If you think he looked pretty hot last night, you ainít seen nothing. Should have seen him Wednesday night." The blond fanned himself briefly. "Had to play extra-protective boyfriend that night to keep the guys off him."

Hearing that, Ken smirked back. "Iím sure you found the task so repugnant. You telling me during that whole time you never made a move on him? Not even Omi would buy that one."

"Iím truly hurt, Kenken. Donít you think I have more self-control than that?" Yohjiís hurt expression was met by a skeptical one from Ken. Yohji gave up the act and grinned instead. "You guys could try giving me a little more credit. Aya may be a walking wet dream, but I am rather attached to being alive. There would be a lot of upset pretties out there if I got myself killed trying to make a move on the Ice Prince." The brunet rolled his eyes at this.

"Iím disappointed in you, Yohji. Letting a little thing like a painful death keep you from your one true lust. You must be slipping in your old age."

"Old my ass. Youíre just jealous Ďcause Iím that much more experienced. Trust me, if the red headed ice cube ever showed signs of thawing, Iíd have him on his back faster than Omi can go through a pint of ice-cream."

"Dream on, Blondie. Ayaíd shave his head and start calling himself ĎTakatorií before heíd let you in his bed. Some things are never meant to be. Youíre stuck with those hentai fantasies of yours."

"Oh, never say never, Kenken," the blond drawled. "I can be pretty irresistible when I set my mind to it. Poor thing would never know what hit him if I really decided to go after him."

Ken couldnít help himself, he just had to laugh. "You donít think too highly of yourself, do you? Still, everyone should have that one impossible dream. I just think itís about time yours got himself out of bed and lent a hand down here. People are going to start showing up soon to pick up their orders, so he needs to start working. I wonder what time heíll make it down here."

"Try five minutes ago."

Yohji nearly slipped from his stool as Ken sweatdropped, too stunned to move. Both men had been facing the door, on the lookout out for customers, and hadnít heard the quiet man join them. They wondered how much of the conversation Aya had overheard, and just how upset he was. Judging from the rigid way he was standing, and the sub-zero look he was directing their way, it was safe to say enough to be very, very angry.

With a voice even colder than the expression on his face, Aya informed the two men that he was going to work on the orders Ken had been so worried about. The brunet let out the breath he had been holding in since aware of the manís presence. "Oh man, this is not good. What do you think our chances are of living Ďtil Omi comes back? Aya wonít kill us if heís here. Maybe."

Looking over at the older man, Ken found him staring after the red head. Not saying a word, Yohji got off the stool and started walking towards the rear of the shop. Throwing up an arm to block him, the brunet hissed in disbelief. "What the hell do you think youíre doing? Youíre gonna get yourself killed if you go anywhere near him. Just let him cool down a bit, like a week or two."

Ignoring the younger man as he shoved past him, Yohji took another step towards the work table. A sharp jab to his sore ribs brought his attention back to the athlete. "Listen to me Yohji, you go anywhere near him right now and youíll just make him even angrier. Wait a while before apologizing. At least until there arenít any sharp objects nearby."

Knowing that the younger man was talking sense, Yohji nonetheless felt himself being pulled towards Aya. He wanted to go and explain that heíd only been joking with the younger man, but deep down he knew that any attempt to talk to the man would most likely end in a heated battle. With a sinking feeling that any headway heíd been making with the red head had been destroyed by a few thoughtless remarks, Yohji dejectedly returned to the register.

*******

The atmosphere of the flowershop was most definitely tense by the time Omi returned from school. Ken looked up from the carnations heíd been showing to a young woman when the youth burst into the shop, cheerfully shouting "Konnichi wa!" A sense of relief spread throughout the brunet, making him smile weakly. He hadnít known how much longer he could have taken the angry silence that had filled the shop, dampened only slightly when a customer would enter.

Glancing around, Omi noticed how tense and sullen his teammates looked. Yohji was uncharacteristically quiet at the register, not even flirting with the cute female customer he was ringing up. Aya was at work on a flower arrangement, pointedly ignoring everyone around him. Directing a questioning look towards Ken, he received a negative shake of the head in response. The brunet clearly thought that it was not appropriate to answer back at the moment. Curiosity raised, Omi tied on an apron and joined Ken in assisting the customers.

Things did not change much with the older members of Weiss the rest of the shift. When not busy wrapping and ringing up purchases, Yohji would stare back at the occupied red head. Aya, as if aware of the looks, refused to gaze away from the flowers he was working on. The way his two friends were acting made Ken wonder if Yohji hadnít been lying to him earlier. However, seeing what had happened when heíd asked about them before, he wasnít in any hurry to question either of them about their feelings anytime soon. If there were any left at this point.

Taking into account Ayaís exhausting work schedule and Yohjiís recent injuries, Omi decided to close the shop as soon as the last pre-ordered arrangement had been picked up. The second the Koneko was closed and cleaned up, Aya took off for his room. Expecting Yohji to storm off after the swordsman, Ken was a bit surprised when the blond made for the garage.

Putting away the broom, Omi stood in front of the brunet, hands on his hips. "Want to tell me what is going on here, Ken-kun?"

"Iíll try, but Iím not too sure whatís happening myself."

*******

In a hurry to pay his sister a visit before heading off to work, Aya grabbed the first things he could find that were suitable for Bacchus. Pulling on the dark, really low-slung blue jeans and a tight, short sleeved white shirt, the red head sat on his bed as he put on his steel toed boots. Snarling as he did up the laces, Aya felt the anger heíd been feeling all day threaten to overwhelm him. Damn Yohji, for making the red head believe that there was the slightest chance that the playboy might really care for him. All those tender caresses and kisses, the concern over his safety and health had just been an act to get into Ayaís pants. And damn himself for daring to believe the blond, for falling willingly for the lies. "íI really care for you Aya, I have for a while now. I want to help you, Kitten. Trust me, I would never hurt you.í Baah. And like some love struck idiot, you fell for it, Fujimiya. How could you be so stupid? Itís bad enough you actually thought someone could care for a monster like yourself, but to think that person would be /Yohji/? Lust must have scrambled my brains."

Grabbing his coat, the red head threw himself off of his bed. He yanked open his bedroom door, only to stop upon opening it. Yohji was standing outside the door, a serious expression on his face. Snarling once more, Aya slammed the door shut.

"Aya, open the door. We need to talk."

"Go to hell Kudoh."

"Most likely, but not right now. Come on Aya, let me in. Iím not going away until we straighten things out."

"Thereís nothing to straighten out, certain things have been made crystal clear. Now go away."

"No."

Gritting his teeth, Aya knew that the blond would stay out there all night if he had to. And Kudoh called /him/ stubborn. Going over his options, the red head made his way to the window. He should be able to manage getting down to the sidewalk in one piece, and then get his car. Yohjiís voice drifted through the door as Aya opened the window. "If youíre thinking of going out the window, I have to warn you that you wonít like what you find in the garage. It seems that your car has developed four flat tires, and that the other vehicles are missing key parts to their engines. No sense in calling to get someone out to fix things, auto assistanceís always real busy on Saturdays. And any cab you find is going to cost you a fortune, and most likely wonít be available to bring you back home when you get off work. So be a good boy and open the door." Pausing for a moment, the voice added, "Unless you want to admit youíre running scared."

Yohji was prepared when the door opened and the enraged assassin threw a punch at him. Ducking low, he caught Aya around his waist and shoved back into the room. Kicking the door closed behind him, he continued forward until both men slammed down on the bed. Air knocked out of him, Aya glared up at the blond draped over him. Not giving the red head a chance to recover from the attack, Yohji grabbed his hands and yanked them above his head. He also made sure his lower body was pinning down the smaller manís legs. Given the slightest chance to do so, he knew his kitten would inflict some serious damage.

"Maybe now youíll listen to me. That conversation you overheard wasnít what you thought it was."

"Oh really? So you and Ken werenít discussing me as if I was one of your flings? What about that part about you getting me on my back in bed? Happy now? Get the fuck off me before I gut you."

Yohji had known that this wasnít going to be easy. He had never met anyone as pigheaded as Aya, other than himself. He wasnít about to let the red head win this contest. "Aya, just shut up and listen to me." When the smaller man opened his mouth to argue, Yohji bent his face down until their lips were touching. Remembering the blondís method of silencing him in the past, Aya quickly closed his mouth, and turned his head aside. Grabbing both of the manís slender wrists in one hand, Yohji used the other to turn Ayaís face back towards his. The red headís glare could peel the paint off the wall, but the playboy wasnít deterred.

"Iím thinking you missed the first part of Ken and mineís conversation. So let me fill you in on what happened. It seems the boy heard some interesting stories about us at the bar last night, and had asked me if there was something going on between us. After you pretty much indicated last night that you didnít want Ken or Omi to know anything, I thought youíd prefer for me to lie to him. So I did. After that, Ken started to tease me about you. Knowing there was no way I could convince him that Iíve never wanted you, I went along with it. The boyís not stupid. Okay, we took things a bit too far, but we were just having a bit of fun. Thatís it."

The way Yohji was gazing down at him, as if he expected everything to be all better now, made Ayaís anger flare up again. Suddenly he began to twist and squirm on the bed, determined to knock the blond off of him. "Thatís it? You are so full of shit, Kudoh. Did you enjoy having fun at my expense? Why donít you just run the fuck downstairs and tell them about how you got the human ice cube to respond to you. I didnít want them to know so I wonít have to put up with their pity when you moved on to the next fling, but why should that matter to you? You just keep moving on, always looking for someone new. Wasnít that what this is all about? Your other conquests were too easy for you, so you decided to try a new challenge? You should have taken your shot the other night, thatís the closest youíll ever get to fucking me, you bastard. Get off of me. Get off me now, or Iíll kill you, you fucking bastard!" The younger man was all but shouting now.

He continued to fight against the taller man, grinning evilly whenever a blow landed and the man grunted in pain. Distantly, he heard a familiar sound, but it wasnít until he felt something cold and sharp against his wrists that he realized what it was. He suddenly froze. Yohji had his wire out, and had it pressing against the red headís wrists.

Ignoring the pain from his abused ribs, the playboy looked down on the smaller man. Violet eyes were glittering sharply, full of animosity and hurt. Yohji could handle the ill-will, but he inwardly winced at the pain in those eyes. "Behave, or Iíll tie you up. Youíre just not listening to me Aya. I /could/ have had you the other night, but it was me who put a stop to things. Trust me, if all I was after was a piece of ass, I sure as hell wouldnít have done that. But I donít want that from you." The swordsman snorted in disbelief. In response, Yohji pressed his groin against the man. Close contact with his kitten, regardless of the circumstance, had him semi-erect. "Oh, I want you alright, Iíve been doing nothing but dream of having you under me, hot and willing and screaming out my name ever since I met you. And there was a time when that might have been enough. But not now, and not for some time. I want all of you, Aya. I want to be there with you in the morning, and all through the day, and at night. I want to yell at you to get you to actually eat and sleep properly. I want to protect you." He desperately wanted to tell the younger man that he loved him, but he knew Aya would never accept that answer. The man ran from commitment, sold on the belief that he was tainted and unworthy. It would take time to convince Aya that he really loved him. "I want you to trust me, and to want me back."

Not being able to hold back any longer, Aya let out a bitter laugh. "Oh, youíre not asking much, are you? Whatís next, world peace and the end to hunger? You have a much better chance of achieving those goals than you have of the first two."

Okay, Yohji was starting to get tired of the attitude. Here he was spilling his heart out to the younger man, only to be mocked in return. Time to play dirty. "Oh, I know I need to work on the trust issue, but I think I got the you wanting me part down pat." The blond began to rotate and grind his hips into the smaller man. Bending his face down again, he wasnít surprised when the red head turned his head away. In fact, he had counted on that. He traced the curve of Ayaís ear with his tongue, moving ever so slowly as he kept grinding his hips. His teeth closed gently on the lobe, and softly tugged. As the red head tried to jerk his head back, he blew onto the moistened ear. Aya shivered. Moving on to the soft skin just below and behind the ear, he commenced a series of licks and kisses, pausing every now and then to blow on the sensitized skin. He worked on two of the smaller manís weak spots, lavishing attention on the manís neck as he ran long fingers through silky hair. Aya was starting to pant, and unconsciously his hips were moving in time with the blond.

Aya was starting to panic. The feel of Yohjiís mouth on his neck, and of the blondís hard on grinding into his groin was making the anger go away. In its place passion was swiftly rushing in, threatening to overwhelm him. All he could think about was the warm body pressing down on him, and the pleasure Yohji could make him feel. Was in fact making him feel. His body was responding back, and he couldnít stop himself. It was taking all of his energy to keep from turning his head and kissing the older man back. Pulling together whatever remained of his self control, Aya managed to whisper, "Yohji, stop."

Yohji only tilted his head towards him and proceeded to kiss Aya with a thoroughness and possessiveness that left the red head gasping. The older man continued the assault for another minute or two, until Aya was rendered senseless with desire. Forcing himself to pull away from the smaller man, Yohji drank in the flushed face and mewls of protest. He continued to stare down at the man until Aya began to come back to himself. Once he deemed the younger man was once more in control of himself, Yohji locked gazes with him, and started talking in a serious tone. "I could have had you right here and now, Aya, and youíd have been more than willing. But you asked me to stop, so I did. I keep telling you, Iíll never do a single thing to hurt you. Even if itís something you want me to do. Let me tell you something from experience, itís not often you find someone who cares enough about you to do that. Some people never do."

"You think all I want you for is sex? I can get that anywhere. You have any idea how many gorgeous guys Iíve turned down during this mission? How many phone numbers I can get in a day of working in the shop? I only sleep alone because I feel like it. Let me tell you something else. None of them would have required a fraction of the effort Iíve spent on you, trying to get you to open up and trust me. Beautiful and intelligent as you are, most people would have just thrown up their hands and quit by now, if all they wanted was a quick fuck. Hell, I would have too, if that was all I was interested in. But itís not, so you better get used to this simple fact. Iím not going away. You can run or fight, but youíre not getting rid of me."

Dazedly trying to take all of it in, the swordsman felt a spark of anger appear at the manís presumption. "And what if I want you to go away and leave me alone? Donít I have a say in this?"

Letting the lust he was feeling drift into his green eyes as he once again slowly ground his hips into the other man, Yohji softly smiled at the red headís gasp. "This is how I know you donít want me to leave you alone, Kitten. How many times has anyone else made you feel like this? Once or twice? Anyone else at all? Iím thinking Iím the first, and thatís what has you so scared and confused."

Oh, that definitely got a response from the smaller man. "Iím not scared of you." Aya knew better than to deny his confusion.

"Then prove it. Stop running away. Face me, Aya, show me what youíre made of." Yohji smiled down at the man. He knew the man couldnít resist a challenge. As if proving his point, the swordsman was defiantly glaring back. Taking a closer look at what the red head was wearing, Yohji asked him what time did he have to report for work.

Twisting his head so he could read his clock, Aya let out a slight sigh. There wasnít enough time to visit his sister now. Another thing he could hold against the blond. "In little over an hour."

"Well, guess we better get going then. Give me a few minutes to change, and weíll head out. No time for dinner, Iíll just stop by something on the way there." Yohji slowly crawled off the red head, careful of an attack and just plain unhappy about moving away from the man. Aya stayed on the bed. He would need a few minutes to recover from everything, not having Yohjiís experience in the matter. That should give the blond time to get ready as Aya was in no shape to take off running.

Trying to calm his body down so he could get off the bed and head to work, Aya couldnít get what Yohji had said to him out of his head. It really did come down to a matter of trust. He could no longer deny that he desperately wanted the other man, he just didnít know how far he could trust the blond. Watching his back on a mission was one thing, but emotions were another. He was so tired of losing the people he cared for, he didnít know what heíd do if it happened again. But the more he sealed himself off from everyone else, the colder and more inhuman he became. What was the point in doing what he did, selling his soul to Kritiker for the money to heal his sister, if there was nothing remotely human and Ran left for her to recognize when she woke up? Deep down, he knew that his sister would trust the older man, she had always been looking at the good in other people. Would if really be so bad to trust the man just the slightest bit? Yohji had definitely proven a point tonight.

Distracted by these thoughts as he pulled on his coat, Aya made his way to the door. Once again, Yohji was waiting outside, slightly out of breath from the mad dash to get ready. Silently, both men made their way downstairs.

Omi was amazed to see the two men walking together. Ken and him had set about preparing dinner, intent on ignoring the raised voices and loud noises from upstairs. As long as no one screamed for help, they were determined to let the older men fight it out. It looked like the strategy had worked.

"Where are you guys going? Omiís just about finished preparing dinner."

"Sorry Ken, but Aya needs to get to work early, and, uh, thereís something wrong with his car. So Iím giving him a ride. Weíll eat something on the way." Not looking his teammate in the eye, he reached into his pockets to pull out several spark plugs. "Here, you might need these for the delivery truck and your bike." Ken wisely said nothing.

"But what about the agenda for tonight? We never got a chance to go over things. Ken did manage to find a connection to that American, Teddy, and three of the victims."

Looking up in interest at that bit of news, Yohji just shook his head at the smaller blond. "We really need to sit down and go over things tomorrow. At least the shop will be closed and Aya will have the night off as well. Iíll hit several of the bars tonight, check in with some people I know and see what they have to say about the brothers. Ken, have you made it to the Velvet Room yet?"

It was Kenís turn to avoid his friendís eyes. "No, not yet. I guess I can go there tonight, there still is a bit of a connection to the place." The second victim had been a regular there, and it was the last victim that had briefly visited the place before his abduction.

Remembering what Joji had said about how the club was on a Saturday night, Yohji bit back a grin. "That would be a good idea. It would look suspicious now if I started to ask a lot of questions there. I need to arrange another visit there with Aso, most likely on Tuesday night. Maybe I can talk to Teddy tonight and get it set up."

Noticing how Omi was looking at him, Aya wearily shook his head. "Iíll keep my ears open for anything about Teddy or Mickey. See if there is any interesting gossip my coworkers can fill me in on. Donít expect much though, Iíll be pretty busy." Omiís eyes brightened at this sign of capitulation. Aya handed a folder to the boy. "Hereís some credit card slips and matching descriptions of some more suspicious customers. Itís still worth a shot to double-check and see if any of them have police records."

"I will. You better get going." Omi waved to his departing friends.

"You still donít think its Mickey, huh Aya?" Yohji asked curiously.

"Hn."

The blond couldnít help but chuckle. "Ah Kitten, youíre so eloquent. Itís no wonder Iím crazy about you."

That earned him a decidedly dirty look. The glare got bumped up to Shi-ne level as Aya spied the punctured tires on his Porche.

"I know, I know, Iím going to pay for that. Iíll get you new tires on Monday," the blond replied back. ĎAll in all, the best money Iíve spent in a long time.í Ayaís earlier fury at him seemed to have disappeared.

Leaving the Koneko, the two men immediately got into an argument over which fast food place to hit. Having decided on KFC, they started to squabble over how much food Yohji ordered for Aya. It was a rather eventful ride.

Parking his car in front of the bar, Yohji was suspecting Aya to practically leap from the vehicle in an attempt to escape. Puzzled when the younger man stayed sitting in his seat, Yohji turned to ask him a question. He was not expecting a pair of slim hands to grasp his head by the hair and pull it forward for a kiss. His kitten was kissing him with a passion, lips hungry and tongue delving deep. So overtaken by this turn of events, it was Yohjiís turn to sit stunned for moments before being able to respond back. Damn, but the smaller was learning quickly how to kiss. The blond couldnít seem to catch his breath. He didnít know how long the embrace lasted, until the half expected knock caused the two men to break apart. No big surprise, Teddy was once again leaning on the hood of the car, a big grin spread across his face. "Are you guys enjoying this as much as I am?"

Opening the car door, Aya shot the playboy a searching look before joining the American on the sidewalk. "See you later." Not even the teasing innuendos the kilt wearing man was making could wipe away the slight smile on the red headís lips. That look of dazed confusion on Yohjiís face, that oh so clearly said ĎWhat the hell just happenedí, had made that little advance on Ayaís part worth it. It was about time he turned the tables on the blond. ĎNext moveís yours, Yohji.í

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