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How you played your part has got you here

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Okay, Yuu with a blade is scary, that's already been established. But Yuu with a blade at Lavi's throat? Now that's very scary. Lavi should have been used to it by now, considering all the death threats Yuu had underlined by drawing Mugen on him, but this? This is decidedly different.

For starters, the blade is actually moving. Lavi can practically hear it shear off stubble and dead skin cells (maybe more than just dead skin cells) as it scrapes over his Adam's apple. He expects blood to pool in the hollow of his throat any moment now. Lavi has to fight with himself to keep from swallowing.

All because he couldn't stop his flapping mouth. Note to self: Never – I repeat: never! – under any circumstances challenge Yuu, even – correction: especially – if it's just to be contrary and you don't really mean it. That's just asking for trouble.

So where are your smart-mouthed comments now, Lavi?

He might have some, right at the tip of his tongue, ready to slip (as usual), because if Lavi can do one thing it's run his mouth. Though at this very moment it's safer to simply keep it shut. Actually, if he's being honest here, and now might be the best time to come clean, he's terrified to say anything stupid. Or, anything Yuu might deem stupid, which, let's face it, can be whatever Lavi says, regardless of its factual merit.

In conclusion: he's in a real pinch and not one he's getting out of anytime soon.

Because, you see, he's naked, and his sense of modicum – however minuscule it may be – prevents him from calling out for help even if Yuu's blade weren't already doing a good job in the prevention department. To make matters worse, Yuu's shins are literally staying Lavi's hand by pinning his forearms, so even if he wanted to move he couldn't, not without upsetting Yuu and risking a stray slash or two, just for good measure.

Remind him again, why did he suggest Yuu could shave his stubble if it bothered him so much? Or why did he have to (again, literally) rub it in? Well, probably because the latter should be negligible considering the burn would heal in less than ten minutes, and the former... maybe that's a hitherto unknown suicidal tendency coming to the forefront. Oh, who is he kidding? Seeing Yuu like this is plenty suicidal. The old panda might not kill him for it, only maim him a little. ("You won't need that to record history." Lavi would beg to differ.)

It's not like he is willfully blind to the point Bookman is trying to impress upon him, he just doesn't see the point in denying himself if it means no harm. Granted, he can't use that argument when talking about Yuu, but. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill, shall we? He can handle this.

In fact, Lavi has been handling Yuu exceptionally well, riding the raging waters that are his (mostly violent or sour) moods, and finding a comfortable space at the end of them all. So when Yuu had stormed off without a word earlier, Lavi only wondered what exactly Yuu was huffy about this time. Perhaps the comparison to Yuu's usually prickly nature ("I can shave, what can you do?") had been a tad too much. Yuu doesn't do well with wordplays.

But it was okay. He expected to be given the chance to reconcile with him later.

What he didn't expect was for Yuu to return with all manner of utensils, wrestle him into submission and nearly smother him with a hot towel. Death by Yuu is supposed to be brutal and bloody, not purple and soggy. Even then, Lavi tried to protest verbally up until the moment Yuu applied the lather, at which point it became a matter of clamping up or getting some in his mouth. Lavi chose the former, if sullenly so, waiting for his turn to let Yuu know what he thought of his childishness.

When the opportunity finally arose, Yuu already had the razor in hand and an evil glint in his eyes. Lavi's bravado died with the words on his tongue, where they are still festering and clogging his mouth – quite possibly the only thing that's suppressing the undignified shriek tickling the back of his throat. Thank God for small mercies. He'd really rather not draw attention to the wobbly nature of his nerves. (All pretensions aside, he doesn't want Yuu to think less of him.)

Yuu is quieter now, less malicious, as he guides the razor along the contours of Lavi's jaw, tipping and tilting Lavi's head as if he were nothing more than a mannequin. He's quite beautiful like this, hair gathered in a knot at his nape, gaze trained on Lavi in a measure of concentration he only ever displays while meditating (or hacking things to pieces, but let's not go there). He's also offering Lavi a generous view of his very bare chest, and if there's blood on Lavi's face now, chances are it's not from a Yuu-inflicted wound, but rather flowing from his nostrils.

Lavi realises he might still be subsisting on his very first inhale, but as soon as Yuu cleans and lays aside the razor, he breathes easier. Yuu wrings out the hand towel over the glazed wooden bowl before scrubbing Lavi's face with it – roughly of course, because consideration is not a concept Yuu is overly familiar with. Lavi thought the sweat prickling on his freshly scraped cheeks was bad, but the hot cloth makes them positively scream. He expects a kiss for his troubles, a white flag signifying the end of their spat. But Yuu doesn't oblige. Instead, he fixes Lavi with a gaze as illegible as faded parchment, and runs the rough pad of his thumb along Lavi's jawline.

Lavi thinks: You've done a great job, Yuu, no need to check for stray patches. Give me a kiss already.

Lavi says: "You could open a barbershop once all this is over. I actually didn't die."

Yuu grins, a rare enough expression for Lavi not to mistake it for a reaction to his comment. It's unnerving. His eyes flicker off to the side, outside of Lavi's immediate field of vision, and he shifts, freeing Lavi's right arm. Pins and needles attack the extremity as feeling floods back into it. Lavi's first instinct is to wriggle away, because Yuu makes it worse just by touching it. But when Yuu interlaces their fingers, palm to palm, Lavi stills, waits, watches his wrist rise to Yuu's mouth.

"That can still be arranged." Yuu's teeth graze the sensitive skin at Lavi's wrist and Lavi is so glad the man isn't Crowley. Yuu is vicious enough even without ferociously sharp teeth, sucking marks into his skin Lavi has trouble hiding from the old panda.

"Eh, I think I'll pass." Now, here's his chance. With Yuu's weight shifted to one side, Lavi can finally extract his right forearm from its confines. Yuu's knee skids in the process and he has to grab Lavi's shoulder or tumble from the bed. His hand is warm, almost searing, and leaves behind a palmprint that cools out too quickly.

Lavi's hand, in contrast, feels chilly and about double its size. He brushes it up Yuu's back and winds it in his hair, despite its muted tactile feedback. Strand by strand, the knot unravels and Yuu's hair spills over his shoulder, some of it tickling Lavi's face and neck. Then he does what he should have done a while ago: tucked some of those black tresses behind Yuu's ear, wound more about his own fingers, and cupped Yuu's neck, drawing him down for a kiss. (Now that he's this smooth-cheeked devil, Yuu should no longer be able to resist.)

Naturally, however, he's dealing with Yuu, who always finds a way to rain on his parade. Lavi manages to get a peck in before something pointy digs into the soft space above his hyoid bone. His tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth and he wills himself hard not to move, swallow, breathe. The pressure forces his chin forward. And here Lavi had been relieved that this day wouldn't end with a severed jugular.

Much too soon.

Honestly, is what he wants to ask, haven't you had enough of the knife play already?

"I wasn't done yet," Yuu says, and it spells out don't distract me.

"What else is there?" Lavi forces out of the corner of his mouth. Then, with the full impact of revelation, he yanks his arms from Yuu and crosses them over his head. "You're not shaving my hair."

Something is definitely running down his throat now. He shouldn't have jerked into action without warning. It could be sweat but when Yuu's tongue traces its path in reverse, he knows that it isn't. Lavi hisses. His blood is crashing through his veins, pulsing against Yuu's lips, betraying him.

Yuu clicks his tongue. "I wasn't going to."

"Then what..." Lavi's arms relax, sliding in front of his face, shielding him. He peers at Yuu from under his forearms. Through the light hairs on his forearms. "Oh, no. Nononono."

"I did say I'd shave it all off if you didn't let up. And you didn't."

"Are you crazy?" Yuu just scowls at him, rubbing his neck. Scratch that. Why does he even bother to ask? "Listen, you don't wanna do that. I'm gonna be as prickly as a porcupine when all the bristles are growing back."

Yuu directs his scowl at the cutthroat razor in his hand. Lavi tries to sit up on his elbows and curls his fingers around Yuu's, coaxing them to close the item in question. What he's about to suggest might come more easily from his lips if he doesn't have to fear for his life at the same time.

"How about... how about I spar with you later instead?" There, he said it. This is like bargaining with the devil. In order to get out of this mess, he played his ace right at the start. If this doesn't get Yuu's attention, nothing will.

Thankfully, that mean smirk is back on Yuu's face. His free hand snakes into Lavi's hair. "I'll expect you before lunch."

Phew. Lucky.

Then Yuu tugs. Lavi's eye flutters shut and a groan escapes him. In the end, he is rewarded for his troubles when Yuu captures his lips and kisses him with what Lavi thinks must be all the anticipation of a suitably challenging match. Aside from the old panda, not many people still dare to fight him. Most gave up after the first time they got their asses handed to them. Lavi had gone up against him on several occasions but eventually quit as well. Officially, because he got tired of losing, though 'not being able to keep himself together once Yuu had pinned him to the floor' might be closer to the truth.

"I'll see if the old panda lets me off that early," Lavi says between kisses, unable and unwilling to let go of Yuu for two seconds now that he finally has him. However, the birds and the sunlight have become particularly insistent in the past five minutes, calling Lavi to his duty. "Speaking of. I really. Gotta. Go now."

For a change, Yuu lets himself be rolled onto his back (with only a minimal amount of nudging), granting Lavi the opportunity to leave. If only he could. His scalp is smarting, Yuu's hand still fisted in his hair. He contents himself with just another kiss. And another. And another, because he can. Breathing in the soapy scent of Yuu's hair to have something other than scars and bruises to remember him by.

One day, this is going to land him in deep trouble, he knows. An attachment where there should be none. The old panda will have his hide. But right now, this is what he needs to keep going, to prepare for another day, another fight, and to forget the horrors of the war he is supposed to chronicle. It's soul-cleansing in a way. It helps him to do his job. If that's what it means to have an attachment, how can this be discouraged?