Asami would never actually admit he was concerned about Akihito's state of mind after they'd left Hong Kong, but he was. His lover had endured so much: sexual assault, confinement in a cramped cage for weeks, nearly being strangled, shooting the Russian goon, and then being shot himself. The young man insisted he was fine, but he'd trembled violently in Asami's arms that first night on the boat, almost as if he were having a seizure. He'd also wept upon seeing the bloody bandages of Asami's shoulder wound, and then had refused to talk about it.
No, Akihito was not fine.
Even as they'd made love later that same night and then at the resort in Bali, even as they went out to eat at the resort's restaurant, even as Akihito talked and ate and was his usual goofy-but-endearing self, Asami knew deep down in his gut, his lover was not fine.
Then Akihito had gone for a swim in the pool just outside their room. One, two, three... Asami had mentally counted as he'd watched the water: no bubbles, no movement, no Akihito. Asami had dived in, pulling his unconscious lover to the surface, lifting him out, and giving him mouth-to-mouth. As Akihito had gagged and coughed and expelled the water from his lungs, grabbing huge gulps of air, his eyes fluttering open and staring blankly at Asami, the older man knew, indeed, something was very wrong with Akihito.
From that point on, Akihito seemed to exist in an almost catatonic state, withdrawing into himself, as he lay in the large bed under the whirring ceiling fan, his eyes closed. When Asami would stare into his face and call his name sharply, "Akihito" or "Takaba," his young lover's hazel eyes would open, dull and glazed, devoid of their usual fire and life, and meet his. Asami couldn't even see pain there, just nothingness.
Not even the strength of Asami's voice could stir Akihito to action.
"Come and eat, Takaba," he'd say every few hours.
Akihito would regard him with those vacant eyes, then shut them and slowly shake his head no.
"Hey, join me outside," Asami would coax. "It is warm and pleasant, and you are missing it."
Again, the head shake and closing of eyes.
Akihito would take water left by the bed and get up only to use the bathroom, and never when Asami was around.
For three nights when he came to bed, Asami had held Akihito, kissed him, laved his nipples, caressed his prick, trying to get some sort of response from him, but there was none. Akihito lay as limp as a rag doll, either staring up at the fan or with his eyes closed. Every question or comment Asami put to him was answered with shut eyes and a slow shaking of the head.
By the morning of the fourth day, Asami was concerned not only about Akihito's mental state, but his physical health, as well. The boy had gone three days without eating. The crime lord wasn't used to feeling helpless, and he despised it, especially when it came to Akihito. He'd proudly assumed he knew his lover better than the young man even knew himself, but the person lying in that bed wasn't acting or responding anything like his Akihito. Asami was at a loss, and he'd never been in that position before.
He called his internist, Dr. Yamamoto, in Tokyo and told him about Akihito not eating or speaking, just shaking his head and closing his eyes.
"It sounds like he might have suffered a breakdown," Dr. Yamamoto said, "but without examining him, I can't be certain."
"There is no sexual response, either, when I touch him, and that has never happened before," Asami added. "There is nothing."
"That's worrisome," the doctor commented. "It does indeed sound like a breakdown. He really should be in a hospital, Asami-sama."
"I want to fly you here to treat Akihito," Asami said. "You may bring whatever personnel and equipment you need. Provide me with a list, and I will have it on the plane."
"It would be better if a psychiatrist saw him, Asami-sama," said Dr. Yamamoto. "I recommend Dr. Matsuno. Let me contact her, brief her on our discussion, and she can call you directly."
Within the hour, Dr. Matsuno called Asami. She concurred with Dr. Yamamoto that it sounded as though Akihito had experienced a breakdown. Asami arranged to fly her and her medical supplies to Bali. She would arrive in several hours.
After the phone call, Asami went to check on Akihito again. The young man hadn't changed positions from earlier and appeared to be asleep. Asami stood in the doorway and watched as bits of his lover's blond hair stirred in the draft from the ceiling fan.
Asami quietly approached the bed and sat next to Akihito. For a good ten minutes, he watched the young man sleep. Asami had never felt so helpless. All he could do was wait for Dr. Matsuno to arrive and initiate treatment. Medication? Therapy? What would she do to help Akihito? What could be done?
Akihito finally turned in his sleep, from one side onto his back, baring his neck in the process.
Even in the dim light, Asami could still see the bruises from the attempted strangulation, deep blue and purple, marring the smooth skin; the mark of a large hand that had gripped and squeezed his lover's throat, trying to murder him. It was the same Russian goon that his lover had then shot. That was all Akihito would say about the man or the shooting. It seemed to be the most upsetting thing about the whole ordeal. That and being locked in the cage.
Akihito suddenly opened his eyes and stared back at Asami, unblinking. The hazel eyes were still dull and tired.
"Takaba, this is the fourth day you haven't eaten. You must have something. I am very serious. You must eat."
Akihito just looked away and slowly blinked his foggy eyes.
Asami reached out to ruffle his lover's hair, which, after four days of no washing, was dirty. It didn't smell bad, just very strongly of Akihito. "Shall I bring you miso soup?"
Still Akihito didn't respond. He didn't look at Asami, and he didn't close his eyes and shake his head. He just stared off into space.
The whole room smelled of unwashed Akihito, reeked of him. Again, not unpleasant, just strong.
Asami stared at Akihito lying there, thin and pale, with his listless eyes, and he was overwhelmed by a feeling of death and despair. It was as if his young lover, the joy of his life, his heart and soul, had just given up and was slowly dying and decaying here in this bed.
This was unacceptable.
"You haven't eaten in four days, Akihito," Asami repeated. "That's partly why you feel so down. If I bring you miso soup, will you eat it?"
Still no response.
"A specialist is flying in from Japan to treat you."
Asami stared into his lover's beautiful, empty, hazel eyes. Those eyes that used to glare at him so fiercely, driving him mad with desire. Those eyes that were usually so full of life and love and rage and lust and laughter and tears. Full of feeling.
The crime lord could always read Akihito by his eyes. That was why he always insisted his lover meet his gaze, so he could read Akihito. He said it was to keep Akihito truthful, but it was really because Asami wanted to ensure that Akihito still loved him. Because Akihito's eyes revealed everything, including his love for Asami.
Akihito's eyes didn't reveal a goddamn thing. Asami had no fucking idea what was going on inside his lover's head, if anything was going on at all, and that was driving him crazy.
So, he did what he had to do, the only thing he could do, in his mind.
Because Asami Ryuichi did not know how to do helpless.
"The one who gave you that bruise only got pleasure through violence," Asami said in a low, even voice. "He only instilled fear in you."
Then Asami slowly slid his hand around Akihito's neck, positioning his fingers to cover the fingerprints.
"I will overwrite all of that. Everything that happened in Hong Kong."
Akihito's blank eyes suddenly registered terror. He began whimpering in the most horrible way, high-pitched interspersed with moments of hoarseness where just hissing was heard, because he hadn't spoken in nearly four days.
"Eeeeeeee, eeeeeeee, eeeeeeee!"
Akihito clawed at Asami's hand around his neck, but Asami held firm.
"Trust me, Akihito," he purred. "Relax and trust me."
Akihito's whimpering grew louder, and he began to shake as if having a seizure. His back arched, and his eyes rolled up into his head until only the whites showed. Asami released Akihito's neck and withdrew as if he'd been burned.
Then Akihito's eyes flew open, and he shrank from Asami, still trembling violently. His eyes were unfocused and full of panic.
"Takaba, calm down," Asami said, soothingly. "No one is going to hurt you."
Asami attempted to draw Akihito into his arms, but the blond wasn't having it. Even though he hadn't eaten in four days, the fight-or-flight adrenaline was coursing through his body, and he reacted with a ferocity and strength that Asami hadn't been expecting.
Whaaaam! Akihito's foot came in contact with Asami's gut, and the crime lord grimaced, more in surprise than pain.
"Takaba!" Asami said sharply. "Look at me! Look at me! It's Asami! Nobody is going to hurt you!"
But those huge, hazel eyes didn't recognize him. Sweat was pouring off Akihito, and his chest was heaving as he continued to shake and stare.
Suddenly, Akihito's terrified gaze shifted to something beyond Asami. Kirishima was standing in the doorway, a rare look of shock on his face.
"He doesn't recognize me," Asami said. "He had some sort of seizure."
"Psychosis," said Kirishima quietly.
"Akihito," Asami said quietly. "Can you speak? Hmmm? Can you tell us why you are so upset?"
Akihito began whining in distress, slunk off the bed, and then disappeared. When Asami and Kirishima went to the other side of the bed to have a look, they realized Akihito had crawled beneath it. Asami got down on his knees and looked underneath the bed.
Akihito was wedged towards the center, so nobody could reach him. His hands were balled into fists, pulled in close, and he was seething and hissing through clenched teeth.
Asami, not known for his patience, stood up, grabbed the mattress, and yanked it off the box spring. He tossed it to the side and put both hands on the box spring. He nodded to Kirishima, and the secretary took the other side.
The moment they lifted it, Akihito flipped onto his back and screamed as if he were being murdered. His eyes were wild, and he held up his fists to protect himself from some anticipated attack.
Asami carefully stepped over the bed frame and knelt next to his lover, but Akihito scrambled away, crawling over the other side of the frame and stumbling into a corner, where he cowered next to a dresser.
By now, two of Asami's men were standing in the doorway leading to the pool, having heard Akihito's scream. They, along with Kirishima, stood watching and waiting to assist. Asami was completely still for a moment, staring at Akihito, who was crouched down in the corner, looking out with his horrified eyes.
He was quite a sight now, as he'd picked up several dust bunnies from under the bed, as well as some dead bugs, which clung to his shirt and face. His filthy hair was wild and sticking up in all directions. His eyes were enormous in a face thin from lack of food and sunshine.
They could hear him breathing, and he continued to whine, low and deep in his chest now, almost like a growl.
"Takaba," Asami said softly. "We left Hong Kong five days ago. We are in Bali. Do you not remember? You mentioned the banana tree as we walked to the restaurant here at the resort. Do you remember it?" A little grin played on Asami's lips at the pleasant memory.
Akihito just stared at him with laser eyes.
"I came to get you in Hong Kong," the crime lord continued. "You scolded me for taking so long. I took you on the boat, and then we flew here."
Akihito said nothing. Asami slowly moved closer.
"You are safe here with me, Akihito. I am flying in a doctor who is going to help you. You are going to be fine."
Another step closer.
"Will you speak to me, Takaba? Do you remember who I am?"
Akihito was still breathing rapidly. His eyes never left Asami.
Asami moved closer to his lover, slowly extending his arms.
With an ear-piercing shriek, Akihito suddenly grabbed the lamp on the dresser, swung it around, and smashed it against Asami, sending shards of pottery flying everywhere. Asami had managed to block the attack with his arm, but was now bleeding from several cuts. Asami's men charged forward to grab Akihito, but the young man slipped between them and out the door to the pool area. He ran past the pool and, seeing Suoh guarding the gate to the beach, climbed a palm tree and dropped to the sand on the other side of the wall.
Kirishima and the other men ran past Suoh onto the beach. Asami paused and spoke to Suoh.
"Dispatch men to intercept Akihito from all directions. I want him surrounded."
Suoh nodded and pulled out his cellphone. Asami continued the chase.
Akihito ran down the beach.
"Takaba!" Asami boomed. "Takaba, stop!"
Akihito continued to run.
Suddenly, several men in suits and sunglasses appeared on the beach from the opposite direction, fanning out to block his way. Akihito turned and saw Kirishima, Asami, and the other men closing in.
Akihito wailed in terror and charged into the surf, diving into a breaking wave.
Asami dove in after him, as did several of his men, but without goggles or masks, it was impossible to see. Asami surfaced and looked around. He saw his other men, both in the water and on the beach, but not Akihito.
Kirishima quickly procured goggles from others on the beach. One of Asami's men slapped a pair into the crime lord's hand during one of his surfacings. With goggles, they all saw the sea floor more clearly, and what Asami saw made his stomach turn icy. The sea floor went out for about a hundred feet and then suddenly dropped off. Asami knew that Akihito could very well have been caught in an undertow.
His lungs burning, Asami propelled to the surface to catch his breath. His men were still looking, and seeing their boss, gave hand signals indicating no luck yet. Asami yelled for diving gear, and Kirishima yelled back that he'd already requested it. The men were coming down the beach with the tanks.
Asami continued to scan the water. There is no way he could be underwater this long, he thought, leaving off the last part of the sentence, not wanting to consider it: and survive.