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One

Furuya Rei, currently known to his targets and associates as Amuro Tohru, knew he was not at his best when he was surprised. As Hiro had trenchantly put it once, Rei’s observational ability meant he just didn’t get surprised often enough to figure out how to deal with it very well. Rei knew it was a vulnerability, but since he wasn’t about to stop observing the world around him, he hadn’t seen any good way to fix it. 

At least not until just recently.

Akai Shuuichi had been responsible for most of Rei’s least pleasant surprises over the last few years, and Rei rather hoped that his pursuit of Akai would help fix the issue. Surely it wasn’t unreasonable to want Akai to be at least a little useful before he died?

Unfortunately, it seemed Rei still had a ways to go. Admittedly, Vermouth's message was enough to occupy anyone's mind—that Gin might be scouting the same professional sniper that Conan was currently tracking (and of course he was, if there was one place their miniature Holmes should not be, you could count on finding him there every time, and yes Rei was aware of the irony of his exasperation). So when he came out of the stairwell onto the roof, he was prepared to either tackle a sniper or bullshit Gin just as fast as humanly possible, and perhaps to restrain Conan from charging straight at a rifle barrel.

He was not expecting to find Akai Shuuichi vaulting up the last steps of the fire escape onto the same roof. 

They both froze for one long, startled second, and then years-long rage sent Rei's hand diving for his gun in the same moment that Akai lunged straight for him. He tried to turn out of Akai's line, but even the most sternly trained muscle memory tripped over the unexpected. One hand occupied, he missed his stance (trying to do two things at once, the remembered voice of the Academy jujutsu instructor berated him, in the back of his head) and the full weight of Akai's body slammed him back against the wall beside the stairwell door. When Rei had managed to haul breath back into his lungs, he was pinned, and Akai had an iron grip on his gun hand. Rei bared his teeth in a furious snarl, outraged that he'd had a clean chance at Akai, and as himself instead of as Okiya for once, and he'd missed it.

Akai's expression, half in shadow as he looked down at Rei, was pensive. "Can you not let this go?" he asked, quietly.

"Let it go?" Rei spat, yanking futilely against Akai's grip, nearly wrenching his own shoulder with a twist he didn't have the leverage to complete. "Let it go that you killed my best, oldest friend, with your damned illegal interference?"

Akai's eyes narrowed. "You know better than that. You, of all people, must have seen better than that."

"So he pulled the trigger himself! You were the one who made him do it, just to keep your cover!" Rei threw back at him. "You must have been! He'd never have done that on his own!"

Akai stared at him silently for a long moment, and then bent his head and let out a long, faint sigh. Anticipation pulled Rei's muscles taut, waiting for the moment that well-earned guilt might give him a break in Akai's hold or attention. "It wasn't on his own, no," Akai said, very quietly, and rage cranked Rei's whole body a notch tighter, teeth grinding hard on that admission. When Akai lifted his head, though, it wasn't guilt in the pinch of his brows or the sudden softness of his mouth. Only... what? Sadness, yes, but also something else.

"You see so clearly, most times," Akai said, very softly, almost a whisper between them. "Remember what you saw, Furuya-kun. He didn't do it on his own. Think about what he would have seen and heard, up on that roof. Already sure that the Organization would be coming for him, what did he hear right before he shot?"

Rei stared up at him, mind turning the thought over and poking at it automatically. Did Akai mean there was something he'd said to Hiro just then? Or was he trying to palm this off on something else, a phone call, or another member approaching, or...

Rei's breath froze in his lungs. Another member approaching.

Footsteps, fast and intent, rattling up the metal steps of the fire-escape stair. Rei's memory played them back as if it were just yesterday.

"No," Rei whispered, eyes wide and blind with the image building itself inexorably in his mind.

Hiro had heard footsteps approaching and thought it was another member. He'd heard Rei's footsteps.

And then he'd pulled the trigger.

"No!" It ripped out of his throat on a scream, furious and helpless and pained (it had been him) but the sound was muffled in his ears. It took a moment for Rei to realize there was a hand cupped around his head, pulling him down against the worn leather of a jacketed shoulder. It took longer to realize that the hard clatter he'd heard was his own gun, fallen from his hand. The realization was like a fist in his stomach—it had been him. He hadn't thought anyone could have found Hiro before him, had counted on his friend's steadiness, even under the worst pressure, to make Hiro wait and see who was coming, never thinking that someone else might have gotten there first, that Hiro might already be on a hair-trigger.

He hadn't thought. Hadn't looked ahead. Hadn't seen what was right in front of him, that night.

Hiro had died because of him.

Rei barely felt the rough tar-paper under his knees as he collapsed, didn't think about whose hands caught him or whose jacket was muffling the sobs tearing out of his chest. That one damning thought echoed through his mind and pushed out everything else, until all he could do was howl with the pain of it.

But there was nothing that grief could change—that was why it was grief and not rage, even though he'd tried so hard to make it stay rage, to imagine that vengeance would change something, if only in his own heart. Eventually even nearly four years worth of tears ran dry, because there was nothing else to do. That was when the realization finally made its way to the surface of Rei's thoughts that Akai was kneeling on the roof with him, and the hand resting on his head was Akai's, and so was the shoulder his face was buried in.

The very wet shoulder.

As soon as he stirred, the hand dropped to his arm, helping him upright as he pushed away. Rei didn't look up as Akai stood, just scrubbed his sleeve over his aching eyes; how were you supposed to talk to the man you'd just cried all over, who you'd been trying very hard to kill right up until that moment? 

Two hands appeared in front of him. "Up," Akai said.

Rei did look up at that, startled.

"Come on, up," Akai repeated, and flicked his fingers, beckoning. "We can't stay here."

That was good enough sense that Rei mustered the coordination to take Akai's hands and haul himself upright, biting back a curse as he almost fell and Akai had to catch him again. "What do you mean 'we'?" he jabbed, half-heartedly, voice rough and hoarse.

The look Akai gave him made him feel like a rookie again, and the heat in his face made his raw cheeks burn. "You shouldn't be somewhere the Organization knows about, right now. So you're coming with me."

"They know about Kudou's house," Rei protested, even as he stumbled toward the fire stairs after Akai.

"Which is why we're going somewhere else." 

Rei sighed and climbed onto the stairs after Akai, wondering if he was this annoying himself, when he was keeping some tentative conclusion behind his teeth. It was hard to hold on to the thought, though, or to noticing the way Akai stayed poised just a few steps below him, as if he thought he might have to catch Rei yet again. By the time they reached Akai's car, he'd completely lost track of why he should refuse, and climbed into the passenger seat silently.

He didn't keep good track of the passing streets outside the dark windows. The disorientation seemed of one piece with the fragments of thought that spun through his head, bits of memory and shards of future plans swirling together. Hiro's quiet laugh. The glint in Conan's eye when they found that sniper's name. The number he'd meant to call in a tip to, when the man's location was nailed down. The lyrics of the first song he and Hiro had ever written. The name of the garage he'd left his own car in. None of his thoughts connected to one another. When they finally stopped, and Akai's hand under his elbow guided him up some stairs and over to a low bed, he was glad to let those fragments go, to let himself sink down onto the worn blanket and down into the dark as his eyes fell shut.

The last thing he heard was a faint creak of floorboards as Akai sat beside the bed.


Shuuichi was just finishing a message to Conan, agreeing that yes, it would be wise to take some of the Metropolitan police along to the next stop he hoped to find the sniper at, since "Subaru-san" was delayed and Gin might be present, when he heard Furuya stir. He closed his phone and slid back from the little apartment's low table just a bit, in case it took Furuya a minute to remember why he might not want to kill Shuuichi any more.

When Furuya's eyes opened, though, they were dark with knowledge and memory, and he pushed himself upright on the bed slowly, as though his whole body ached. Shuuichi silently passed him the tumblr of water waiting on the table, and Furuya took it with a tiny nod. It wasn't until he'd drained it that he even looked around, and Shuuichi noted that he'd won his bet with himself. Furuya was still in shock. 

Not completely out of it though, because his first question, voice still hoarse despite the water, was, "Where are we?"

"One of my bolt-holes, just over the district border in Edogawa."

As he'd half hoped, though after a longer pause than he liked, a faint smile tugged at Furuya's mouth. "Edogawa?" 

Shuuichi let his own amusement warm his voice. "It seemed appropriate."

"And you brought me here." Furuya stared at him for a long moment, and finally gestured with an open hand, as it to take in the whole past day. Or possibly the past year. "Why?"

Shuuichi had known that question had to be coming, but he still sighed a little as he leaned his elbows on the table. "Because I've lost someone I loved to them, too." 

Furuya blinked at him. "You really loved her, then? Akemi-san?"

And that was why Shuuichi hadn't really wanted to say it, but Furuya was already wincing at the clumsiness of his own words and Shuuichi couldn't hold them against him right now. He has his own share of responsibility for Scotch's death, and for the shape Furuya was currently in. "I did, yes," he said over the beginning of Furuya's apology. "It was probably unwise, with someone who was only supposed to be a way to get deeper into the Organization, but this job is easy enough to die in as it is. Anything that reminds us we're alive is worth some risk." The memory of Akemi's smile flashed through his head, and he pushed himself abruptly to his feet, gathering up his glass and Furuya's to refill at the sink. When he thought he could keep his voice steady again, he finished, "Even if it ends."

Furuya had his head down when Shuuichi turned around, leaning over with his elbows on his knees, hands hanging loose between them. Shuuichi recognized the shape of it, the braced position that you hoped would hold you steady through something shaking your heart so hard you thought it might stop beating. He'd spent weeks, after Akemi's death, sitting like that. He set the glasses on the table and sat beside Furuya on the bed. Jodie had spent more than one day sitting beside him like this, just being another living person close enough to hear her breathe, and it had helped.

"Morofushi Hiromitsu," Furuya said, voice low, not lifting his head. "That was his name. We grew up together. After the Academy, when we both chose Public Security, the Tokyo bureau for him and National for me... It was natural to assign him as my liaison, and we did a lot of fieldwork together." Furuya lifted a hand to rub his forehead, shoulders hunching a little tighter. "I was the one who took the assignment to infiltrate the Black Organization. Once I was inside, I asked to bring Hiro in after me." Furuya's hand banged down on his knee, and his voice turned stifled. "And then, up on that roof... It was my fault...!"

Shuuichi straightened, eyes narrowing at the tight-wound strain in Furuya's voice. He'd said something similar, once, on the phone with his mother right after hearing about Akemi's death. She'd nearly reached through the phone to shake him by the scruff, and maybe now he knew why, if he'd sounded anything like this. "It was hardly your fault alone."

Furuya laughed, ragged. "You were the one who told me to think about what he heard right before he pulled the trigger."

Shuuichi frowned; yes, that was more than enough of that. He reached over to take Furuya's chin and force his head up again. "Three people made choices, that night, Furuya-kun," he told those startled blue eyes, "and we all made mistakes. I shouldn't have let go of the gun. You shouldn't have charged in without warning or scouting the situation. He shouldn't have been so quick to assume the worst and fire before even seeing who it was." Furuya started to shake his head, and Shuuichi tightened his grip. "I'm glad you don't think I drove him to his death, any more, but that doesn't mean you should take all of that guilt and pile it on yourself instead."

"I don't... I'm not..." Furuya's voice was softer now, much less certain, and trailed off completely at the look Shuuichi gave him. "All right," he finally said, face a little red, eyes falling away from Shuuichi's.

"Better." Shuuichi started to let go, but his attention was still snagging on something about Furuya's expression. It wasn't that dangerous bleakness, any more. In fact, now he was thinking about it, that flush looked less like embarrassment and more like... something else. Especially with the way Furuya's lips had parted when Shuuichi had grabbed his chin. That had been startlement, yes, but also...

Well, now. Wasn't that interesting?


Rei was in so much trouble.

He watched Akai's eyes flick over his cheeks, his mouth, his throat as he swallowed, and he could nearly read the words of the conclusion forming behind that look.

So, so much trouble.

And the thing was, Rei knew this about himself. He was careful about it! He hadn't had many senpai worth the name in his life; the ones who hadn't turned away from the halfblood had been scared off by his intelligence, the things he saw, his passion for the chase. So when an older student or agent had stepped up, once or twice, to try to guide him... well, Rei responded pretty intensely. He watched that, in the field, to make sure his little quirk wouldn't get him into trouble! And now he'd been blindsided by a stern talking-to from Akai Shuuichi of all people, whose brows were lifting just a little, whose thumb was sliding up to stroke gently over Rei's lower lip. Rei pulled in a quick gasp of breath, stumbling over just the man's name. "Akai... -san?"

"I wouldn't mind," Akai murmured, fingers still curled around Rei's chin. "As long as you're sure."

"I... it wouldn't be..." Smart, or sensible, or other reasonable things that he couldn't quite think of with the warmth of Akai's fingers against his skin. It had been so long since anyone had really touched him. And Akai... Akai was waiting for him calmly, eyes steady on his.

Anything that reminds us we're alive is worth some risk.

The words echoed back to him, and they rang so true. So painfully true he had to squeeze his eyes shut against it and try to breathe through it. They'd both risked love and lost it to the Black Organization. Rei understood very well some of the fire that drove Akai, and of all the people he might call on in this moment, of all his allies, old and new, permanent and temporary, Akai Shuuichi was the one who knew right down to the bone how this was driving Rei.

And god but he had to find someone to confide in, to reach out to, before Vermouth started looking like a good option!

He opened his eyes again, calm settling over his spinning thoughts, the familiar certainty of having found the right answer, and answered quietly, "I'm sure."

Akai nodded, unsurprised. "Come here, then." His fingers tipped Rei's chin up as he leaned in, and Rei really couldn't help the way his breath caught. In the back of his mind, he was expecting a kiss between the two of them to be fierce, to be heated with the memory of how they'd stalked each other through this city. It wasn't, though. Akai's mouth on his was warm and slow, and Rei closed his eyes, leaning into the understanding that warmth told him of, more clearly than any words. Akai slid back to stretch out full-length on the bed, tugging Rei down against him. The steady slide of his hands up and down Rei's back eased away Rei's hesitance until he settled against the length of Akai's body and tucked his head into the curve of Akai's shoulder. "That's better," Akai murmured to him, and Rei felt his face heat again. He was never going to be able to listen to that husky voice turn low again without getting turned on, was he?

For as long as they both survived, anyway.

The thought made his fingers wind tighter in the dark cotton of Akai's shirt, and the corner of Akai's mouth quirked like he'd heard the words out loud. He slid his hand up to curl around the nape of Rei's neck. "Easy, Rei. I've got you." 

The intimacy of his bare given name tugged a breathless sound out of Rei, sent him pressing closer. "Akai-san..."

Akai turned his head and pressed a kiss to Rei's forehead. "Shhh. I'm not going anywhere." His lips curved against Rei's skin. "You should know that better than anyone."

It wasn't desire that made Rei's face heat, this time, and he growled a little, thumping Akai on the shoulder when he laughed.

"Easy, easy!" Akai gathered Rei closer and Rei let him, though not without one last glare. Akai smiled down at him, wry and warm. "We've both beaten the odds for years. We know how to keep doing it." He hesitated for a breath, but finally finished, "We will keep doing it; even after we're finished. Deal?"

Rei froze, eyes widening. For one moment it was Hiro's face he saw, and the private smile they'd shared over agreements. No one else had ever had seen Rei clearly enough to put their finger on the risk that he'd spend his life to finish the last job they'd taken together. And maybe no one else had for Akai, yet, either. Rei swallowed hard and pressed close, ducking his head back down against Akai's shoulder, suddenly ashamed that he hadn't let himself see how alike the shape of their actions were, since the business with Miyano. It had been less than a year ago, hadn't it? And even still raw from that, Akai hadn't lashed back at the man trying to expose and kill him, had understood, had been amazingly gentle about fending him off, all things considered. Akai didn't press him now, either, just waited again, fingers sliding slowly through Rei's hair.

"All right. It's a deal," he finally agreed, and added more fiercely, "You'd better keep it."

Akai's arms tightened around him. "I will. After all," his voice lightened again, "I've found a number of things around here that make me think it might not be such a bad thing to keep going on."

"Myself, and Conan, and what else?" Rei asked with a sly glance up at him.

Akai's open laugh warmed him like another kiss and Rei pressed closer, holding tight to that warmth.

Two

Rei had thought it would take longer to get used to working with Akai Shuuichi, instead of against him at every opportunity. The handful of jobs they'd both been sent on, when they were both still in the Organization, had been tense and edgy even before Hiro's death, neither of them sure of the other, neither of them trusting the other with his back. Rei had thought, after three solid years of enmity, that working together would still be rough.

But it wasn't.

Three nights ago they'd sat on the roof across from the cafe and the Mouris, talking about a hacking attempt on the agency's records, plus both Ran and Conan's school records. They'd throw the thread of reasoning back and forth as smoothly as a shuttle to weave the profile of the hacker, until their eyes had met and neither of them had even needed to speak Bellini's code name out loud. Rei hadn't been too very surprised by the shared reasoning, after the number of Conan's cases they'd met over. But now...

Now he barely needed to glance at his watch to know that Akai was in position, and it was just in time, just as Bellini was about to break through Rei's defense to Agasa's records. Rei was folding his tablet as the network icon blinked off, and he smiled, imagining the way Bellini was probably swearing. He stood, dusting off his jeans, and slipped in the fire-door without bothering to glance across the street at the next roof. The crack of quite a high-caliber handgun didn't make him start; he was expecting it. It did start the timer in his head, and he waited as seconds ticked away, as the door four floors down slammed open and hurried steps started upward, waited until he knew Akai had crossed the street to start down the stairs, letting his heels ring against the concrete. 

"That complex has bulletproof glass on the windows," he'd said, three nights ago.

"But only Level 3, at that age," Akai pointed out, eyes gleaming in the nighttime lights of the city. "She wouldn't have thought more was necessary. After all—"

"Gin prefers handguns," Rei finished. "Especially his 92. If you're going to make it across the road inconspicuously, to catch her at the bottom, though, you'll need—"

"Who do you think you're talking to again?" Akai asked with a smirk. "I can handle a .50."

Rei excused himself for not knowing that, honestly. Akai had never shown just how much ability he had as a sharp-shooter, in the Organization. Understandably. To do so would have sent him straight to the snipers, and the Organization liked snipers who didn't ask questions, which meant they had a lot of crazy ones with little intelligence value. Of course, Gin didn't like anyone who asked questions, which undoubtedly led to both Bellini's precautions in her living space and the panic behind her hurried footsteps after getting one of her bulletproof windows shot out.

The footsteps below hesitated. Rei took another heavy, measured step and smiled as Bellini reversed and made for the ground floor, clattering downwards and slamming out the back fire-door.

Right into Akai.

By the time Rei reached the ground himself, Akai had just finished zip-tying the unconscious woman's hands and ankles. He looked up, smile sharp, already reaching out a gloved hand. Rei bared his teeth in answer and handed over the printed note with Bellini's code name and affiliation, to tuck into her waistband. And, right on time, there were the sirens of the police who would have been called by someone after the gunshot earlier. Rei sprinted after Akai down the back alley.

Around two corners, over a wall with two running steps and a vault that they made in perfect unison, slowly down a well-lit block like two friends out for a drink, quickly down another side-street, and they were safe in an alley with no connection to the first. Rei leaned back against the wall, laughing softly as the rush of triumph swept through him. Akai leaned beside him, breathing just as quick as he was, with a light in his eyes that made Rei think of the gleam on the edge of a sword. Rei knew that light, could feel it burning hot in his veins, and it was that feeling, that knowing, that made him reach out, slide his hands over Akai's shoulders, curl his fingers in the collar of Akai's jacket, and pull him down for a kiss. The way Akai's hands wrapped around his hips and pulled him closer told him that Akai recognized the same thing in him, and he laughed into Akai's mouth, hooking a leg around Akai's and grinding up against him.

Yes, Akai was definitely feeling the same thing Rei was.

"Akai-san?" he purred, sliding his hands down over Akai's chest. He could feel the vibration of Akai's silent chuckle.

"Yes?"

Rei smiled up at him, hot and wild. "Fuck me. Now."

Akai surged a step forward, bearing Rei back against the wall of the alley, brick prickling along his shoulders. His voice was low and cool, though, and the contrast stroked a shiver up Rei's spine. "Are you sure? I don't have anything on me..."

Rei snorted. "What kind of an agent are you? Isn't 'always prepared' the motto of one or another of you lot?"

"I believe that's the Boy Scouts." Akai's voice was perfectly sober, at least until Rei fished a foil packet out of his jacket's inner pocked and slapped it against Akai's chest. He was laughing as he caught Rei's mouth again.

Rei only waited until Akai took the packet before he reached down to undo both their pants, reaching into Akai's to stroke slow fingers down the already-hard length of him. Akai groaned, husky, against his ear. "Rei." 

The sound of that smoky voice wrapped around his bare name slid through Rei, hot, and he hooked his thumbs into his own pants, pushing them down off his hips. "Akai-san, now."

In three quick movements, Akai had the packet ripped open, a handful of slick stroked over his cock, and was sliding his hands under Rei's thighs to lift him. Rei approved completely, and wound his legs around Akai's waist, deliberately relaxing into his hands as soon as Akai's weight pushed him up against the bricks. Akai made an approving sound of his own, and finally Rei felt the blunt press of Akai's cock against his entrance, pushing into him hard and slow and steady. The fierce stretch of his muscles matched the edge this whole night had had in his senses, and Rei moaned, low and breathless, feeling his body open up for that that burn and slide. "Yes."

"Ah." Akai's sound of understanding was huskier than usual, but when he pressed a kiss under Rei's ear, his lips were curved against Rei's skin. That was all right, though, because he also lifted Rei up a little higher and drove into him hard, which felt just perfect.

Akai fucked him deep and sure, every stroke sinking in and driving him up against the rough brick, and the flood of hot sensation shook loose all the tension of the night and the days running up to it. It was sweet and wild in a way Rei hadn't felt in years, and it shouldn't have surprised him that he didn't last long, but the crest of pleasure still came as a shock. His voice echoed off the close walls as heat burst down his nerves and wrung him out around the hardness of Akai's cock inside him, and oh it had been too long since he'd had someone close enough to trust with these moments. Akai's groan, against his ear, told him Akai was still right with him, and it felt so good to know that that he was breathless with it.

When they'd both stilled, they just stayed there for a moment, and Rei let the settling calm sink into him. Finally, though, Akai shifted back and eased Rei down to the ground. Rei winced a little as his muscles protested their rather abrupt workout; it had been worth it, though. 

"Better?" Akai asked quietly, and Rei couldn't help his chuckle.

"Much." He slid his hands over Akai's shoulders, thoughtfully. They did seem a bit lower. "And you?"

Akai's smile was crooked in the shadows of the alley. "Not one of my usual coping methods, but I think I like it." And then he pulled a packet of tissues out of his jacket pocket and handed them over. "A bit messy, but very effective."

It took a moment before Rei could stop laughing and clean up. He really should have known Akai would have exactly this sly sense of humor, after the go-around with the ambush at the Kudou house. At the time, he'd just been too blazingly furious to really consider it.

He'd certainly never expected Akai to be openly protective, and he rolled his eyes a little as they moved toward the lights at the mouth of the alley and Akai's hand settled at the small of his back. "Akai-san..."

"You know, after this evening, I think you can probably call me Shuuichi. Don't you?"

Rei paused with a startled glance up at him. This certainly wasn't the first time they'd had sex.

That wasn't what Akai had said, though, was it?

The glittering clarity of their work that evening came back to him for a breath, and he remembered the weight of it in his mind, like his gun in his hand, of knowing where Akai was at every step of the way. A tiny shock ran through him with the thought that Akai... that Shuuichi might have felt the same thing. Rei swallowed and took a breath, feeling like all his attention was taken up by the warmth of the hand at his back. His voice was husky when he said, "Shuuichi-san."

Shuuichi smiled, eyes warm for him. "Better."

Out of everything that had happened, that night, that was the thing that made Rei's face heat, but he didn't shrug off the hand at the small of his back as Shuuichi guided him out of the alley.

Three

At the sound of five long strokes1 rapped on the back door, Shuuichi marked his place in the book he was reading and switched off his voice-changer. They were rapped considerably harder than was really necessary, so he was expecting it when Rei stalked into the living room glaring fit to set something on fire. He'd been expecting that even before Rei tried to leave dents in the door with his code knock, to be honest. "Long day?" he asked, mildly, crossing his ankles and leaning back against the arm of the couch.

"Kir is an absolute madwoman," Rei snapped, immediately starting to pace the room. "How she's lived this long, I don't know. She's taking ridiculous risks to eavesdrop on Vermouth, of all people, and remind me again why I should be risking my neck for a foreign operative?"

"You diverted Vermouth for her," Shuuichi translated, and cocked his head at the blistering glare Rei gave him. If he was that annoyed... "You mentioned Conan to do it, hm?"

Rei growled and paced another length of the room. "It's just about the only thing that's sure to turn her aside. The woman is obsessed! And if I can get her interfering with Rum, all the better."

Shuuichi felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Rei was very good at what he did, and used that expressiveness of his to create just as impenetrable a mask as Shuuichi's own calm. But he never showed anger, as part of that. Anger was too revealing, for both of them. Rei would smile charmingly while he pulled the trigger. 

He never showed open temper to anyone but Shuuichi, and the intimacy of that always settled warmth into places that had been cold for years and frozen hard for months. 

On Rei's next pass by the couch, he reached out to catch Rei's wrist, returning Rei's irritated look with a calm, "Come here." He tugged until Rei huffed and let himself be pulled down to the couch to stretch out with Shuuichi. "Vermouth won't do anything to hurt Conan," he said quietly, running his fingers through the fine texture of Rei's hair.

"I know that, that's why I did it." Rei still sounded snappish, but Shuuichi could feel the subtle tension in Rei's body easing. Sometimes, he knew very well, even they needed to hear a conclusion echoed by someone else. Who knew if he'd have been able to carry through the plan that had landed him on this very couch as Okiya Subaru without Kudou's fierce (if pint-sized) agreement and backing?

And if he hadn't landed here, who knew if he'd have ever come so close to Rei, again, that he'd need to force the issue of what happened on the roof the night Morofushi had died? Thinking of that, he settled Rei closer against him. Rei promptly undid his effort by leaning up on an elbow to examine him, but softened against him almost immediately, settling close again. "I thought I was the one getting wound up, today," Rei murmured against his shoulder.

"You are," Shuuichi told him, and chuckled silently when Rei thumped him on the other shoulder. "It was just a passing thought."

It wasn't really a surprise when Rei said, quietly, "I'm not going anywhere." They knew each other's minds so well, after years of sparring in the shadows. He gathered Rei closer and pressed a kiss to his temple.

"I know."

The entire length of Rei's body unwound against him, at the quiet certainty in Shuuichi's voice, and Shuuichi smiled against his hair, settling back against the couch cushions.

They knew each other's minds and responses so very well.

Four

"You're just incapable of not looking alarming, aren't you?" Rei smirked at the raised brow Shuuichi gave him. 

He was teasing, but at the moment it was also true. In the middle of a club full of people dancing, drinking, laughing, shouting, Shuuichi was a silent, watching shadow. Plenty of people in here wore black, but Shuuichi wore it with a definite air of being working clothes rather than play clothes. That and an unsmiling expression seemed to be keeping everyone but Rei at arm's length, despite the crush.

"Stop worrying about me," Shuuichi told him, putting his finger directly on why Rei was teasing, of course, which made Rei's smile turn sharper. "I don't dislike being here."

Rei flicked a glance up and down Shuuichi's body, noting the way his weight was on his heels, and completed the sentence for him. "You just don't dance."

Now it was Shuuichi's mouth that curved, sharp and pleased. "Mm." He plucked the drink from Rei's hand and set it down beside his own, supplying an iron-clad reason, for any watchers, why he was staying at the table. "Go have fun."

Rei laughed out loud and turned for the dance floor. He loved the electric flow of thought and perception between them; there was nothing quite as much fun as that. He had come to dance, though, and that would be fun too. He was kind of overdue, actually.

This was one of the reasons he'd lasted as long as he had in his current cover, after all. He was careful. Not just the way all agents were taught to be careful—with what they said and where they went and who they saw. But also careful to make room in every cover for something that the core of him loved. For music in some form. For crowds and sound and moving to a beat. For food he could make with his own hands. He might have gone out as Furuya Rei, tonight, but Amuro Tohru was also with him, and there was a wild laugh in the back of his head whenever Amuro remembered he was out with Akai Shuuichi at his side.

It was a good night to dance.

Aside from an absence of Organization interest, Rei had broad standards for acceptable clubs. This one had generally cheerful crowds, mostly palatable drinks, and actually quite a good DJ, so it he was marking it a success. It also had the usual share of cheerful groping out in the surge of moving bodies, but nothing he'd have to break anyone's fingers for yet, so he shook his head, laughing, at the most persistent young woman and gave himself up to the rhythm driving out of the tall speakers. It resonated in his chest, drove the sway of his hips and opened up the swing of his arms until he felt like he was breathing all the way down in his lungs again.

He was drenched by the time he finally decided it was time for a drink and pushed his way back off the floor to the table Shuuichi was still holding down. He was entertained to see that, despite the crowd, no one was even looking suggestively at the empty stools on the far side of it. He broke out of the crowd and fetched up beside Shuuichi, catching up his now-acceptably-watery drink and finishing it in three long swallows. "Thanks for watching it," he teased, smirking up at Shuuichi, knowing that it was the people Shuuichi had undoubtedly spent most of his time watching.

"Mm, it's an excellent evening for watching things, yes." Rei saw the gleam in his eyes, but was still startled when Shuuichi reached out, set his hand against Rei's back, and pulled him in close, so firmly Rei stumbled against him, hands spread against Shuuichi's chest to catch himself.

"What...?" he started, laughing, only to lose it on a gasp as Shuuichi set a knuckle under his chin and tipped it up. "Shuuichi-san?" he asked, considerably more breathless than a moment ago.

"I noticed quite a few people getting pretty familiar with you, out there." The gleam was definitely wicked amusement, Rei noted, despite considerable distraction. "Since you brought a scary-looking companion along, you might as well get the full benefit out of it." 

Rei had just connected the dots when Shuuichi tipped his chin up a little further and kissed him, deep and slow and thorough, and Rei's inarticulate sound of maybe-protest-maybe-not slid into a breathless moan. His thoughts tangled between mischievous glee and a little honest shock at being so public. His senses overrode all of it for a long moment, though, with the lean, warm line of Shuuichi's body against his, the slide of Shuuichi's fingers into his hair to cradle his head, the heat of Shuuichi's mouth and the wet stroke of his tongue against Rei's. When Shuuichi finally drew back, smiling down at him, still with that wicked quirk at the corner of his mouth, it took Rei a second to pull words together. It came out a little husky when he said, "That wasn't necessary."

"Probably not, but it was fun." 

Rei couldn't help laughing at that deadpan delivery. "And is that why you still haven't let go, yet?" Which was making sure the flush of heat over his skin didn't go away; he could feel the eyes on them, from the surrounding tables and possibly even from the dance floor, watching how close Shuuichi was holding him.

It hadn't taken him long at all to realize that Akai Shuuichi liked to tease, if he thought you could take it.

"That too, certainly." Shuuichi's hand against his back spread wider, thumb sliding under the edge of Rei's shirt to stroke against bare skin, and the sensation pushed Rei up onto his toes against Shuuichi's body. "But I was also serious, Rei. If you don't enjoy something, there's no reason to tolerate it. Not here. Not right now."

Rei closed his eyes and let out a shaky breath. He knew that Shuuichi had seen the hunger, in him, for a guiding voice. Shuuichi teased him about it enough, after all. But that was just it; Shuuichi teased him, let it be an inside joke between them. Except that, every now and then, he turned it real, and those moments shook Rei. "I wont, then," he agreed, softly. 

Pressed up this close, he could feel Shuuichi's silent laugh. "Not now you won't, no."

Rei reflected on the likely effect of having a tall, dark, dangerous looking boyfriend standing on the sidelines watching over him, after a display of apparent possessiveness like this, and had to laugh out loud. He pushed back, hands against Shuuichi's chest, teeth bared in the flashing lights of the club. "I'd better go take advantage of it, then, shouldn't I?"

Shuuichi let him go easily, mouth curling up at one corner. "You should, yes." 

Rei's own smile softened helplessly at that encouragement, the unspoken assurance of Shuuichi's support that ran under it. "I will, then." He would accept it. He would trust it, this alliance between them. Shuuichi nodded silently and held Rei's eyes until he spun to dive back into the crowd of dancers.

All of whom suddenly minded their hands much more carefully.

Rei stretched his arms up to the glare of spotlights above, whole body arching up on his toes, head tipped back as he laughed. Some people might think he was crazy for giving this much trust to the man he'd tried to kill for three years, but those years were exactly why he knew he could. The wonder of having an ally he would rely on lifted him up like the beat of the music, and he let it. This was a rhythm he could dance to.

It felt amazing

Five

Shuuichi pressed closer up against his lover's back and nipped at Rei's nape, lips curving at the breathless sound Rei made.

He loved Rei's contradictions. His precise reasoning and his impetuous actions. His sweet manners and his cutting ruthlessness. His fashion-conscious looks and his ability to fade out of people's attention.

His iron will and his desire to be overruled.

It had taken Shuuichi a while to be sure how deep that last one ran. He'd never really had that wish. For Shuuichi, the desire that lived deep in his heart was to have his judgement trusted by those he trusted and loved. For Rei, though, who seemed not to have had much support he could lean on for a very long time... well, he wanted some. Provided that support could prove itself to him. Given Rei himself, Shuuichi wasn't sure anyone besides Shuuichi himself would pass—an older agent who could match Rei's brilliance and skill, who knew exactly what it was to take dubious actions while fighting to keep hold of your soul. Shuuichi was possibly the only person in the country right now who Rei would trust to overrule him.

This evening, Shuuichi was finally sure enough to that trust that he was prepared to act on it, further than just teasing.

He leaned up on one elbow and tugged Rei over onto his back, smiling down at him. Rei was always lovely, but there was something more elemental about his beauty, like this, flushed and relaxed, skin nearly glowing against the white of the sheets. When he ran his fingers through Rei's hair, Rei tipped his head back, nearly purring with pleasure at the simple touch.

"Yes," Shuuichi told him, softly. "Just like that." He leaned down and closed his mouth on Rei's neck, sucking firmly enough to mark.

Rei arched up taut against him, hands closing hard on Shuuichi's shoulders. "Shuuichi-san...!" He sounded shocked, and Shuuichi wasn't surprised; they'd been careful not to mark each other anywhere that would show, until now.

"Hush, Rei," he said, quiet but firm, satisfied at the shiver that ran through Rei. Shuuichi stroked his tongue over the mark and Rei pressed against him harder, breath coming short.

"Shuuichi-san..." Rei's voice was a little uneven, now, and Shuuichi wound an arm around him, cradling him close.

"Hush, I said." When Rei did finally hush, he brushed a soft kiss over Rei's lips. "What's the point of having learned excellent disguise skills if they can't hide a love-bite or two?"

Rei was staring up at him, eyes wide at the suggestion that Shuuichi would use those skills for something like this, and it took him a moment to whisper, "Oh."

Shuuichi smiled and caught Rei's chin, feeling the pulse against his thumb speed up. "Easy, Rei. I have you." It was what he'd told Rei that very first night, and he could feel the memory easing the tension in Rei's body even as Rei's breath came faster. When Shuuichi kissed him again, deeper this time, Rei moaned softly into his mouth, and Shuuichi made a satisfied sound. "That's good."


Rei shuddered as Shuuichi's mouth moved down his throat again, heat curling low in his stomach. He'd known Shuuichi understood, but he hadn't expected him to take that understanding this far. Which had been, he was realizing, very foolish of him. Akai Shuuichi had never been a man who did things half-heartedly.

Re's heart was still beating fast from the jolt of his response to Shuuichi hushing him so firmly, and when Shuuichi's teeth closed, hard enough to mark his skin again, Rei nearly came right there and then, hips bucking up sharply against Shuuichi. The sound Shuuichi made could only be called a purr, and it stroked down Rei's spine like a finger. The wet heat of Shuuichi's mouth slid down to his chest, scattering slow kisses down his body, and Rei's eyes widened as Shuuichi's hands stroked down his thighs, caressing and sure, and spread them wide for Shuuichi to settle between them. "Shuuichi-san..."

Those sharp, green eyes flicked up to meet his, and Shuuichi smiled, a slow curl of lips that made Rei shiver. And then Shuuichi's hands closed around Rei's hips, pinning him firmly in place against the bed. Heat surged through him before Shuuichi's mouth even touched his cock, and when slick, wet heat did wrap around him, Rei lost any hope of coherent thought and groaned out loud. Shuuichi's mouth moved over him, slow and deliberate, and Shuuichi's hands held him still for it however Rei pulled against his grip as pleasure stroked down every nerve.

It felt so good. So good to be safe in hands he trusted. To know he could, for just a little while, relax and know someone else would do the worrying. That was the feeling that undid him in the end, shaking him apart in a wild burst of pleasure that Shuuichi held him steady through.

When he'd recovered enough of his scattered thoughts to put one next to another again, Shuuichi had settled beside him and gathered him up close. Rei lifted his head from Shuuichi's shoulder to look up at his lover, still a little stunned. "Shuuichi-san—" he broke off with a tiny gasp as Shuuichi pressed a finger to his lips. Even completely wrung out, that still sent heat curling through him.

"You're the one who's still under as one of the Organization, without the support you must have counted on when you first took the assignment," Shuuichi said quietly, holding Rei's eyes. "You deserve this. You deserve everything I can do for you, Rei."

Rei sucked in a hard breath, arms tightening hard around Shuuichi. He'd never had anyone actually say that to him, and he had to blink back water in his eyes with the enormity of it. "Shh," Shuuichi told him, pressing Rei's head back down to his shoulder, and Rei made a small sound of agreement, curling close.


Shuuichi cuddled Rei close, one hand sliding up and down his back, soothing him. Slowly, the faint hitch in Rei's breath evened out and the fierce tightness of his arms around Shuuichi's ribs relaxed a little. It seemed, he reflected a bit ruefully, that he was doomed to lovers who didn't say anything was wrong until they were nearly breaking. Admittedly, he knew he hadn't been much better, himself, for some time. Jodie had had enough to say on that subject that he was aware of how he'd been slipping. He just hadn't been able to stop. He'd been heading for a crash, had even started to see the shadow of the wall ahead of him.

Until a pint-sized detective had looked up at him with a gleam in his eyes, confident that they were thinking the same outrageous thing, and proposed a way to make it work.

And just like that, his life had opened up again, had filled with the Kudous, with Agasa and the children, with whole divisions of the Tokyo police. With Shiho, not dead after all, not yet beyond reach of his promise to Akemi. With Furuya Rei, the last one he'd expected to settle this deep into his heart. Shuuichi rested his cheek against Rei's hair, smiling small and crooked. One of these days, he'd have to find a way to thank the boy.

Rei stirred and lifted his head to eye Shuuichi a bit suspiciously. "You're laughing. I can feel it. What's so funny?"

Imagining Kudou's face if Shuuichi ever specified exactly what he was thanking Kudou for, Shuuichi couldn't help chuckling out loud. "Just thinking about how surprising our lives have gotten."

Rei snorted. "Of course you think that's amusing. You have the worst hobbies."

He was smiling as he snuggled close again, though, and Shuuichi's own smile softened. He didn't like a lot of how they'd gotten here, but this... this was good.

This was something he'd hold on to.

End