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Put Me Back Together

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It wasn’t until early evening the next day that they gave Fuwa the clearance to leave. Aruto offered to send someone to pick up him, but he’d declined; other people would start asking questions if the President of Hiden Intelligence kept pulling strings for the Captain of AIMS. He hadn’t had much with him when he’d arrived, so there wasn’t much to pack up, but he moved slowly, thinking over the night before.

If Yaiba was willing to play inside man, they’d have a significantly higher chance of success, but the risks were still just as high—and even then, only if they acted fast. Unfortunately, they’d already lost a day to him being hospitalised, and when they’d spoken, Aruto had mentioned being tied up with meetings after he’d been absent the day before. The info Yaiba had given him, and any planning, was going to have to wait until tomorrow.

But there was a certain advantage to that.

The HumaGear cab driver said nothing when he gave the address, but he still offered a vague excuse about checking out a place for a friend. Not that it would do much good if Amatsu were spying via the Ark, but he might be able to persuade the bastard to think they were merely considering moving Horobi to that location. Aruto had mentioned that Izu was making some very poorly concealed inquiries about other living spaces that would make good hideouts. Once he was back at the AIMS barracks more often, he could make a few great shows about trying to be more sneaky, and maybe they could convince Thouser they were trying to just lay low in the same place, or weren’t sure where to move yet. Might buy them some more time.

He gave the driver a small nod and thanks as he climbed out, though the HumaGear just blinked at him in confusion then smiled broadly before driving off as he uncomfortably rubbed the back of his neck. It felt a little weird when they didn’t properly respond, but… It didn’t feel right just leaving it, especially not now that he was…

He felt heat creeping into his cheeks at that thought, and quickly pushed it away as he entered the elevator. He probably shouldn’t even be there, it was probably too risky. He should have listened to Aruto and just gone straight home, or back to the AIMS headquarters, or… He shook his head, pressing the button and fishing out the key as the elevator started moving. No, there was no way he could have done that.

Tonight, what he needed most was to see Horobi.

He tried to push the door open as quietly as possible, slipping inside and looking around the room. Strangely… It was relieving to see that there were a few new additions that hadn’t been there before. Not many—a rainbow coloured knitted shawl with sparkly threads sewn in and tassels hanging off the edges was laid over a the back of a chair; on the seat of the chair was a very lumpy, weird looking stuff creature that he thought was meant to be a dragon but had long since lost its colours and shape; and set in the centre of the table was a small, cracked vase shaped like a weird bulb made out dark blue plastic. Little things, perhaps, but… He still felt slightly reassured that it seemed Horobi had retained one of his more… Relaxed habits.

With that thought, he quickly turned to search for the HumaGear—just in time to see Horobi looking up at him from the couch. As the HumaGear got quickly to his feet, Fuwa realised he’d been holding the crane again, depositing it gingerly on the the coffee table before starting toward him. “I…” Vulcan stammered awkwardly, suddenly feeling like he’d interrupted, “Sorry, I was-”

Horobi’s hand circled around the back of his head, dragging him forward, and then the HumaGear’s lips were on his, cutting him off. Fuwa’s bag dropped to the floor, his hands landing on Horobi’s chest as the HumaGear’s other arm wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer. Horobi was kissing with unexpected urgency and fervour, bending Vulcan’s back slightly, fingers weaving into his hair.

Eventually, Fuwa ran out of air, forcing him to push the HumaGear back gently. Horobi moved only enough to allow him to breathe, but kept holding him, pressing their foreheads together, as the human struggled to recover, panting and clinging to him for support. The HumaGear’s eyes were blazing with an overwhelming intensity that seemed to shoot through Vulcan like an electric shock. “… I thought I might have lost you.”

Fuwa stared back at him for a moment—then carefully worked his arms upward from where they were pinned between them. Being sure to make clear movements, he raised them to cup Horobi’s face gently, thumb stroking his cheek. “It’s okay.” He mumbled softly, “I’m right here. I’m fine.” The HumaGear gazed anxiously at him for another moment—then yanked him closer, hugging him tightly against him, burying his face in his shoulder. Vulcan wrapped his arms tightly around Horobi’s middle, clutching at his coat. “… You?” He felt the HumaGear stiffen against him, then shift back, pulling slowly away, turning and bowing his head so his face was out of sight. Fuwa reached out after him. “… Hiden told me.” He explained softly—and, at the very least, Horobi stopped, still facing away. “Horobi…?”

“… I…” The HumaGear’s voice was very quiet, and had the same dejected air as when Vulcan had first found him after learning about Jin, “… I… Let him…”

Fuwa pressed his palm against his back. “It wasn’t your fault.” It was a struggle to keep his voice even, “Even if he didn’t have Jin, it’s not your fault.”

There was a silence, and neither of them moved—Horobi seemed frozen, and Vulcan didn’t want to push him too far. Then, “… Isamu.”

The tremor in the HumaGear’s voice made his chest clench. “What is it?”

He felt Horobi take a deep, shaking breath through his hand. “If… I… If…” Each syllable shook, and the HumaGear’s hand flashed out to stable himself on a chair, “If… Amatsu…”

Fuwa frowned deeply, stepping around to try and peer at Horobi’s face, but the HumaGear kept looking away. “… What about him?”

“If… I… If he…” Horobi trailed off, glancing out of the corners of his eyes at the human’s face, anxious and concerned, so much kindness and concern in his eyes it was almost… Terrifying. Expectations he was suddenly afraid to let down.

Do you think Vulcan will even still want you, after I do that?


His will failed him. “… Nothing.” He stepped away from Vulcan’s hand, shambling away from the table.

Fuwa watched him go for a moment in confusion, frown deepening. This didn’t seem right. “Horobi…?”

“Never mind.” The HumaGear replied, a little more forcefully. He paused a few steps away, turning back slightly to give Vulcan a questioning look that was also heartrendingly sorrowful and… Scared. “Are you…” He began hesitantly, not meeting Fuwa’s eyes. “… Are you staying?”

Vulcan blinked. “I… I mean. I…” He bit his lip, “I meant to…?” He paused, “Do you… Not want me to?”

“No!” Horobi cried instantly, making him jump, turning and stepping back toward him quickly before faltering. “I… I mean.” His eyes dropped to the floor again. “Stay. Please.”

Fuwa stepped closer, reaching out to hold his arms gently. “Of course.”

The HumaGear was still for a moment—then he surged forward to press his lips to Vulcan’s again, and this time Fuwa felt a now-familiar tongue pressing into his mouth and responded with his own. Shifting his arms, he wrapped them around Horobi’s waist, pulling him closer as the HumaGear’s hand raised to his head, fingers in his hair once more. Again, there was something… Extra urgent about the way Horobi was kissing him, as if he were letting out some desperate longing.

Finally, though, it was the HumaGear who pulled back, laying a hand against his face and gazing into his eyes for a moment. Then he shifted to take hold of Vulcan’s sleeve, pulling him along with him when he moved. Fuwa stumbled after him in confusion—then realised Horobi was tugging him toward one of the bedroom doors. “Horobi-”

The HumaGear stopped, pulling Vulcan flush against his side and putting a finger to his lips, leaning in to meet his eyes. “Sh.” He murmured softly, waiting until Fuwa closed his mouth to move his finger, his hand falling to rest on the human’s chest, “I know what I’m doing.” A pleading edge came into his voice, and his fingers curled around Vulcan’s lapel. “I need you. I… I need…” He trailed off for a moment—then ducked his head down to give Vulcan another shorter, but equally intense kiss. Fuwa’s lips were warm and comforting, his heart thundering like always. Even just the kisses felt so much better, the memories of Amatsu’s teeth and tongue fading into the back. But the cold and the void was still there, clinging to him. “Make me forget what he did.” His voice trembled, quietly pleading. “Make me feel again.”

Fuwa stared into the HumaGear’s face, trying to read his expression. There was distress in his eyes, but it was… Different. Not like the mindless panic that had been there before. He looked… Aware. In control.

Reaching up, he curled his fingers around Horobi’s hand on his collar, giving the HumaGear a small smile that he hoped was only comforting. “Okay.”

Horobi didn’t waste a second, hauling him through the door—barely pushing it shut behind them before pressing him against the wall, lips against his again, tongue plunging back into his mouth. Fuwa kissed back eagerly, slipping his own tongue over the HumaGear’s, exploring his mouth as much as possible. For a moment, they just kissed, running hands over each other’s bodies, but as usual it wasn’t long until that didn’t feel like enough, either. Vulcan felt fingers tugging on his tie, and quickly responded by reaching for Horobi’s belts and the buckles on his shoulder. They spent the next few moments removing each other’s clothes in between more intense kisses, until Fuwa’s legs bumped the side of the bed as the HumaGear finished removing his belt, and Horobi was pushing him down onto his back the mattress. The HumaGear’s fingers moved to his pants, pulling them open and down, and Vulcan shifted his hips to help get them off faster. Horobi leaned over him, lips brushing against his throat as the HumaGear pulled his trousers and underwear completely off. Gently kicking clothes free of his ankles, Fuwa wasted no time reaching for Horobi’s waistband, searching for a moment before finding where they were tied off at the side and undoing the knot as quickly as he could, pushing the pants down. The soft, flowing fabric came away from the HumaGear’s body in such an overwhelmingly appealing way it made his head spin—or maybe just everything about Horobi was appealing to him.

He didn’t get much time to think about it, because the HumaGear’s arms were around him, pulling them both up onto the bed proper, kissing him sweetly, fingers trailing over his skin. Fuwa responded in kind, breaking the kiss briefly to moan when Horobi’s hand closed around his cock, already erect, and began stroking him purposefully. Vulcan’s head fell back, his hips rolling into the touch, one hand moving to trace the HumaGear’s spine, feeling Horobi arch into the contact.

Then the HumaGear shifted, pressing him onto his back, moving downward, and a little bit of Fuwa’s brain kicked back into gear. No. There was something else he wanted to do, especially after today. He caught Horobi’s arms, pulling him back up, making the HumaGear glance up at him in bewilderment.

“Wait.” Vulcan whispered. Setting his hands on Horobi’s shoulders, he gently pushed the HumaGear onto his back on the mattress. Horobi looked surprised and slightly confused, but also curious, and he allowed Fuwa to move him without protest. “I want to do something for you.” The HumaGear’s confusion deepened—Vulcan reached downward, brushing his fingers over Horobi’s shaft, delighting in the HumaGear’s responding shiver. He leaned into briefly press his lips to Horobi’s again, then slowly moved to his jaw and down his throat, “Raise it?” He murmured, pressing a kiss to the centre if the HumaGear’s faux collar bone. Horobi gasped softly, his head tilting back, and Fuwa felt the HumaGear’s cock move under his hand.

Curling his fingers around it, he began pumping slowly, moving to trail his lips down Horobi’s chest. He nipped experimentally at the skin, and the HumaGear’s hand flashed to his head, fingers weaving into his hair, pressing him closer. A moan echoed above him as he bit down again, sucking gently—Horobi stiffened, body arching slightly into the sensation, murmuring Fuwa’s name. Vulcan couldn’t resist a smile, taking his time on the way down, laving the HumaGear’s body with kisses, bites, and licks.

It felt… Incredible. Like nothing Horobi had ever experienced before. Amatsu had touched him, the Ark had had complete control over all his sensors, but… There was nothing like Fuwa. The hand clumsily working him, the lips moving over his skin were… Warm, real, and… Gentle. Nothing like Thouser’s demanding, possessive hands or the indifferent way the Ark would toy with his system. Made him feel so many things at once—safe and whole and alive while simultaneously…

Fuwa’s lips pressed against the inner plane of his hip, and there was the other feeling, making his body buck up into the contact with an even louder moan. A desperate, deep, longing, hungry, need for that touch that only seemed to grow more intense over time. So visceral and overwhelming that in that moment he could think of nothing more than this, staying here, letting Vulcan have his way with him or taking Fuwa apart, losing himself in the soft warmth of the human’s body, one way or another.

Then Vulcan’s hand moved away from his shaft, and he almost made a sound of displeasure, until—

The sound Horobi made when Fuwa lightly touched his lips to the side of his cock was absolutely incredible. The HumaGear’s fingers tightened in his hair, hips jolting upward, forcing Vulcan to catch them, pinning them to the mattress. Looking up, he found Horobi staring down at him with look of marvel tinged with desire, lips parted, even his emulated breathing shallow and ragged.

“It’s okay…” He promised, gently rubbing his thumb over the shape of the HumaGear’s hip and then planting another kiss there. “Let me do this?” He knew it would be something Horobi had never experienced before—so maybe it wouldn’t matter as much that it was new to him, too—and he wanted… He wanted to make the HumaGear go over the edge first tonight.

For a moment, they just stared at each other—then Horobi nodded slightly. Fuwa leaned back in, moving his lips up the HumaGear’s length once more, and was rewarded with another beautiful moan. Tentatively, he traced his tongue along the same path and felt Horobi shudder, letting out more soft whimpers, spurring him to keep going. The HumaGear’s hand slipped from his hair, dropping back onto the mattress to grip the sheets, his hips jolting and twisting as Vulcan tried to hold him down.

Before long, he had Horobi in much the same state he had been the first night, shivering and gasping at every touch. Even the smallest sound was like music to Fuwa’s ears—and every time he looked up, the HumaGear was gazing down at him with the same adoring, amazed, longing look. Fuwa steadily moved his lips to the head of Horobi’s cock, running his tongue over it, and the way the HumaGear gasped out his first name with a shudder in response went straight to his own shaft. Carefully, he began to move downward again, this time taking the HumaGear’s length steadily into his mouth, and heard his name cried out again in between mewls of pleasure. It was so hard to go slowly, when Horobi was coming apart so magnificently already, trembling and twisting under his hands, hips still trying to jump upward, but he forced himself not to move too fast, especially since he wasn’t used to it.

And yet, when he reached the base of the HumaGear’s shaft, he felt no discomfort—even though he could feel Horobi’s length brushing the back of his throat, and had never done this before. But it felt… Good, so good. Especially when he glanced up at the HumaGear again, and found him practically melting into the mattress, still trembling, though his ongoing moans had paused with Fuwa’s ministrations.

Well, that wouldn’t do.

Just when Horobi’s senses were beginning to calm down again, Vulcan started to move once more, slowly, carefully drawing back upward, and then down again. Fuwa kept going, finding out a pattern, steady and leisurely, going easy for both of their first time—but it was more than enough; every movement was another wave of overwhelming bliss washing over his systems, and… Fuck, was this what it felt like? Vulcan’s mouth was as warm and soft as everything else about him, the human’s hands gentle on his hips even as he writhed, moaned, and cried out, his body trying to buck upward—and damn the human looked so amazing like this, his curls a mess, cheeks flushed, the way his lips were… Each time Horobi looked back down at him after a particularly overbearing sensation, he found Fuwa’s eyes locked on him, gaze burning and hungry. Vulcan was so wonderfully desirable already, far more than anyone else, but this… This was different. A new side of the human he hadn’t seen before, something fiery and wild—but one he certainly longed to see more of.

Finally, those sensors couldn’t take any more stimulus. He felt it approaching, one hand flying up from clutching the sheets to scramble for Fuwa’s hair. “Is… Isamu…!” His voice broke into a whimper, his head falling back against the bed, though he struggled to lift it again because he wanted to see—“Please…!”

The word broke off into a gasping moan. It wasn’t a full overload—just some of his physical sensors overwrought by a brand new sensation, only the lights on the sides of his head lit up, and not as brightly—but it felt just as incredible. Everything still went hazy, reality swallowed for a moment by a wave of pure euphoria.


Vulcan’s voice murmuring his name somewhere above him had him fumbling for the human through the fog before his senses finished recovering. Not that it was hard to find Fuwa—the first thing he became aware of again was the warm body sprawled over his, and he had an arm wrapped around Vulcan’s shoulders before his vision finished returning. “… Your mouth…” He breathed softly, one hand sliding up to play over the human’s curls, focusing his eyes on Fuwa’s face above him—Vulcan looked vaguely concerned, but that intriguing hunger was still in his eyes, “… Is amazing…” Dragging his other arm up, he traced Fuwa’s lips with his fingertip, watching them part slightly, relaxing at his touch, Vulcan’s lids drooping.

“… You’re just saying that because no one else has ever sucked you off before…” Fuwa mumbled under his finger; his eyes fluttered back open, “Yours is better, anyway.” Horobi shook his head slightly, then moved his hand to pull Vulcan forward into another kiss. “What was that, anyway?” Fuwa asked breathlessly when he pulled away for air for a moment, “You didn’t light up as much.”

The HumaGear pressed lips over his once more for another moment before pausing again. “Partial overload,” He whispered back, “Only some of my sensors were over stimulated.”

“So you’re not done?” The needy, hopeful eagerness in Vulcan’s voice, the way the human shifted slightly to rub against him, letting Horobi feel how hard he still was, was more than enough to spur the HumaGear’s systems back into action.

He smirked, quickly rolling them over so that he was on top of Fuwa, leaning in to claim Vulcan’s lips again while reaching down to stroke the human’s cock. Fuwa moaned loudly into the kiss, hands flying up to tangle in Horobi’s hair—still carefully avoiding the damaged sections of his head, even now. Finally, the HumaGear pulled away to let Vulcan breathe, moving to run lips over his jaw. “Would I leave you like this…?” Horobi murmured, moving down to Fuwa’s throat, his other hand trailing further down to trace Vulcan’s favourite pattern across his abdomen, the one that always had him gasping and pleading for more, “No…” He nipped lightly at Fuwa’s neck, and the human made the most delightful sound in response—he pulled back, raising his head to meet Vulcan’s eyes, so full of affection and warmth and that beautiful, pure lust. “I still… I still need you.”

One of Fuwa’s lovely, rare smiles flickered across his face, and he pulled Horobi back down for another intense, passionate kiss, rolling his hips up to thrust into the HumaGear’s hand. “I’m here,” He growled, when he pulled back to breathe, “Anything.”

Horobi let out a sigh that was almost a sob, but for a different reason than he ever had before. He ducked forward again, kissing Vulcan’s throat once more, running his hand over the planes of his body, working his shaft, listening to him moan and whimper. They had plenty of time tonight. They could let the world back in in the morning. For now, he needed to forget everything but himself and the human.

His human.

Aruto pushed the door open slowly, squinting into the darkness. “Izu?” He called, turning the lights on in the office to find her nowhere in the room.

“Aruto-shachou? I’m in the lab.”

Frowning, Aruto crossed over to hit the switch to open the wall. Tentatively, he headed down the lab stairs—to find the entire floor littered with papers, files, and boxes, his secretary sitting in the middle of it with one of the binders in her lap, blinking up at him. “I… What are you doing?”

“I am reviewing the remaining pre-Daybreak records we have.” She looked at the papers scattered around her. “These are Korenosuke-shachou’s personal hardcopies.” She hesitated, “I… May have taken the liberty of accessing the Presidential records.”

Aruto made his way across the room, picking through the piles of paper. “Reviewing? For what?”

As he came up beside her, Izu faltered slightly, looking away. “… It was my intention to try and investigate what happened twelve years ago and ascertain if there was anything that escaped notice regarding…” Another hesitation, “… I want to know why no one noticed what was happening to Horobi-san.”

“… Ah.” He swallowed, hesitating for a moment—then moved a pile of papers and sat down beside her. “… What do you have so far?”

Reaching over her shoulder, she picked up a small pile of papers she had placed on the table and held it out to him. “Very little.” She explained, as he took them from her, squinting at the first page, “It seems Horobi-san was originally part of a ‘proof of concept’ project during the original development of the HumaGear system, along with your father.” She bit her lip. “They originally used the human Soreo-san’s mind as a template for AI, and then drew on what they learned from that to create Horobi-san.” A customary head tilt. “In a sense, Hiden Soreo was the prototype for Horobi-san, similar to myself and Wazu.”

Aruto stared at her. “He was… Tou-san’s…” He clutched the papers in his hands a little tighter. “… They’re… He’s… He’s Tou-san’s younger brother.” His heart was steadily sinking. “… He’s family.”

Izu watched him for a moment, gaze sympathetic—then she recollected herself into her more professional demeanour. “His programming and research abilities seem to be due to being utilised as support for the project in order to speed up development and demonstrate the effectiveness of AI support for humans.” She hesitated, frowning slightly. “… It is possible that using your father as a template resulted in him having an… ‘Inclination’ for parenthood.”

Aruto nodded slowly. “Tou-san was made to look after me… If they based Horobi on him, it would make sense for him to have those instincts.” Then his mouth twisted bitterly, “And then the Ark took advantage of that.” He sighed, scowl deepening. “Probably sounded really good after what Amatsu was doing to him.”

“Indeed.” Izu’s voice was even quieter than usual, and she didn’t look at him. “Though without a doubt the Ark did alter and influence his programming, it is likely that he did not require as much coercion as other HumaGear might have. However…” She closed her eyes for a moment, “… I do not think it was pleasant, either.” She bit her lip in an uncharacteristically emotional expression.

Aruto watched her anxiously for a second—then something occurred to him, and he looked quickly down at the page, hurriedly searching, and… Yes, there it was. “… Hiden Kazuo…” He blinked, remembering all the interactions he’d ever had with Horobi, most of them aggressive and defiant. “He doesn’t seem like a Kazuo.”

Izu’s eyes snapped back open. “That is because you first encountered him as Horobi,” She told him shortly, “So you are accustomed to thinking of him with that moniker.”

He sighed, rolling his eyes a little. “Yeah, I know, I know. Still, I don’t think I could get used to calling him ‘Kazuo’ anything.”

“It is highly likely that Horobi-san would not wish to return to using the name Korenosuke-shachou gave him.”

At the mention of his grandfather, Aruto went very quiet again, just staring at the paper for a long time. Eventually, he slowly flipped through the others, scanning them without a word. It was mostly just the same information in more detail, anyway, a great deal of technical things he still didn’t have the ability to understand; most of it seemed to be a quick compilation of the notes Korenosuke had kept during that phase of the project. None of it had anything to do with ZAIA or the Ark project, and seemed more like something kept around for a base while brainstorming, or even sentimental value. He remembered enough from Izu’s programming boot camp that there wasn’t anything that could help them remove the external program, or allow Horobi to interface with Zea again. Most of it was probably old and no longer applicable, too.

“Nothing about the Ark project?”

“… No.”

Aruto groaned loudly, a ball of frustration rising in his chest. “Why would he keep this stuff, but not that?!” He snapped, a little more angrily than he meant to, because Izu’s eyebrows shot up at his tone. “I’m sorry, Izu, I just…” His hands shaking, he scrambled to his feet and took as many steps away as the papers around them would allow, dropping his head into one hand to try and collect himself. “… I’ve spent all this time hearing about how great Jii-chan was, how kind and everything, but… But this…!” He trailed off into a small sob.

“Aruto-shachou…” Izu hesitated, letting out a small sigh. “I do not think that Korenosuke-shachou-”

Why didn’t he?!” He found himself shouting now, spinning around on his heel, tears beginning to well in his eyes, shaking the handful of papers like that help make sense of things. “Horobi is just as much his son as Tou-san was! How could he not notice?!” The yell echoed pointlessly in the empty lab.

There was a very long silence afterwards. Aruto dropped his head back into his hands as the last remnants of his outburst faded from hearing, and Izu just sat and waited, watching him. Finally, he sighed deeply, lifted his head and looking back at the crumpled papers, at the black and white, grainy copy photo printed onto the top corner of the first one. What he could make out of the HumaGear pictured there didn’t look half as bitter and angry as the one he knew. He bit his lip, the events from the previous day flashing through his mind—and he knew without question that that was just the tip of the iceberg.

At last, he sank down to sit on the floor again, folding back up, holding his head. “Small wonder he hates us so much…” He muttered darkly, “I… I don’t know how to fix this.”

Izu didn’t have an answer, either.

Fuwa wasn’t sure what time it was, and cared even less. He couldn’t remember how he had ever been comfortable resting anywhere but in Horobi’s arms, plastered against him, their legs tangled together. He was flopped on top of the HumaGear once more, his head was tucked under Horobi’s chin, cheek and ear pressed to the HumaGear’s chest, listening to the faint whirr of his base systems, one hand tracing little shapes over Horobi’s skin. One of the HumaGear’s arms was loosely wrapped around his waist, cradling him close, the other hand combing slowly through his curls. They’d bundled up under the remaining blankets after depositing the soiled ones on the floor—Horobi had elected to payback for the blowjob very enthusiastically, and Vulcan’s whole body still felt so relaxed and boneless, his mind still partially lost in a blissful haze.

But not completely. “… Horobi?”

“… Hm?” He felt the HumaGear’s lips brush the top of his head, his voice sounding as dreamy and satisfied as Fuwa felt, “What is it, Isamu?”

Like always, hearing his first name in Horobi’s voice sent a delicious thrill through him, but he tried to work through it and focus. “… Yaiba came to see me in the hospital.” He felt the HumaGear stiffen for a moment, and quickly turned his head just enough to brush his lips over the centre of the faux collarbone, rubbing Horobi’s shoulder and making soothing sounds until the HumaGear calmed down. “It’s okay, it’s okay…”

“I…” Horobi sighed softly, burying his face closer into Vulcan’s hair, “… I know.”

Fuwa shifted slightly to nuzzle into the crook of the HumaGear’s neck a little. “She…” He hesitated; if anyone would know how much someone would want to betray Amatsu, it was Horobi—but at the same time he knew how controlling the man was, and asking him to put faith in someone connected to ZAIA, especially when it came to Jin… But they didn’t have any other options. “… She said she wants to help.”

The HumaGear was quiet for a very long time. “… Do you trust her?”

Fuwa blinked—but didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

Horobi’s arms tightened, curling around him even more. “… Then so will I.”

Vulcan’s head snapped up to peer at the HumaGear’s face in surprise. “I… You will?”

The hand running through his hair trailed down to cup his cheek, thumb tracing across his cheekbone. “You… Are the only human I have trusted in over a decade…” Horobi’s other hand traced slowly up his spine, making him shiver for another reason, too, “… The only one who has never lied to me…” The hand on Vulcan’s head moved again to pull him in for another deep kiss for a long moment before pulling away and carefully locking gazes, “If you believe Valkyrie, then I will, too.” The HumaGear hesitated for a moment, biting his lip slightly, “I… I want to try…” He tailed off.

Fuwa smiled softly, then leaned in to press a kiss to Horobi’s cheek. “It’s okay.” He murmured again, “I promise, I will do everything I can to get you two back together.” Pulling back, he readjusted to make himself comfortable again, “Just rest for now, okay?”

Horobi nodded faintly, and wrapped his arms back around Vulcan when Fuwa nestled back down into his chest, closing his eyes. It wasn’t long before his systems faded into the steady rhythm of sleep mode, with Vulcan’s consciousness following soon after. For the time being, everything was quiet, though the peace carried with it the heavy air a of calm just before a violent storm.

Candle flames filled the room with a warm, dancing glow that played over the walls in waves, the fading blaze in the hearth still casting a semicircle of rippling light across the floor; the firelight made the different angles of the room cast fluttering, complex shadows over the other surfaces, making the whole space seem infinite and incomprehensible. That was why he had favoured the design in the first place, simple and stark, yet at the same time grand and impressive. Above all, a sense of power was paramount, one that’s tone could change with the simplest of changes, like lighting.

It also made the HumaGear in his bed appear to be glowing, his hair shimmering like gold, the orange shine illuminating his skin in an indescribably beautiful way. He was laid out like a reclining angel on the large mattress, the sheets tangled so elegantly around him, covering just enough to inspire an overwhelming urge to pull them away completely and expose everything. Each time the HumaGear shifted, as if in sleep, the cloth slipped or tightened—baring more tempting, radiant skin, or teasing the outline of what was beneath it. His head was tilted back, making the light bounce off a metallic, golden, leather collar fixed around his throat, secured by a small, engraved buckle; attached was a long, gold chain that glittered in the uneven light as it snaked in loops across the pale sheets, the other end locked tightly to the headboard. His eyes were mostly closed, the lights on the sides of his head pulsing slowly, at half the tempo of the flicker of the flames, those lovely lips parted just right, waiting.

He moved slowly forward, relishing the chance to take his time with each step. At last he reached the edge of the bed, pausing there for a moment to examine the sight before him, gaze sweeping over his prize hungrily. The HumaGear’s eyes opened just as slowly, widening slightly when he saw the man standing above him, that gorgeous, delicious fright rising in them. He started a little, the golden chain jingling as he moved, which only made the sheets shift even more enticingly—but didn’t try to pull away or flee, and the fear was tinged with resignation and acceptance.

He was so impossibly beautiful. Perfect. This was truly what he was meant to be.

With the same luxuriating slowness, he reached out a hand and trailed his fingertips up the HumaGear’s leg from his knee, watching him tremble. The skin was as smooth and delicate under his touch as he remembered as his hand continued to crawl upward, moving further in until it was his whole palm inching up the HumaGear’s inner thigh. Leaning forward, his other fingers brushed down the android’s jaw, tracing the shape of him lips before leaning in further to kiss them lightly, just for a moment; but that was all it took for the HumaGear to fall weakly back against the mattress in submission, that resigned, apprehensive gaze still fixed on him. The hand at the android’s jaw moved down, feeling across the planes of his chest, pausing to rub circles at the sensitive spot at the centre of his faux collar bone, smirking when he forced out a soft moan. Shifting forward even more to sit on the edge of the bed, his lower hand at last made it up to gently grip the edge of the sheets that were sweeping over the HumaGear’s hip and covering between his legs and pull it carefully back. Soon he was setting about steadily untangling the HumaGear from the cloth so that he could reach everywhere. He took his time, watching the android shake under his touch, those luminous eyes still wide and terrified—the HumaGear was putty in his hands, even shifting slightly to make things easier for him.

Finally, he had the android’s body free. Climbing onto the mattress properly, he reached down and lightly pushed the HumaGear’s legs open so that he could move between them, before setting about slowly removing his sleep pants, keeping his eyes on the android, so magnificently vulnerable, perfectly his, without a single shred of defiance. In moments, he had his lower garment removed and cast aside—this was too momentous an occasion to worry about creasing—and reached for the HumaGear again, feeling out the centre of his legs, smirking when then android stiffened and gasped. It didn’t take him long to find what he sought—after all, he had carefully selected its location himself—and he prodded at it, prompting a particularly lovely whimper. One finger slipped inside to test and the HumaGear shuddered, whimpering again, sounding even more like he was about to start crying, a reaction that continued as the finger felt around a bit. Satisfied that everything was as he wanted it, he withdrew the finger and moved forward, lining himself up, setting his palms on the HumaGear’s thighs to hold them open. He made sure to take his time again, seeking out the perfect angle, loving the mounting alarum he could see on the android’s face—until he couldn’t resist any longer. His hips snapped sharply forward, plunging deep into—

Amatsu woke himself with a loud moan, jolting up in bed. He sat up slowly, rubbing his forehead and combing his fingers through his hair, trying to regain his bearings. As his head began to clear, he came to realise that his bedclothes were a mess of wet stickiness, clinging to his body. It seemed his imagination and anticipation had gone into a bit of overdrive, to the point of effecting his dreams.

With great care, he peeled the effected sheets and blankets off, climbing out of bed to examine the damage. He was going to need to clean himself off and ensure that the laundry was done in the morning—and be much more proactive about getting Horobi back in his possession, even if it was just to avoid bothers like this. Hurriedly, he headed for his ensuite, concluding to head for ZAIA Japan headquarters when he was done to make some preparations.

Horobi would come for Jin, that much was certain; not only was it obvious from the data, but the Ark herself had no doubt about it. He just had to make sure things were set when his sweet scorpion finally did show himself. He was already planning before he reached the bathroom door.

This time, Hiden and that mangy mutt weren’t going to be making off with what belonged to him.