Actions

Work Header

Floating in Between, Where Our Worlds Collide

Chapter Text


"Takaba, come here. We need to talk."

Oh shit.

"Last name basis today, is it? What did I do now? I've been layin' pretty low lately. Oh, but you already know that don't you?" Rolling his eyes, Takaba doesn't bother pressuring too much his latter words with the weight of emphasis. Even if his point is more than valid, the opposite party is Asami. So yeah, it's not going to work anyway. Instead, he moves on, "That I remember I haven't been doing anything extremely stupid so I really don -- "

"Ah. So you do admit to have done something vaguely stupid, then?"

"Stop your freaking mind games and just spit out what you what to say already! 'Cause I honestly have no idea what I did this time around." A lie. He's fairly good at it -- lying -- but no one is ever good enough to fool Asami; at least not completely. Even without the goons trailing and keeping tabs on him, Takaba is convinced that the older man would see right through him; those sharp eyes are merciless, after all.

Predatory, that's what he looks like. Sitting there with an allure worthy of a king; long limbs crossed -- both arms, and legs -- and a burning cigarette dangling from between upper and lower lips. The sight of cancerous smoke being sucked and wafted should never look so erotic.

"As you wish. First things first: you said you don't remember. I too, don't remember you having such bad memory until now, and neither did you hit your head anywhere. Also, before you mention the time you hit your head in the tiles while we were in the shower let's say, two weeks past, I did take a look while you were passed out afterwards and there was no injury whatsoever. Leaving that aside, you do need to start taking memos, Akihito. Didn't I tell you before to stop involving yourself in matters that do not concern you? I was informed that you were fussing your nose around Toshima's territory. Care to share the information with me?""

Don't talk about me as if I'm a freaking dog, you bastard! I wasn't fussing my nose around, I was snooping. There's a bit of a difference, okay? I was doing my job."

"Fussing, snooping; it's all the same, really. Now, regarding the info…"

Tch. Might as well… "Man, I thought I had done great with finally tricking Suoh for the first time in a long while and in the end it was a failure, huh. Anyway, I didn't take any pictures or anything and no one saw me, right? 'sides Suoh, that is." Snicker.

"I am glad you find the situation entertaining. For now."

"Don't be such a tight ass, geez! If you were a normal human being 'nstead of an outer space perverted mafia boss you'd have wrinkles all around and stuff. What's with your genes anyway?"

"Ah. Should I thank you for the compliment? It's rare for you to do so. Were it other person that not you, I'd think they were fawning over me – flirting. Now about the 'tight ass' issue, Akihi -- "

"Don't. Even. Go. There." Hissing like the wild cat he his, Takaba's restraints, transparent to the naked eye, start to shake warningly. Only his lover's reactions at this are filled with nothing but amusement.

"So?"

"Those guys... They are into some pretty heavy stuff. I just heard them talking. It looked kinda like a meeting of some sort; a private one. Only the big guys were there -- that I recognized there was Toshima and the heads from both Raisha and Kogaya, and also some other red-haired middle aged man I didn't know; he looked pretty intimidating."


Takaba receives a nod and at that takes a break; considering something. "Hm, Asami?"


"What is it?"


"You -- you are into that business too, aren't you?"


"What do you think, Akihito?"


"I'm like ninety percent sure you a -- ...A ~ ah, forget it. It was a stupid question anyway." Takaba sighs and lifts the palm of his hand over his face, minutely kneading his forehead, just above the scowling eyebrows -- a de-stressing gesture that does not serve its intended purpose very well.


Laying his elbow on the table, he uses that same hand to support his chin, "As I was saying; they only just talked, like for a long time. No signed papers nor trades nor anything else, really. Jam-packing the whole thing, what I got was that the newest goods were going to be inspected before the auction, to make sure everything's in order. I was able to hear about the location where they're gonna do the nasty but I couldn't hear the date 'cause someone's bleached gorilla appeared like a Tarzan and dragged me out of there!" That last sentence began in a dead-pan tone, like the majority of the speech until that point, but started rising in pitch until it finished in a forced yell.


One more unsuccessful try at ruffling Asami's feathers, apparently. Idiotic much, because black panthers don't have feathers in the first place. But it doesn't hurt to do it again, and again; and Takaba is feeling lucky in spite of knowing he's going to have a sore ass until the end of the month, And today is only the 5th…


All of it just for taking a peek at who he -- just now -- decided to grudgingly nickname Toshi-yarou; so he figures there's nothing left to loose, As it is, I'll at least have my fun.


Shit-eating grin in place, he presses on, "Without the liana, or the war cry. Fortunately."


"Takaba."


One single word. The feeling of dread that creeps up his spine doesn't stop its companion excitement, and he kind of really, really wishes Asami would start punishing him anytime soon – preferably now. Asami seems to be very interested in talking at the moment, though; so Takaba guesses he and his aching member will have to stay in the bench for a while more.


His guess is proved right when Asami parts his lips and a smooth voice comes out, "As you know, I will use that information for my benefit; it's partial but it is undoubtedly relevant. Good job."


Takaba would erupt in joy at that and think he was forgiven -- if he didn't know better. So, instead of making a fool out of himself, he stays put; and waits for what is yet to come.


"On the other hand; you deceived one of my best men -- using a woman -- and proceeded to put yourself in danger, meddling into issues of such caliber. All the while chewing bubble gums and jumping around on roop tops. You're messing with very dangerous people here; a slip of the foot and you'll fall into the pit."


"Nagging, Asami? Really? Don't make a fuss, you know I'll just keep doing it. Don't you get tired of reprimanding me every single time? I sure get tired of hearing it. Besides, wasn't it thanks to me and my crush on roof tops that we met? It's a good thing overall, right?


"This is not a joke, Akihito. This time you are not involving yourself in the usual drug or weapon dealing; this is life traffic. You should know what you're getting yourself into; you were almost sold by Fei Long, or have you forgotten that as well? Furthermore, having all this trouble and ending up not taking any photos; how does that mind of yours work?"


Now that was it, the tone on that last question. Asami had as much of an innocent face as he could while having devilish handsome features. His acting was flawless. But that glint in his eyes that Takaba was so familiar with gave him away -- it was making fun of him.


A quietly fuming Takaba doesn't take the bait. Much. "I couldn't forget if I wanted to, asshole. I don't understand you either; if I take photos you get mad, and if I don't you get mad anyway. Asking about the photos with that guilt-free expression on your face no one would believe that it was thanks to your own intervening, you jerk. Look; this job was given to me at the last second, I had to take it. This is just too damn big and it fucking thrilled me. I came home, grabbed my best gear and took off."


"Curiosity killed the cat. That saying fits you so well it's sickening."


Asami oozes so much sarcasm Takaba seriously thinks he might melt someday.


"Shut up! Do you want me to continue or not?"


"Indeed, I'd like very much to know how you managed to gain so much time from Suoh."


"Eh… He didn't tell you?"


"I told him I wanted to hear the specifics from you. I have to say, Akihito; you're getting too good at this kind of thing for your own good. You were capable of making that stoic face of his red with embarrassment."


"I know, right? It was awesome; the look on his face when he finally caught me was priceless, if you had se -- "


Receiving one of those extremely blazing glares, Takaba hastily takes, or rather, grabs the hint and clears his throat. "Well, hm, as I was leaving home I called Mai -- you know, Takato's wife -- and asked her if she could get one of her friends to do a favor for me. It was a shot in the blind 'cause I needed it fast, and I couldn't risk calling one my close friends because Suoh probably has all their faces memorized." Takaba mumbles looking away; that idea was disturbing now that he thought about it. Taking a pause and turning his head to the front again, he looks at the older man and a smile stars to stretch, his voice gaining life.

 

"Lucky me, she was shopping with her cousin. I told her in a nutshell what she had to do; she actually thought it was funny and agreed on the spot. In a few minutes Suoh was calling as usual; to know where I was. Told him I had to go shopping and he met me there. As we were entering the mall, a girl bumped into him and her mountain of bags -- conveniently full of lingerie, condoms and tampons; all of it scattered on the floor. I knew Suoh was a gentleman and he didn't disappoint; imagine that dark tower getting on his knees and apologizing and picking up everything while trying to not look at anything at the same time."


Unable to repress the wave of laughter, Takaba indulges in it for a moment before picking up where he left off, "A shame I didn't get to appreciate the moment; as soon as he dropped to the floor I said I was gonna stock up on films and watch around for new cameras; Suoh knows I take a really long time doing that so he'd wait outside, like always. Of course, instead of going inside I turned around and took off, as he stayed there helping Mai's friend."


"You are the devil."


As Asami allows an entertained sneer to appear, showing more signs of praise than of disapproval, Takaba dips his head slightly to the side, and gives his best smile, "Learned from the best."

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Getting aroused in the middle of being interrogated is not bad; no. To Takaba what is bad is that as said interrogation finally ended, and he got Asami to give up that damn chair he was sitting on to pick him up, stride across the office and drop him to the leather couch, sitting on him instead -- one knee to each side of his hips, crotches pressing together and that look on the yakuza's face; overflowing with lust, immobilizing him -- he thought he'd get want he wanted; and he wanted it hard and rough.

Too bad Asami had other plans.

Sweeping his tongue against full lips to gain immediate entrance, Asami licks the inside of Takaba's mouth -- all too willing to be ravished senseless -- and lovingly mashes their lips together, slowly; with a tenderness that could only be called cruel.

There is none of the usual fight for dominance, nor the breath taking forcefulness that usually makes them part all too soon, to replenish the oxygen inside their lungs. This one is a kiss meant to carry on as long as possible; leaving no corner unexplored.

When Asami pulls away, Takaba hurriedly grips his hair and nothing but crushes them back together, plundering the other's mouth, urging him, Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop --

Granted, Asami complies; he doesn't evade the violent kissing and responds, languidly; as he allows himself to be devoured alive.

Enjoying the moment, Takaba groans, wondering just how is it that Asami always tastes so good; even with the slight bitterness of all the tobacco he consumes -- on a daily basis, and for how many decades. It's kind of a sweet flavor -- but then not really; it's always spicy, like the man itself -- and because he never fails to brush his teeth with the peppermint scented tooth paste -- and most of the time a tinge of alcohol still lingers. Nnh. It's cognac today. Takaba always thought so: that it all fuses together -- his daily habits squirming themselves to remain inside of him; into being a more permanent part of his body -- and it just adds to the addicting taste of Asami's own flesh.

But there's just so much pleasure a man can take. The making out session is dragging on far too long without any other kind of contact -- Takaba is hurting down there; his jeans tightening painfully between his legs. Asami is still not fucking touching him, nor even showing any signs of doing it anytime soon; and that's just wrong -- something is seriously wrong.

And in that moment it dawns on him: this is supposed to be his punishment -- getting him excited and leaving him hanging for God knows how long. Takaba knows that he must have made a face -- one of those ridiculous faces people make when having an epiphany -- because Asami is leering at him, ever-present smirk plastered to his face.

The comforting thing is: he knows Asami isn't really pissed -- or pissed at all, really -- this time. He also knows that they've been at it for roughly half an hour. So, not being the most enduring of people, Takaba is getting restless and makes it known; using his hand to grip Asami's thigh, just before coming up to cup the other's hard on, groping it through his trousers in a provoking gesture.

A swipe of wet tongue on dry lips. Takaba decides he's done well and deserves a reward, "Hey, Asami, I'm sick of the foreplay. Are we gonna fuck yet?"

The attempt gains him, at least, a brutal clash of lips -- bruising and enticing; forcing a strained sound out of him. And the instant Asami groans back, an avalanche of arousal comes crashing down on him.

Takaba loses it.

Hands gripping at perfect ass cheeks, mouth claiming the opposite's tongue as the prize, clothed shaft grinding desperately against the other man's. However, for Takaba's disappointment, it doesn't last very long.

Asami snatches his lips away, a thread of saliva bridging them to Takaba's -- the reminder of their connecting just seconds ago -- and grabs Takaba's chin with one hand; pressing a thumb against a kiss swollen lower lip, and sliding it down just so. The other hand keeping Takaba's hips in place, preventing him from continuing the grinding motion; fingers drawing lazy circles -- too damn near and yet still not close enough -- in the inner part of Takaba's thigh.

A hoarse chuckle makes Takaba feel better -- knowing that he isn't the only one affected by their activities is always reassuring.

"Patience, Akihito. A lengthy foreplay is the path to a mind blowing orgasm. I'd expect you to know that by now. Or is it that bad memory of yours, striking again?"
           
Patience -- Takaba thinks -- isn't something you should tell a dude to have when you have him under you, rock hard and at your entire mercy.

"Gah! How do you do it, Asami?" How can you annoy me so damn much, toss me around and push my buttons 'till I'm at my wits ends with just a dozen of words?

The thoughts were processed but didn't manage to come out in form of sound. And there was no need to, because the message was received just as well -- if not better.

Sparkling golden slits narrowed even more, a soft laugh slipping out of impossibly lewd parted lips. Each time that voice penetrates Takaba's ears, the thrill that lands on him only intensifies.

Asami teases him; a touch so gentle it scares Takaba for a second, making him doubt if this is really Asami, but then just as quickly it falls on him that it's been happening for a long time now -- those soft caresses -- and he wonders if he ever will get completely used to them. As much as it makes his heart beat faster, it also makes him panic. That's not how 'we' should be…

And just as he was letting himself get swallowed by his own thoughts, the man who's always there to grab him and pull him back up again does what he does best and, with a nerve that proves that this person on top of him is undeniably his Asami, the yakuza platters -- and wherever he does, he makes the most nonsensical sentence seem like some irrevocable truth of the world.

"A magician never reveals his secrets, it would be tedious otherwise."

"…"

A long pause, devoid of speech. For Takaba it was… afflictive, to say the least.

"Did you… Did you just compare yourself with a magician...?" Uncertainty worming away at his throat, and tip-toeing at each word.

However, Asami decides that they've had enough conversation for now; clamping a hand down on Takaba's mouth, hovering to press his own against Takaba's ear and speaking to it, husky sounds travelling right to the photographer's groin. "Indeed, you can say that. You should…" A tip of a high-bridged nose moves along a pale neck; drifting downwards until it lifts up and gives it's turn to a wet muscle – most times spiteful, at times sweet; but always, always wicked. "…know by now…"

The ripping sound of a shirt; the unfastening sound of a zipper.

As Asami's appendage follows the line of Takaba's toned abdominals, dips into a hidden navel and swirls around; a nearly inaudible moan paints the air. Dark and light green boxers pushed down just enough to free the throbbing flesh.

A smile against bare skin. Lips trailing down, down; lingering now at the base of a straining cock. A sudden long lick all the way up. And then, a brief kiss to the head, "…just what tricks my tongue can do. Akihito."

Takaba's eyes can't leave the sensual sight in from of him and, before any last minute protest could be voiced, his length is engulfed whole in that searing moist cavern; sending a shock of pleasure so intense he can feel his skin trying to crawl from his muscles -- just so he can feel him raw.

And before his mind blanked out completely under the pleasurable ministrations, Takaba's last clear judgment was that, Fuck yeah; Asami really is a fucking magician.

*

Four o'clock.

Asami glances at his wrist watch with boredom and, as he rests his elbow back on the desk, he lets his hand brush his neck and rub at a tense shoulder. He woke up at six a.m., took a shower and drove the office; leaving a snoring mess of sprawled limbs by the name of Akihito entangled in white satin bed sheets.

One legal business meeting and two not-so-legal dealings later, Asami leans back on his midnight black reclining chair, turning his head and glancing outside through the wall-sized window glass. The sun shining strongly. People overpopulate the city ; rushing everywhere; to the mall, to the park, to their jobs, to their homes -- rushing through their lives. Routine.

Raising himself up, Asami slides a finger into the tight knot of his dark red-blood tie, relieving the pressure and seducing it to unfold for him.

A knock at the door and Kirishima is asking permission to come inside. At a velvety voice, entry is granted; and as his right-hand man walks forward carrying a mountain of papers, Asami well-nigh wants to grumble. Parading that pile of documents around and looking like his enjoying himself.

Kirishima lays the white sheets on the free space Asami's desk has to offer and, if he notices the murderous look his employer directs at the innocent remnants of a once tree, he doesn't show any outward reaction to it.

Quietly waiting beside the book shelves on the right side, Kirishima remains silent until Asami seats himself once again and clicks his ballpoint pen, ready to start signing what needed to be signed.

Minutes pass by peacefully; a glass protected pair of eyes read-proofing the documentation both before and after Asami has gone through them. The last signature scribbled Asami fishes around the pocket of his jacket -- draped on the back of the chair -- for his pack of cigarettes. None left.

As Kirishima seems ready to excuse himself and go fetch another one, Asami stops him with a sign of his hand. Opening the second drawer on the left side of the desk and pushing aside his Colt Dragoon, he takes out an virgin pack.

Cancer stick threatening to fall down from barely apart set of lips; he's still searching for his zippo in the depths of his trouser pockets as a lighter flicks a flame in front of the cigarette -- Kirishima's hand attached to it.

A nod in thanks and smoke starts poisoning the air in the room.

The glasses guy -- as Takaba, in a seemingly affectionate manner, likes to call him occasionally -- returns his lighter to its respective place on his own breast pocket and collects the papers in his arms again.

I really can't help but think he loves those things. While amusing himself, Asami takes a long drag; inhaling and letting the smoke flutter inside his lungs for a moment before expelling it. He plucks the cigarette from his lips and lets his hand come to rest on the keyboard of his laptop.

Kirishima stands on the same spot, unmoving. Looking at his first assistant, Asami knows there's something he wants to say. He gazes at him, encouraging him to get on with it.

With a low rumble, Kirishima cleans his throat and straightens his back, "Boss. I think there is someone stalking Takaba-kun."

No response -- the sign to continue on. Without formalities.

Unhesitant is the best way to go about it. A manicured indicator pushes a pair of spectacles upward until it fits perfectly on the nose bridge, as it should at all times. Kirishima puts down the previously (and probably still) not very welcomed priority-organized documents again on top of the polished desk, beside the laptop, and further from the whiskey filled glass and the ashtray.

Kirishima relaxes his shoulders and cracks his back. Tension flows out from his muscles like lightening crashing the skies on stormy nights. "I've discussed this with Suoh this morning, Asami-sama. We agree that it might be of some concern. There were only three times, in the last four months, that there occurred close contact between this individual and Takaba-kun. We deemed it natural; after all, we live in such a metropolis -- people come across each other every day, unknowingly. However, this person still arouses some suspicious in us both and we decided to come forward with it, even though it might be a simple gut feeling on our part."

Asami ponders momentarily but there is no need to revolve around it too much -- Kirishima isn't one to have his instincts failing him; Suoh following suit. "Do what you deem fit. Inform me of every relevant factor."

Kirishima knows those words well, they are as close to: "I trust you." as he'd ever gotten and would continue to get in form of words. He appreciates them immensely.

At that the issue is dealt with, for the time being; so he gathers the damned (by Asami) papers once more. Kirishima bows in respect and, making it to the door, his shoes make a graceful spin back around and he directs a hard gaze at his boss, "Asami-sama."

Asami glances at Kirishima, giving him the go-ahead.

"It's almost evening. Having not eaten anything since early morning, getting something to eat by now would be the most prudent."

"Hm."

And that was enough of an answer, for Kirishima walks out -- with a satisfied expression, if you dig out his impeccable facade first -- and would surely be coming back in few minutes with a meal so exquisite it would make up for a whole month of delayed lunches.

Always behaving and talking like a mother. Of all the habitudes to develop… Ah, well. At least he doesn't iron my damned boxers anymore.

A truly entertained chuckle betrays the otherwise soundless division.


Chapter Text

 

Remaining at Asami's side at all times being Kirishima's imperturbable duty, Suoh not being an expert at discretion or subtlety for rather obvious reasons; Kurosaki is the one carefully chosen and dispatched to do they bidding.

Kurosaki is one of the youngest at Asami's service; he's a smart kid, trained by Kirishima during his first years at the organization and Kirishima can say he's quite proud of his kouhai. Kurosaki doesn't feel especially happy when his missions have to do with Takaba, for it'll certainly lead to a kind of trouble completely different than it was supposed to at first glance. There is no room for discussion, regardless: Asami-sama's orders are absolute.

So after being thoroughly instructed of what he had to do by Kirishima, Kurosaki got rid of his suit, dressed in his casual clothes and mounted his motorbike, driving to the location the target is currently staying as Suoh actualizes him via auricular.

A tasteless love hotel in the red-light district. The lights currently turned off probably shine and flicker as soon as the sun disappears in the sky, illuminating wildly and screaming silently for attention, the characters which ironically read 'Kakushi'.

Kurosaki takes off his helmet and proceeds to the store right in front of the motel's front door. It was already open even at such as early hour and he found some consolation in the fact that it was a rather common café; it had an outdoor seating so he could just sit and down a cup of coffee while waiting for the target to come out of the door without an ounce of suspicion falling on him.

A rather strong breeze arises and his reddish hair flutters a bit with it. He smiles politely at the blushing waitress that brings him his drink and settles himself comfortably on the plastic chair. A swift confirmation of his position leaves his lips as he sips the dark liquid from the white china piece.

fjfjfj

The day of the ascertainment of the products to be sold in the auction came. And passed.

Takaba is pissed.

Asami had efficiently taken hold of and maneuvered the data he acquired from him and then, using his connections, gained knowledge of the date when the actual validation would be made happen, allowing him to infiltrated his men inside without arousing any suspicions. The yakuza hadn't bothered to share the info with him, as he more than made clear that he wanted nothing of Takaba being involved in such dealings.

Takaba is fucking pissed.

Making his way to the bathroom, he slams the door shut, locking it from the inside. Better be safe than sorry.

Takaba had been making a point of ignoring Asami as much as he possibly could, given the circumstances. He knew he was being childish but it's not like he could do much else; so he resorted to venting his frustrations by snarling at Asami, cursing the man to death and calling him names that came to his mind as naturally as he snaps photographs.

Although he has been doing his best, Asami isn't minimally fazed by his antics. If he stops cleaning the house Asami will just call the maid -- it was her job in the first place; to whom Takaba will then have to apologize to and send away because he doesn't want anyone touching his cameras and besides, he enjoys doing the chores. And said chores include cooking. So when he started to cook only for himself in a futile attempt to starve Asami, the older man would either eat out or make his own meal, which only served to enrage Takaba all the more so, because he enjoyed cooking for the other.

However many ways he thought of to get a one up on Asami it would always come back to bite him in the ass with teeth twice as sharp. And that was exactly what lead to the situation at hand; Takaba had started to sleep in his original bedroom and would lock the door at night so Asami wouldn't be able to come in. He knew it was an extremely stupid idea, aside from Asami being in possession of the key, even if Takaba left his own copy trapped in the keyhole, he had no doubt that Asami had the power to kick the door open on the spot, or even call someone to take it down in his stead just so he wouldn't have to move his mighty ass. Having all that in consideration, Takaba was genuinely surprised -- and maybe terrified -- when Asami didn't do anything about it and simply went to sleep without even acknowledging Takaba's presence; or lack thereof.

The situation had dragged itself until the present day. One week. One week of Takaba's miserable pouting and, by now, no more than fake anger. One week of abstinence.

Takaba really, really was fucking damn pissed. And sexually fucking frustrated.

Resigning himself to his dreadful fate, Takaba rubs his eyes with a towel after splashing water over his face, waking himself up. Stretching on his way to the kitchen, Takaba covers his mouth with the back of one hand, stifling a yawn. Asami was already awake, going around with only a pair of boxers on. He's doing it on purpose, the bastard.

Opening the cupboard and pulling out his cereal box, Takaba starts preparing his breakfast. Asami comes back into view; the man is now sliding his white shirt over his broad shoulders, which gives way to that neckline that Takaba just wants to bury his face in and --

White wetness rains down on his bare feet and Takaba expresses his disapproval with a tsk at the mess he made all over the counter and all the way onto the floor, too occupied enjoying the view to realize the milk overflowing from the bowl. "It's not my fault. Not my fault. Not mine."

Takaba seems to be having a rather uncivilized monologue of self-deprecation, which Asami finds the most entertaining. Tie dropped around his neck, Asami passes by the living room to have access to the bathroom and says his good mornings to a sleepy messy head who was currently sitting on the ground in front of the coffee table. Elbow supported on the couch, Takaba replied with a mumbling grumble while munching around a spoon left inside his mouth, his hand busy zapping through the channels with the remote control.

Asami gels his dark hair back in front of the mirror. On his way back, his hands come to the velvet ribbon that falls down on his chest. His hands are batted away by Takaba, who is now standing in front of him wearing a scowl. With a haunting expression, Takaba's movements are harsh but still competent, making fast work of the knot. When he is finished, he pats the cloth to Asami's chest with far more strength than what was necessary and, without any words, resumes his camping on the floor and picks up his bowl, slurping noisily at the residual drop of milk that still accumulates at the bottom.

Amused by the younger man's actions, Asami finishes getting dressed in the bedroom. He takes his jacket in one arm and leaves it hanging around a chair, as he picks his gun holster from the glass table near the door and puts it on.

Takaba does his dishes and absently scratches his butt cheek, hand dipping under his underwear. Deciding to get dressed too, Takaba makes his way to his own bedroom.

A hand suddenly grabs his upper arm and turns him around. He's ready to fight back but Asami is faster; in a flow motion Asami hoists him up and places him on the dining table, kissing him hard. Takaba, being the complex case that he is, always has his storm before the calm so, after the resistance phase where he painfully punches Asami's jaw, bites his own lips close to deny the other entrance and forces his nails on Asami's scalp, grabbing his locks to keep him at bay; he finally relents. The tongue against him is persistent and enticing and he permits it to delve inside; hands previously pushing away are now pulling the other man closer and Takaba wants nothing more than to be screwed right there, as he spells heatedly against the lips glued to his own, "I - Hate - You."

Chuckling vibrations transfer right from its original source into Takaba, leaving his sensitive flesh tingling. He wants to undo the velvety piece he just tied around Asami's neck and snap the buttons of Asami's shirt open, sending them flying through the air, but his malicious plans are destroyed as the older man pulls back, denying Takaba of the warmth of his body.

"I have to go now. Behave yourself, Akihito."

Takaba, still lying on the table, supports himself in one arm and gives the other man a nasty stare while offering him an obscene gesture with one hand; one middle finger up, four remaining fingers down.

As he closes the door behind him, Asami knows the scene he just witnessed will most likely be the highlight of his day.

*

On the phone Kou and Takato said they'd wait for him at the entrance but Takaba tells them that he's a bit late and for them to go inside first. He runs all the way from the penthouse to the front of the brown painted building, feinting and dodging his driver for the day en route. He's already sweating from every pore when he joins his two friends in the privacy of the locker room.

It was rare for the three of them to get a day off together, so the day before they had agreed they would go to the public swimming pool to have some aquatic fun. Kou was already making mischief on the diving board, not without slipping his foot while running like a fool and falling on his ass on the way there. Rolling their eyes at the brunette's idiocy, Takato and Takaba look at each other and start laughing heartily, while approaching the border of the pool.

Splashing sounds and happy voices all around, Takaba focuses on making the best out of the day.

After swimming and diving their lungs out for a few hours, Takato says he's getting hungry, accentuated by the rumbling sound coming from his middle, and uses up his remaining energy trying to pull Kou out of the water. Deciding on having some ramen, they take their time downing their noodles and chatting away.

Belly full, Takaba lets a sigh escape him as he recalls his morning and muses that having an undressed Asami having fun with him on the pool would have been even more gratifying, which leads him to travel to memories of the past when Asami had lured him to his beach side located hotel and their activities that night in the room as well as the morning after in the pool. Shaking his head to chase away both arousing and irritating thoughts, Takaba realizes his friends are looking at him curiously.

Kou is the first to voice a question, "Out with it, Aki. What're you thinkin' about?"
           
"Yes, even Kou noticed you're drifting away so… should we be worried?"
           
"Oi! What's that supposed to mean, Takato?"

Takaba snickers and guzzles a mouthful of his orange juice. Cleaning a droplet with one hand, not letting it fall down his chin and stain his shirt, Takaba shrugs lightly, "Nah, everything's fine. Just some stuff at home."
           
"Has anything happened with Asami-san? You guys fought?"
           
"Eh?! A fight, really? What about? When? What did yo -- "

A duet of voices cut him off, "Shut up, Kou!"

"We didn't fight. Kinda. He's just being stupid and teasing me, that's all."

Kou clicks his tongue and falls back on the chair, crossing his arms. Narrowing his eyes and pouting, he mutters, sounding annoyed, "Ahh, what… it's just the usual then!"

A slap to the head. "Ow!"

"I told you to shut up, Kou."

"If it's nothing grave it's okay but… do you want to talk about it?"

Takaba's half lidded eyes are cast on the ground. A sudden impact of skull on the wooden surface of the table startles Kou, as well as some people from the tables near theirs, who dismiss it right away as: "Young people, these days...", and return to their respective meals and conversations.

A muffled mumble. Takato chuckles,

"We can't understand anything with you talking like that, Akihito."

Without lifting his head up, Takaba turns it to the side so his mouth won't be sloshed on the table. He repeats his words, "…'m horny…"

The wind blows and whistles for a moment, as if cleaning the air to the explosion of laughter that takes place next; once again attracting the attention of the people around who, this time, whisper something about one of the young men having a fever, his face is just too red.

*

"Asami-sama, the research on the stalker." Kirishima informs as he sets a folder on Asami's desk.

"Summarize."
           
"Certainly. The man is a foreigner of American nationality, or so his fake documents claim. We haven't yet been able to obtain his true identity. Going by the name of Paul Miller, 55 years old, he has undergone multiple surgeries, most of them facial reconstructing ones, as well as others mentioned in the report. As far as we could go until now, he has done most of them in Europe and we don't possess yet any records of his real face. We contacted the clinic where he had the first operation and were informed that he appeared already disfigured, his face slashed all over. Attacked and robbed, he had lost all documentation. He then managed to forge his papers and has been living as Miller since a few months ago, just before he first set foot in Japan. Photos of his current appearance are attached on the last pages."

"Hm. Keep searching for his real identity, Kirishima. Tighten the security around Takaba; put more people on it but make it more disperse, protect him from the distance. Let us give this man the chance to show his true colors. If he really is stalking Takaba he must be aware of the bodyguards around him, as well as waiting for an opening. We'll give him one."

"Are you planning on informing Takaba-kun of the situation, Boss?"

"It would be wise to do so, although… His bad temperament has been escalating the last couple of days so he'll surely do something foolish if he learns about it at this stage. We'll be keeping him out of it for now."

"Understood. "

After Kirishima leaves the room, Asami handles a glass of amber liquid and feels the alcohol burn on the way down as he leafs through the folder he was given.

*

The sound of the front door being opened and closed doesn't alert Takaba of the arrival of another person in the house, but the stepping thuds that follow do. It doesn't make him still his actions; instead, it makes him speed up. He tightens his grip on his length, sliding his palm up and down, fingers griping and occasionally probing and the tiny opening located at the tip. His free hand his support, flat against the glassy tiles that coat the inside walls of the bathroom, as his entire body is being rained upon. Staying under the shower, warm droplets lick his skin on the way down from his wet bangs, glued to his face; to his feet, curling toes with the pleasure running through him.

He notices the steps coming in his direction now, after having entered the room next door and shuffling around for a few minutes. His breath itches, the area below his stomach contracting deliciously with the concentration of arousal. A moan is heard between the clouds of condensation colonizing the room, "Nnngh, Asami…"

Takaba can't hear the steps anymore which can only mean one thing and, slowly, lets his eyelids separate. A tall figure comes into view, leaning elegantly on the door frame -- door which he had conveniently left wide open.

"You called?"

 

Chapter Text

 

After that day they couldn't seem to be able to get the info where the real thing was going to take place; only when you know what to look for, everything is easier. So when Takaba hears the next morning at the journal all the rumble about this huge party, he has no doubts it was what he was looking for. He jumps in, claiming the job as his, and comes out victorious in a heartbeat – no one can take down a determined Akihito; his colleagues had learned that lesson the hard way.

Self-survival is the next priority after a good scoop, so he hijacks his cellphone from his jeans' back pocket and as he makes his way to the director's office to get a hold of every detail he needs, the photographer punches the phone's touch screen with his fingers; with it letters start appearing on the screen.

[  morning sunshine. have a party to cover. its gonna be a blast ;)  ]

*

Asami cringes at the infuriating vibrations; loud and propagating the sound wildly through the wood, as the source of it is having seizures on top of the bedside table. Eyes forced open gaze at the message received before closing almost immediately and sleepy, blind hands fight to tap a response.

[  Dn whatyou want. Be prepared for the consequences.  ]

Such a stubborn little thing.

And then, as abruptly as he as he has been shaken awake, Asami falls back asleep.

*

All in all, Takaba was only supposed to have taken pictures at the warehouse and be done with it. But no, oh no; this was Takaba Akihito, fearless photographer, so he went with the flow and ended up where he is now -- at the doors of the mansion of some big shot dirty old man who's going to host the auction under the pretense of a birthday party.

*

His pervert-sensor is howling; gazes traverse his back like hungry wolves and, had he been outside right now, being cornered in a dark alley, he would have been able to vent his anger accordingly. Only he was not. So the only favorable solution was to play along. This might just be my chance.

In a slow motion, his head turns; shorts threads of light brown hair swaying with boredom, the rest of his body following shortly. His observer is smiling charmingly, clearly appreciating his front as much as he probably did his back.

Takaba wants to just get the deed done with fast, but he won't rush it too much and risk letting the opportunity go to waste.

A coy smile rips gently across his still boyish features; feet guiding him backwards until his lean backside encounters the obstacle that is the buffet table. Takaba casually prompts a finger inside the cream bowl, coating the digit with the sweet, soft substance and swiping it across his bottom lip before his tongue peeks out and licks; first his lip, then his finger, finally welcoming the latter to delve inside his mouth. His eyes burn; never falling shut nor losing its fire. He releases his indicator with a barely alive wet sound.

A sigh escapes his lips and he makes his way to one of the verandas; all the while thinking that he should be far more bothered about the obscene acts he manages to come up with -- after being defiled by Asami for so many years -- coming so in handy for his scoops.

Propping his arm on the white railing, Takaba hears the sound of the sliding door behind him; signaling the start of the second act.

*

The weather is horrid outside; the scorching heat and the humidity, which clung to people and objects alike, feels as unappealing as it sounds.

A man occupying his satin-pillowed sofa, a pipe decorating his lips -- a beautiful design, one might say, with all the detail it entailed it was certainly a handmade piece; one of a kind even, the color that of pure honey when still nectar, and a delicate appearance that betrayed shamelessly its sturdy structure. His elegant feet descend from the softness of the mattress to touch the lukewarm floor at the arrival of another man in the room.

The newcomer bows in reverence before proceeding into dialogue. "We have found him."

"At last. Where was he; in the gambling house after all, I presume?" The tone is disinterested, but at the entrance of the servant the master places his pipe down and assumes a more dignified position.

"Yes. The female staff was making quite a ruckus so we finally managed to get to him before he slipped away again."

"Hm, well done."

Regarding his master, the suited man's eyebrows shift almost imperceptibly, not quite frowning, and if he would, his long bangs would deny the one-man-public the sight of it. "He... requests to see you personally. What would you have me do?"

"Nothing I was not already anticipating. Bring him here."

*

"Thank you for having me, it's been quite a while, hasn't it, F - Oh my, what happened to your… in your head..?"

Hands groping with practiced ease everywhere around the blonde's body, the servant makes sure, once again, that the man is not armed. Being who it is, it's not daring to think him to be more than capable to pop a gun out of nowhere; his tricky nature not being one to be taken lightly.

"I had it cut; can you not even understand such a thing? Years pass by and your idiocy is still unchanged. Moreover, do not waste my time with your games; my property never was and is still not your playground."

"Bù gǎn dāng. Your beauty is unblemished as well."

Ignorance is bliss. Putting it to use is for the best.

"So? What is your business here?" Slightly long nails tapping impatiently on the arm of the sofa; a minimal knocking sound being born from it. Long legs cross and the stare directed at the blond demands answers.

"Uwa, so cold. But I don't mind, it reinforces your attractiveness. And it is exactly as you say; I'm actually here for serious business. It's just that it'll get boring soon enough so I thought I'd greet you cheerfully before that. Was it not to your liking?"

"What kind of business?"

"You know... ignoring one's questions and choosing to get only your own answers out of this isn't exactly what we can call a civilized conversation. By the way, I see you have a soft spot for puppy eyes, in the end; there is a dog who bit his owner's hand right there, at the door."

The third man looks over to search for a reaction but his taunting has no effect; said 'dog's' stare is as blank as it can be. His calm attitude and perfect standing are worthy of reward.

Unlike the servant, the master retaliates; his chin elevating and marking the blond with a piercing eye-lock. "It has nothing to do with you how I decide to act and who I decide to forgive. You're quite curious, always meddling into other's people's problems; ever since before. And just so you know, I wasn't his true owner before. Though I am now."

The possessiveness embedded in those words would not -- could not -- pass by unseen.

The blonde looks from the changshan wearing male to his servant and then back again. Every drop of amusement slips away from his grasp and a heavy expression comes in its place. "My, my. I kind of knew it would turn out this way after witnessing that final touching scene, on that day, but still... how boring. My happy-time is crushed."

His playfulness gone, his idiotic air seems to be lock itself away and a serious persona takes over. "Let's talk about making money then."

The first man's face allows a smirk. If you were always like this, you wouldn't be so irritating.

Sensing the change in the atmosphere, the second man knows it's his cue to go. "If you will excuse me, I will take my leave now".

"Stay." Comes the unexpected order. Only it does not sound like one.

His stoic façade does not show anything but his mouth does not pronounce any words either. "..."

And the third man is equally impressed. "Oh my."

"Stay."

It had come once and now it came twice. It's not a question and if it were. it would be an only-one-answer-possible kind of question. The servant could never be able to deny his master anything.

"Yes."

Opium plays the pacifier and silently embraces the three men in the room, coating them in clouded smoke.

*

Takaba still can't believe how easy it had been for the man to spill his guts about what was basically happening downstairs; but then again, given that he was as drunk as a fermented grape sunbathing it really wasn't surprising in the least.

Disappointment snorts its way out of his system as he steps down the spiral stairs.

On the way down, Takaba gets rid of his bow tie and some of his top shirt buttons are abducted from its respective cases, the loosened cloth offering ample view to his creamy skin. Eyes gazing down, Takaba takes notice of the living gargoyle standing guard at the seemingly harmless door to the cellar. The sight of the creature causes him to scrounge his nose unpleasantly, Suoh is much more intimidating and this guy is one head taller and at least twice his width.

Making use of the card his 'benefactor' had slipped into one of the back pockets of his trousers -- with the promise of an exciting and unforgettable night; he had said -- Takaba digs the object out of the confinement and shows it to the man blocking his path. Receiving a blunt look-over and grunt in response, the door is opened for him to pass through.

Before he can stop himself, a whistle of air and sound escapes from him as he absorbs the surrounding sight. Past the distressed cave-slash-attic look-a-like, the richness of this hidden division of the house far surpasses the one located on the upper floor; it belongs in a completely different category and, although the people here are dressed equally well, just as neatly as the ones above -- what with their formal attires -- in here they shine far brighter.

Such contrast.

The impressive decorations composing the space; paintings of consecrated artists from all art styles clung to the walls in a competition of color and exotic diversity and yet capable of meshing in harmony without losing its grace. The carpeted floor -- the dirt the expensively dressed walk upon. And surely, the quality of the food and beverages would not lose to its quantity.

Takaba isn't entirely sure if the room had such a big impact due to him having passed through such a vulgar-looking hall on the way, in between the two astonishing divisions, or if the knowledge of what to expect from such a place is throwing his observation skills out of balance.

*

Not fazed but still disgusted, Takaba swallows the lump in his throat, courtesy of the sight tunneling through his viewfinder: dozens of people, both genders and some in between, of all ages and races being examined with the naked eye -- less human than a microscope -- thoroughly; before being sold like objects. The adults and elders would be used until every drop of sweat had been drained from them, shouldering any and every type of hard labor imposed on them, and as guinea pigs for drug testing; while children and teens would be sexually explored until with one or many diseases harbingers of slow death.

The variety of people buying is just as diverse as the ones being purchased; respectable gentlemen become filthy bastards, fine ladies become evil bitches, cute youths become nasty bullies. Upstairs, in the light of the city, the masquerades are worn without flaws, but it is in the depths of the underground that the wheels of reality freely turn.

Eyes devoid of life; the reflection of the will to fight having abandoned the abused bodies.

Takaba has an slim idea of what these people might have gone through, as well as the depraved things reserved for them in the near future. Fingers curls instinctively, tight around the dark gray machinery; the cold of the inanimate object on his warm skin giving him the unspoken reminder of his position.

Retrieving his mini camera to the hidden safe-house that is his sleeve, the photographer takes a deep breath and lets his hands smooth his suit on the way to his trouser pockets, lunging into the opening, allowing his slightly trembling digits to wriggle around in the safety of the cool fabric.

As he forces himself to relax, Takaba thumps the heel of his shoe into the wall behind him and surges from behind the round entry of gypsum pillars. Accepting a flute of champagne from the passerby waiter; unexpressive face, mechanic movements, recorded phrased all ending in: -- Goshujin-sama." nailed into his brain -- a perfect example of an already trained and capable servant. Still, the professionally self-denied twitch in his eye betrays his indifferent stance. The possibility of the waiter having experienced such an auction first-hand was rising, climbing to the roof like a stealthy spider.

Excusing himself with a deep bow of the head, the waiter leaves Takaba to his own devices, carrying one less glass on the tray.

Hazel eyes follow the stiff figure that continued to dance across the room, serving alcohol filled recipients to the occasional guest. Lips touch transparent solid, light yellowish liquid drips down to the inside of his mouth; Takaba gurgles and lets the bitterness seethe his discontentment with the situation.

The way the people behave, as if they are shopping for groceries to make a family dinner at home, with such naturalness and no sense of right and wrong whatsoever, might be the most frightening and heart wrenching of it all. Were Takaba to ignore the presence of the human cattle for a moment, everything would seem natural; right. People enjoying themselves, the company of others, the meal and the drinks, appreciating the art; between the detailed broken pieces of stone that gave birth to amazing sculptures and the lulling tone of classical music enthralling everyone in the room into a comfortable atmosphere.

It was repulsive.

While the upper class parties and celebrates, eats and drinks, talks and laughs, flirts and fornicates, the lower class lies in waits and agonizes, starving and thirsting, clamping their mouths shut with fear of having their tongues cut off in cold blood, if not beaten and raped and humiliated relentlessly before being allowed to die.

Takaba puts his empty glass to rest on the nearest table and, making sure he doesn't have the attention of anyone, unhurriedly crosses the room in direction of the entry obscured by a voluptuous salmon colored curtain at the southwest end.

He would have mentally boasted about his awesome ninja skills but he's feeling much too pissed off to delve on it; especially after having arrived at his destination and standing there quietly. The memories coming back, gradually; everything sinking in.

The products exposed on the other room were restrained, some with chains, others with ropes, most likely all drugged, if the cloudy gazes were anything to go by. The ones in this room were not restrained by any of that. They were secluded, trapped in cages; singular tiny cages, where the average adult person was barely able to fit in, others slightly larger, where under aged children were thrown together and sloshes, to ensure no space was left unattained.

At least I could move freely when I was inside one. As the sarcastic thought cracks a creepy chuckle from him, Takaba scorns himself for the tasteless sense of humor he has developed and, seeking relief, takes a minute to curse Asami and blame everything on him -- it always allows him to make peace with his self after doing it, so fuck reasonable.

It takes him a while to notice, possibly because all his focus was on the sight in front of him as soon as he entered the concealed space, but the sound inside this room was loud.

Deafening.

Screams and roars and cries fill the space and resonate against the walls. No pleads -- not anymore, at least. Just the manifestation of the repressed frustration, anger, revolt, hate. There is nothing to plead for, ask for, beg for; these people know they would never be helped. Still, they rebel as much as they can.

The noise of wounded creatures; worse than fingernails scraping chalkboard.

This division is sound-proofed, Takaba realizes. There is no room for the lovely music playing outside in here; in this torture-ring of hell. And there is no room for badly-behaved wild beasts on a room full of nothing but flamboyant peacocks.

These people aren't drugged like the others; they are being cruelly allowed to perceive; to understand where they were, what would happen soon, that they are weak and unable to escape. Allowed to get acquainted with the agony and fear that would accompany them for as long as they permitted to live, from now on.

His face impassive, Takaba takes his time; snapping picture after picture. The expressions on their faces portraying unimaginable misery. It's then that something catches his attention. A thud; then muffled voices.

Identifying the direction from which the sound comes from, Takaba approaches carefully; his steps silent as the sound grows more pronounced. A low tunnel-like corridor appears in from of him and Takaba needs to lower his head to be able to pass through.

He could hear it clearly now, so when he got face to face with it there was no surprise showing on his face. Tapping the man three times on his shoulder with one hand, his other one closes into a fist and pulls back; waiting. The man doesn't flinch, not alarmed in the least with Takaba's appearance. Eyeing the photographer with just the corner of his eye, his first words come out slurred. "Ya wanna join in?"

Eyes wide open, flooding in tears. Torn cloth to show naked, under-developed chest. Underwear pushed down, still clinging to one ankle. No blood anywhere. Turning his vision to the man once more, Takaba notices the opened clasp of his belt and nothing else out of order. No damage done.

"Yeah, I'll be joining in. But you're dropping out first." The waiting was worth it and Left Hook happily smashes against the other's face. Before the other can retaliate, Takaba does the same with his right fist.

Stumbling a bit backwards, the man lifts a hand to his face, gripping the end of his long sleeved shirt and staining the light-blue with red as he not-so-gently cleans the blood running down from his nose. As the scarlet liquid drips from his nostrils it seems to rush to his head as well, as he charges like a furious bull against Takaba. A punch well aimed but the other's jaw dodges it and only his cheek is abraded.

As he side-skips, Takaba notices of the wall clock and it's proved to not be a good opportunity to look at the time when he fails to completely evade the other's knuckle. With a click of the tongue, more annoyed that he is running out of time than to having taken a hit, the younger of the two grabs the other's collar shirt in a motion much too sudden, and head-butts him into the wall.

Damage from both sides of the brain and the to-be-rapist is K.O. Though Takaba doubts he even has one brain to begin with.

Dropping to his knees, the blonde knows better than to approach carelessly; instead, he takes off his suit jacket and, maintaining a distance, hands it to the girl. She has stopped sobbing now, bubbly tears pooling at the corners of her so very red eyes. She looks at him.

Without breaking eye contact she reaches a hand, trembling but unhesitant. Takaba smiles.

The girl takes hold of the clothing and slips it around herself, buttoning it up clumsily; never stopping looking at him. Takaba really smiles now, and her eyes abandon the fear. She starts crying now, rivers flowing freely.

One knee, then the other, Takaba comes close to her. One hand, then the other, he hugs her gently. She snuggles and cries and hiccups and soon she's sneezing -- probably because of the cologne he borrowed from Asami -- and he can't help but let a small laugh jump out.

She seems to freeze, and then she stirs a bit, and then she pushes back a little. And she's looking at him again.

Takaba takes his time to really glance at her now; she can't be more the fourteen or fifteen, and her features have nothing Asian to them. She can't be called pretty or cute; her lines are hard and perfectly symmetric, no imperfections. Like a doll, her beauty in undeniable and, at the same time, lifeless. Her ebony hair and the ivory skin are the epitome of contrast, and her ocean blue eyes entice, inducing people to wish they could just drown in the sea.

But spells are easily broken. That and they don't work on idiots, just like colds -- which they are said to be immune against.

"Can you speak Japanese?"

Her head makes a ridiculous arc to the side and she's gazing at him like she might be thinking he's stupid. Takaba likes her already.

"Of course you can't. /English, can you speak English?/"

As her head comes back into a more normal position she makes to answer but, as she starts trying to talk, her throat clamps in a knot and no understandable sound can be heard. So she nods affirmatively, instead.

"/Good. Okay. Don't worry, big brother is gonna take you out of here, okay/?"

Another nod. Takaba looks her over and dresses her properly in the jacket. With some hesitation he touches her underwear, still pooling at one lonely foot, and as she makes no opposing reaction to it he pulls them up and back into place, and makes her as presentable as possible, given the circumstances. As he steals a glance at the clock for the second time, a curse escapes his lips.

A chuckle; more like a broken attempt to cough. But it was a chuckle, no doubt.

"You can't understand my language but you get it right away when it comes to dirty words, huh? And making fun of me already when we just met? I really do seem to attract nothing but weirdoes."

It's almost time. Takaba considers bolting instead of waiting anymore -- someone could come here at any moment and it was a risk he wasn't very inclined to take. He'd have to go with acting like he was buying the kid and then, just before having to pay, he'd fly out of there only to stop at the police station; dropping down the child and the film and then he'd go home and take a bath. Yeah, sounds perfect. In theory. "..." What are you, stupid? Like hell that'll work!

The kid wasn't originally in the equation; worse yet, she's not even a constant, she's a variable. And Takaba is all about arts; he was decent enough but he was never a genius at math. Things aren't looking very good.

And as if kind-of-following, kind-of-raping the script his emancipated mind struggles to formulate, a trio of officers suddenly enter the room; one after another, by the small tunnel, and Takaba feels relief poking holes in his socks. They came in time, after all.

Only the sensation of solace is short lived, more ephemeral than a moth's life, as their guns are pointed at him.

"Put the child down. Put your hands in the air and walk over, slowly."

*

Havoc had been wrecked.

As he revisits the rooms, previously filled with light and glamour in spite of the trading taking place, they were devoid of joy. Some broken dishware and shattered glass camping here and there on the floor.

On the lower floor few people remained; some must have managed to escape, a few possess more than enough power to get out of it unscathed and others must already have been cuffed and taken into custody -- A good number of them, if you're lucky., whispers Takaba's wishful thinking device.

The upper floor was cut down to half its initial population but there was still a considerable amount of guests left. Takaba wishes for them to be innocent in all this; thought for all its worth, as he is now, he wouldn't mind dragging everyone present down the gutter together with him. He had been trying to reason with the three officers and explain his situation, only they wouldn't even listen. Had they not put hand-cuffed the rapist fucker as well he really would have erupted, although he was a tad pleased that two of the officers had to carry the still unconscious man. Trash and dead weight can be useful sometimes.

*

Takaba finally breathes in the outside air. His eyes are drawn to Suoh, who is right there -- looking like a guardian angel like never before -- accompanied by Kurosaki, and a soft sight leaves him feeling tired; all the action of the day kicking his gut and demanding some rest.

The photographer is just thinking he is as good as free from the police, however, as Suoh pockets his phone and makes no move to come closer, Takaba is visited by a big, bad and green feeling, revolving around on his stomach. And as said blonde's lips nothing but lift a millimeter up, he knows he's fucked.

In the morning he'd have back aches, alright -- only not the ones that come with hot, rough sex as the cause. Really, Asami? The new punishment method is a night in jail? Just you wait until it comes biting you in the ass, bastard.

Angry tone and fierce grin contradicting each other stain Takaba's expression, as his head is forced down and he's pushed into the awaiting car. The flashy lights get switched on and the annoying siren contributes to noise pollution.

*

~ OMAKE ~

On the way to the police station, Takaba amuses himself by kicking the still fucking unconscious man into oblivion.

Exhaling softly and getting acquainted with the back seat, Takaba lets his eyes flutter close and thumps his front head to the window glass. He mutters to himself. "That must be one hell of a concussion you got there. Next time you go for a 'ride' don't forget to take your helmet, sick bastard."

Wait… what?


Chapter Text


The sound of the door slamming shut announces their arrival, as Takaba handles the obnoxious object with a little more force than necessary, closing it behind him. He kicks his worn out sneakers off – Asami had brought him a pair from home and he wasted no time in throwing himself to the backseat of the limousine and trading the callous-inducing shoes for the athletic ones, his toes appreciating the gesture – not paying attention where they land, scrambling them without care; an unbecoming sight next to Asami's neatly organized pair of Italian shoes.

Click. A flickering flame appears at the top of a jet black zippo, scorching and imposing, very much like the owner of the hand that snaps it ablaze with graceful fingers.

"It still amazes me, Akihito, how you are able to cooperate in an assignment for the police, behind my back -- which is, in one way, indeed worthy of praise -- and manage to get arrested for it."

Smoky gray clouds rape the vitreous air around them, the only contaminating factor allowed in the ever immaculate space. White creamy walls serve as skin to the penthouse, while shiny wood rectangles serve as footwear. Takaba has thought about it before, but Asami's house -- his house, their house -- looks very much alive, most of the time. Especially with the stylish yet simple furnishing, it seems to fill up sparse divisions appropriately, without giving the impression of being too empty, nor looking like it'll overflow at any moment. Takaba particularly likes the picture frames decorating the hallway, and -- huffing and swearing all the way through -- mentally admits that: The perverted old man has a damn fine taste in Art.

"Shut up. Spare me of your moralizing speech; I can see it coming when it's miles away from me and, right now, my nose is already stuffed with the stench of it."

As an amused chuckle flies from between a cigarette-occupied mouth, lazy feet make their way across the room, the couch swallowing the weight, as Asami sits himself and props a sleeved-up arm on the back of it. "Why, children must be properly scolded, must they not? After all, it's the adults' duty to raise them up as good citizens."

The amusement fucking glows in that sentence, and Takaba snaps. Throwing the keys half-assedly to the glass table supporting the phone, force enough to almost crack the surface at the contact, and dismissing the loud clunk that resonates from such, he strides in a straight path from the hall to the living room. Stomping the breaks and screeching centimeters away from his lover, Takaba forces himself not to clench his fists, in an attempt to disguise exactly how much the older man's mere words can rill him up to murdering degree. He somehow manages to do so, and praising himself at the bit of control he is finally able to maintain after all this time in front of the other, he all but lets a light-hearted laugh slip.

"I've told you before; don't make it sound like you're my dad or something. That's disgusting, you know? Even for you." Takaba lets himself snicker now, at his own wording; the spur of anger dispersing as quickly as it came.

"Not only the innate capacity for general bad behavior but your manners and language keep on regressing every day. It sounds to me like you're in need of punishment -- again. Ah, I know. You seem so keen on always remembering me I'm not your father, Akihito, could it be that you have a complex? What do you want me to do? Shall we explore that secret incest fetish of yours? Say the word, and I'll make you happy."

And just like that, a sword-cutting instance of time is all it takes for all the control and pride to shatter to pieces.

"Baka! Hentai! (*) You're the one with the fetishes! What kind of shit are you saying?" Cheeks reddened with fury and shame, arms flailing up and down and eyes wide open in disbelief, Takaba rants on. "No, seriously, where the hell do you come from with all that stuff? Jeez!"

The only response he gets is a low chuckling sound, as the yakuza lifts himself from laying on the couch to reach for the coffee table, stubbing the cigarette butt in the crystal ashtray set on its center. Reclining back down, Asami unfastens his tie, then takes his time on the first buttons of his white shirt, which starts parting as he goes and giving way to the view of his toned chest. As he looks up, hazel eyes are fixed on the newly discovered lick-worthy skin, propelling an overbearing grin out of him.

Taking notice of his uncontrolled drooling face, Takaba blinks once, twice and looks away -- not that there's any use in doing it by now, because after all: Asami can read me like I'm one of his damned filthy reports.; or so his two currently functioning neurons keep on remembering him in a mumble -- but it's more the force of the habit than anything else. He also barely blushes anymore -- except when they are in the middle of… exercising, and it's just because it makes his heart beat so fast it'll jump out of his thoracic box, and his breathing so harsh he thinks he's going to pass out from oxygen deprivation -- as opposite to the old days when he'd erupt in flames at the sight of the other. He gets plenty flustered alright, there's no way to prevent his reactions any more than that, for the constant fight to contain the excessive blush takes most of his efforts. Regularly. On a daily basis.

Takaba would say that the desire is still the same, but that would be wrong. The truth is that, as the years went by, the want and need only intensified -- as if it wasn't already enough for him to go bat-shit-insane in the past. So he muses that it's actually pretty great that he can get a hold of himself much better now, or he wouldn't be able to live with Asami, to be so damn close to Asami, without exploding in some sort of way. Besides, he isn't innocent anymore; sure, he continues to be a naïve, honest -- aside from when his feelings are concerned -- brat-slash-adult in training that fights for his beliefs, stalks and brings down crime lords (despite lov -- pardon, living with the most powerful and dangerous of them all) and keeps on saying that someday, it'll be him that will support said crime lord.

Yup, innocence forever lost. And don't get me started on the issue of my (in)sanity…

Turning his head back in the dark haired man's direction, Takaba confronts eyes than could melt the Sun, and he can feel himself wielding to their power, wanting nothing but to drown in them and their honey-colored, smoldering lava. Yet, he isn't called an obstinate brat without basis -- because really, when does Asami say, or do, whatever it is without grounds to it? -- thus, he 'breaks the cutie', so to say, and does one of the things, aside from photography, he's an expert at: bristling at Asami. Taking in a portion of air and releasing a sigh in sequence, he pierces Asami with his own feral glare… and starts whining. "Mou ii, that's enough. I'm gonna go make some food, 'm starving. 'Cause as you -- should -- and fucking deserve -- and yet, unfortunately, don't seem to know: the meals given to you in jail are what you may call… 'inedible' in your polite speech. I prefer to call it 'dog shit'. Now go clean up your gun or something and leave me the hell alone for a while or I swear -- I'll poison your damn food!"

Takaba starts walking away, and as he's at a foot's distance from being out of the room, he pivots back just so, side-glancing at the seated mafia boss with a hint of a smirk of his own right. "And I won't make a mistake a third time, you hear me, Asami?"

A pleasantly entertained snort in answer. As if you'd actually waste an ounce of your treasured fixer on such a barbaric act. Brat.

The television lights up on the news channel and, as Takaba steps along the hall to the bedroom, another Dunhill is lit.

Jacket stripped and hanged, Takaba gives up on changing clothes entirely in order to appease his growling stomach first. On the way to the kitchen, a blinking light catches his eyes and a photographer's finger presses the button of the telephone answering device like he would the button of a camera. Beep.

{ "Akihito, it's mother. Father and I are coming to Tokyo tomorrow and coming by. We should be there by noon. Say hi to Ryuuichi. Mom loves you. See you tomorrow." }

Beep.

"And we were just trading opinions on your father-complex, too. Such a coincidence, don't you think? Akihito."

"…"

The door of the fridge is opened again and the ramen cup captured just a minute ago returns to its rightful place. The glass of the window would almost be happy to crack when Takaba's raging growl comes spurting out loud. "A - sa - miii… why the hell didn't you listen to the voice mail yesterday?!"

Cool like an ice cube, the unaffected response propagates from the living room to the kitchen. "Don't blame me, I did not come back home last night. Stayed at the office. Just passed by in the morning to take a shower and change clothes before leaving to pick up someone from behind bars."

"Well, thank you very much for taking five minutes of your precious time to do that! And it was your fault that you let me be taken in in the first place! And if you were oh so thoughtful to get my tennis you could have checked the messages, naa?!"

"A waste of effort, really. If the issue happens to be terribly important the caller will phone again later. And shouldn't you be wasting your time on something else than dropping the fault upon me -- as per usual; something like having lunch done? You know how your father is when he's hungry; you're just like him, after all."

A glance at the clock hanging on the wall -- tic-tacking loudly just to piss him off. Twelve twenty-seven PM… shit.

"Aaargh! You guys drive me crazy! Please tell me we have groceries!" An apron is pulled up and tied around.

"Kirishima stocked up yesterday."

"…I love that man."

Open the cupboard, take out the rice package; pan on the stove, drip some oil on it; take out the vegetables, knife on hand. Chop, chop, chop. Takaba's housewifing skills warm up and do their thing.

…Until a pair of warm hands appear at Takaba's waist. Fingers molding the skin through the fabric of the shirt, attempting to free it from the confines of the dress pants.

"You really do look good in a suit; I've told you quite a handful of times before. You should wear them more often. The apron gives it a fresh feeling, too."

Seducing bastard. Takaba wriggles a bit but Asami's hold on him doesn't falter. "Nn, stop it! Would you stop trying to feel me up when I'm cooking?!"

Ding, dong.

"See?! They're here! Now go get the door, please." Takaba's teeth gritting and forming unhappy sparks as his voice rasps the last word.

Asami's hand slowly caresses the blonde's left butt cheek -- which gains him a mule kick that he skillfully dodges. Amused, he steps back from the kitchen and approaches the front door.

The handle is forced down and, as the door opens, two people come into view.

"Ryuuichi!"

Asami's lips brush a kiss to the back of the lady's hand.

"Ara my, always the charming gentleman." A kiss to his cheek in reply and her long, blonde hair waves with the movement.

"It's ever the pleasure to see you, too, Sora."

"Ryuuichi."

"Kensei."

Familiar hazel, but more mature, glass-protected irises on raw, amber ones. A slight bow forward by the two men. A hand shake follows.

"How are you?"

Smiling brightly, the Takabas' family head starts enthusiastically. "Everything's fine. I had to come to the city for some work and she insisted -- read blackmailed me -- in coming together and visiting the two of you." And, while the enthusiasm does not wither, by the end of the declaration the joviality gives way to seriousness. "Listen, Ryuuichi, I had to cover an important event a few weeks ago and I caught wind of something that might be of your interest."

The arch of a fine eyebrow. "Oh?"

By now they've long traversed the entrance and are getting their backsides acquainted with the softness of the sofa.

"Ryuuichi, dear, you're more and more handsome every time I put my eyes on you."

"You flatter me."

Eyes like a dead-fish, watching the show and, apparently, not enjoying it, one Takaba Akihito makes himself known. "Oi… when you stop fawning over the bastard over there, take a look over here. It's me, Akihito, your son; remember me?"

Gracing the air with her fluttery laugh, the only female present leaves her seat, takes a couple of steps forward and touches her palm to Takaba's face. "Don't be like that, sweetie, we just saw you the other day."

A mouth falls open in incredulity. "You saw us both on the same day! Ugh, why do I even -- it's always the same thing every damn time…" Mumble, mumble, grumble. "…whatever… Hey, dad. And mom, help me set the table, 'kay?"

"Of course, dear." Following behind the feisty young man, with an indulging tone and motherly smile dressing her expression and she knows her child can't exactly stay mad. Sora snaps her head around, though, and her intonation changes quite drastically for a moment. "And the two of you, don't drown yourselves in nicotine and alcohol before eating."

"Yes, yes." Dismissing his wife's impetuous remark with the flick of his hand, the older photographer shares a conspiratorial smirk with his fellow addict.

"One yes is fine!"

*

"I still can't believe my eyes. How could you have cut your beautiful hair just like that?"

"It was a hindrance. I simply got rid of it. I was hoping I had also gotten rid of some other rather big and yellow hindrance as well, but I see I am not allowed such luck."

"You hurt my feelings, beautiful dragon. And I came here to say my goodbyes, too."

"At last. I was starting to think you were planning on living here. Taking into account you actually brought me profitable business this time, I'll let you get away with it. Have in mind, though, just because I've done it twice now it does not mean we'll have a third repeat."

"I'll save your words like a treasure. Well then, I'll be hoping to see you again soon."

"Don't expect the same feeling from my part." A reluctant pause. "…by the way, Arbatov…"

"Yes?"

"I've meant to ask before -- but your always present idiocy tends to make my focus go astray -- wasn't it your costume to parade that Right Hand of yours by your side at all times? Since he's long gone… could it be that you haven't replaced him yet?"

Mikhail sounds truly surprised at the question and has a sudden air around him that screams: What the hell are you talking about, doll face? and the dark haired man shudders at the prospect of being referred to by such a disgusting nickname.

"Long gone…?"

Then it all seems to finally dawn on him, because Mikhail unleashes a wry laugh and it sounds playful, even with a hint of resentment, when he talks again. "I forgot; you couldn't have known… The lucky old man didn't kick the bucket, after all. Truth be told, I didn't know myself until a couple of years ago."

Albeit intrigued, the Chinese can't help but regret having fallen for his own curiosity, for it had been just the perfect excuse for the blonde to turn around and happily join him on the table, to share the story and the drinks. Mikhail wouldn't stop yapping anytime soon now, for sure, so Fei Long thinks he might as well throw down the alcohol down his throat in one go -- for he had, with headstrong willfulness, trained his previously terrible alcoholic resistance in the last few years -- and listen to Russian-coated-Japanese be spoken from between the other man's lips.

*

The dark brown liquid on the cup, cradled by elegant, feminine hands, is slurped as quietly as possible. "…Akihito, how are Mei and Takato faring lately? They have called but the Kamiyas -- "

"Indirectly begged you to check up on them. With me."

A smile.

"They're getting along fine… well, as much as they can, I guess. Actually I haven't been with Takato in a week or so but he told me they had an appointment with the OBG for soon…ish? So… but I don't know if they went already or not."

"I see. They haven't been to Yokohama lately, ever since it happened, so her parents were getting worried…"

"Yeah, I can understand their preoccupation. Though, I don't think there's much to worry over. And there isn't anything they can do for them, really. Besides, I know them, they're strong so they won't lose their drive for long."

"You think they'll try again?"

Takaba's look is confident. "I'm sure of it. I bet they're only waiting for the doctor's go-ahead."

"Oh, that is good to hear, then."

Coming back from taking a call in his study room, a hundred and eighty-five centimeters of coiled power re-joins them. His attention is on the heterosexual couple in the room. "My apologies, but I'm required in the office. I shall take my leave. I trust I'll see you both soon?"

"Of course, dear, don't delay yourself on our behalf." Sora's smile talks for herself, as her chin rests on both her hands.

Kensei completes the answer. "We'll be here for Akihito's birthday, if not any sooner. Take care, Ryuuichi."

"Likewise."

"Hey, if you're coming home late I'm not waiting for you to eat!"

"Akihito, what poor manners, was this how I educated you?"

"I've been trying without success to… re-train him but he's much too stubborn. I'll be early..." Slow smirk ascending the line that separates a pair of malefic lips. "…in the morning. Behave and be a good boy." Asami closes the door swiftly, timing it perfectly to avoid the couch pillow that comes flying in his direction like an arrow.

"You ass!"

Chuckle. "The two of you are always so entertaining. It's a joy to watch."

"I couldn't agree more."

"I'm shining with happiness knowing that you have fun observing me being mentally stepped upon."

"Don't be so resentful, Akihito. Mother will do the dishes for you so forgive me?"

"Come, Akihito, I have new albums to show you."

"Great! I'll go get mine!" And I'm gonna get what you talked with Asami about out of you, old man.

Sora hums merrily as her soapy hands sponge the remains of lunch off of the dishware as two easily distracted hazel eyed men chat passionately about photography on the comfort of the living room.

*

The way Mikhail had narrated the full story, not short of details that did not in actual fact have any persistence, was… exquisite. Fei Long was sure that, if not having practiced it for hours until it had been perfected to the utmost, then he had been damned dying to tell the tale to someone, anyone. After the long and, quite frankly, unwanted – for the most part – conversation, he let his emerald green changshan wipe the inexistent dust of the ground as he, not bothering with politeness, ushered the hopeless flirt out of his property with unrelenting finality.

Now, stilling his gaze on the Japanese man who had been by his side during the whole of the occurrence, he waits for the request that will certainly come out in a second.

"Fei Long-sam -- "

"You have my permission. Do as you like."


The tight line suppressed a smile and he bowed deeply in reverence and gratitude.

"You… admire him, don't you? And respect him. Still."


The answer is prompt, unhesitant. "Always."


A contemplative look; a heartfelt chuckle; a nod in dismissal.

The suited man takes his leave with unspoken words of: Thank you. For understanding; for knowing that with this, it doesn't mean my loyalty doesn't belong to you solely; for trusting me again, after everything.

The door is closed gently and the wind makes the red cloth attached to it flutter lightly.

*

Red strokes across a young man's head, much like bloody flames. It's just Kurosaki's hair, though. Hard to believe it's natural.

"I swear 'Shima-san, the man doesn't do anything out of the ordinary, same routine day after day after day…"

Accounting. Kirishima's favorite main dish. Having its taste utterly destroyed by the red head's ranting. It's nothing unexpected, these days, but today… today is accounting day. Redirecting his glass-vision from foolish scarlet to blinding white, Asami Ryuuichi's first assistant pushes the youngster's existence to the bottom of the well and his disinterested voice cuts through the small distance between them. "For the thousandth time, it's Kirishima. Kurosaki, Asami-sama does not pay you a salary for you to complain. If you don't mind throwing your life away for him, I'm more than certain you are able to do such a simple thing as this without making noise."

Like a spoiled toddler who doesn't get want he wants when he wants it, Kurosaki presses a bit more. "This and that are different matters! That Miller guy is -- he's most likely just some distressed ossan who went through some nasty times in his life and just wants to settle down and enjoy the rest of his days peacefully. He does nothing but take walks sightseeing, go the doctor -- and by the frequency in which he does it, it must be quite the sickness -- and shop for food."

Were the kid not extremely good and skilled at what he does -- steady hands; nearly perfect aim; equivalent to master-ranking in Capoeira; quick-thinking -- his personality would have already been the end of him. Getting serious only during life-or-death situations isn't a bad trait but there's a limit to being annoying and whiny. Kirishima sighs and takes a moment to convince himself that it is not his fault that his apprentice turned out like this. But then thinks back because it is his merit that Red is such a well-trained employee. It's a draw, then.

"Such a poetic thing to say. Now, that you've released some bottled up stress, buck up and go do your job. Slacking off isn't like you."

Crossing his toned arms behind his head, Kurosaki grins and sing-songs. "Yeees, Sir ~ "

And yet, his serious eyes betray the light-heartedness of the indulgence to his superior.

*

Takaba's body feels sore and tired. He arrives at home, fills the bathtub with scalding water and all but dives inside after hurriedly taking off his clothes, leaving them scattered on the light blue tiled floor. The temperature coaxes his muscles into a relaxed state. "Aaa, Suoh-san, my revenge will be terrifying! I'm gonna topple you to the ground and make you beg for mercy!" A fist to the air in a 'GO! FIGHT!' gesture, the impact causing water to splash everywhere. Exhaling and calming himself, he lies back down and re-watched his day's on the screen of his mind:

Having forgotten it was gun target practice today instead of sparring session, Takaba woke up feeling all pumped up with the knowledge that he'd have his turn in making the bleach haired bodyguard pay for having him sleep in the freezing cubicle of the prison cell. Tough luck of his, he was dragged by Oonishi -- bearded, silent, butler-type employee part of Suoh's security unit -- with one leg of his workout pants yet to dress, to the indoors area of Asami's personal shooting range and trusted with a .45 ACP semi-automatic, soon left to his own devices. Flabbergasted, Takaba blamed his bad memory and equally bad schedule organizing skills and his neck cracked as he stretched the residual laziness away.

'Nothing else to it…' Ear protection on, the photographer cocked his gun and schemed Suoh's demise with each succinct bullet that he proudly -- after some years of hard work and extreme effort -- usually puts in the two circles closest to the center of the target, utmost center circle inclusive.

A mere three hours into the afternoon, the illumination is clear from the outside through the blinds of the window in the kitchen. The can of soda finds itself being forcefully dropped in the bin after being emptied of beverage.

Takaba gives up on the idea of developing some films on the dark room and, all drowsy, hair still dripping from the hot bath, stumbles dead-like onto the bed and quickly falls into a deep slumber.

*

A single uncovered eye twinkles in mirth; gloved hands crumpling the prescription for a second before realization kicks in and those same hands pull the sheet of paper back to its original form. Leaving the clinic and limping his way down the road to the nearest pharmacy, the middle-aged man re-arranges the hair covering his right eye, slightly out of place due to the brief, harsh breeze that whispers by.

The leaves on the trees noisily mesh with the wind and the man's sinister quarter of a smile is hidden by said trees' their shadows as the sunset closes in.

"It's almost time."

*

A buzzing sound disturbs the quietude.

Asami gets up from the bed, which creaks from the loss of weight above it, and naked feet stride gracefully across the room. The sun is barely coming into view now, Asami notices as he passes by the open curtains that decorate the door to the veranda. The sound feels nearer now, emanating from the small object on the top of the coffee table. Asami grabs his blackberry and looks at the bright screen with squinty eyes.

| Yoh calling |

 

Chapter Text

 



"Glad to hear you're still breathing."

"Asami-san..." Yoh starts, then corrects himself. "Ryuuichi." And that is as far as pleasantries go before Yoh starts on the reason for getting in contact.

He lets Asami know that the day before, when Mikhail had suddenly 'dropped by' at Baishe as if it were an everyday occurrence, on a whim to pester Fei Long—to make business, or so he'd said, which had actually been true, to certain point.. Lets him know that the leader of the Russian Mob, being the loud mouth he is, in the middle of all the nonsense, ended up telling them his uncle was still alive (and kicking)—an epic tale of adventure in which he'd made his come-back two years prior or so, had been rescued from the sea by a group of fisher men and remained with them in a city around Macau for three years, being in a coma all the while.

It was a given, having been shot by Asami just barely a centimeter from perforating brain tissue, straight in one eye, as well as falling from the ship, left to sink and be washed and trashed around in freezing waters for who knows how long. Although, in Asami's opinion, it might very well still not been enough, seeing as Yuri Arbatov had been a Goddamned lucky bastard to get away alive after all that.

Cockroach.

Yoh tells him more, tells him that when asked about Yuri's whereabouts and why they weren't together, Mikhail had told them the older Arbatov had grabbed some money, not much longer than a six months ago, and left with only word that he was going to travel for a while and things left unfinished.

After that, Asami only says, "You needn't have done this," and, "Your debt to me has long been repaid."

"I know," Yoh conceds, to which Asami says nothing for a whole minute.

"Thank you, Yoh."

"It was nothing."

The first time and only time he'd seem Yoh smile had been long, long ago but he can still recognize it on the tone of his voice alone.

There are some things you never forget.

*

Asami dips back into the bed, the springs cringing softly with the addition of weight. Takaba grunts and turns around towards him when the sheets pull.

"Got back to sleep," Asami tells him, and hears a second grunt. An arm sneaks around his waist.

"Not work?" Takaba asks, his voice tick with sleep, slurring around the edges.

Asami ponders as he rests his gaze upon him. He was going to regret this, but. Oh, well. There was no way he was going to fall asleep again at any rate. "It was Yoh."

"Uh. Yoh." A few seconds go by in silence. "WHAT?!" Right on schedule.

"Sleep."

"Absolutely not," says Takaba. Always the stubborn one. "Spill." Hazel eyes flare open and Takaba's mouth doesn't take long to stretch in this equally wide smile; the one he can't help when he gets an excellent shot. Fortunately for Asami, Takaba appears to be too happy at the prospect of Yoh being well and doesn't wait for Asami to open his mouth—be it to answer him or distract him from the topic at hand. "I'm... so glad he's alive. After—after we came back and you told me about him and that he stayed behind I… was worried, you know, a lot. I doubted Fei Long would go as far as to kill him but… It's good to know he's doing okay."

"Hm. You did get pretty friendly with him during your stay in Hong Kong, I believe."

Takaba synchronizes to his mocking tone and there are still residues of something else there; a little of guilt mixed with contempt, perhaps. "Pfff, well yeah, I was definitely an awesome vacation, the best of my life: pretty Chinese clothes, ink, casino, drugs—" He helds a hand up and counts with the help of his fingers. Then he uses his fist and punches Asami's middle with it. It's just enough to feel it before it could cause damage.

"Only you to speak of that time like that, makes it seem like I got to stay in a luxury resort," Takaba rants. Sitting cross-legged, he gets serious again. "But, yeah, I mean, he was the only decent person around, aside from Tao—what's with that face? Asami… don't tell me you're… jealous…?" He beamed.

Asami snorted. "Such a foolish thing to say. And, the way I see it, the only one who would have palpable reasons to be—'jealous, was it?—in this situation would be yourself." He pounces.

There's a tongue. "Wh-what are you sayin—" It's wet. "Wha...?" And it licks Takaba's neck.

Asami can head the wheels turnings inside the younger man's head as he struggles to fight Asami off and pull his mouth back agaist him at the same time.

"You beast." There it is. "Don't tell me you ate Yoh up too?!"

Asami only chuckles. Takaba fumes. There is actually smoke coming out of his ears and his face is on fire. It isn't completely adequate but he was quite like a human cigarette and Asami had been born with an oral fixation, gotten an acquired taste along the way—he couldn't help wanted to put his mouth on it, on him.

"…Or… did you let him eat you…?" Takaba turns, pins Asami to the bed and kisses his jaw. It's there, that utterly embarrassed look on his blushing face—the look Asami loves to see and put there himself. "Ugh. You're too obscene, old man," he mostly mutters to himself under his breath.

Asami hears it, however, and almost smiles at him. "That's for me to know and for you to keep wondering about."

Takaba tugs and tugs, insistent, incessant, until Asami sags, lets Takaba mold him to his liking and ends up stomach down. Asami's hand sneaks about until a pillow is caught in his grip and he hugs the soft object to him, burying his face on it and turns the thinking off for a few minutes.

The feel of a wet tongue sampling the ridge of his spine is relaxing and his closes his eyes.

*

Asami is fucking around in the bathroom—and how much time in his life must the man spend on brushing his teeth, God!—when his phone starts ringing again. Kirishima's name appears on the screen. It might be important. Takaba answers it.

"Yes?" The sole of his foot decides just then to start hitching. The photographer jumps around, trying to scratch it with his free hand, only to end up bumping into the edge of the bed and falling on it with a huff.

"Asami… -sama?" Kirishima sounds uncertain—which just didn't fit him at all—and Takaba finds that particularly hilarious. That and the only way his voice would ever come close to sounding like Asami's was if he got drunk and stoned and sung until his vocal cords felt raw and then chugged a barrel of softening-agent down his throat to add smooth to the rough. And even then, yeah, it was still a bit of a stretch. A really big, nice, long stretch.

Takaba chuckles. "Kirishima-san?" he asks, with just as much uncertainty in it, just to fuck with the man because hey, he didn't get to do that as often as he'd like.

He listen to a sigh from the other side of the line. "Takaba-kun."

Asami comes into the room, then—soft cotton towel around his neck, absorbing the stray droplets which dare let go of his bangs, bangs that are starting to curl almost imperceptibly at the back of his neck, as it always did. His hair always reverses to perfectly straight on its own after it dries and it never fails to fascinate Takaba.

"I heard a phone," Asami says. "Yours?"

"Yours," says Takaba, and hands him the phone with a jiggle.

The conversation is brief and mostly one-sided, with Kirishima probably reporting in detail and Asami humming his acknowledgement. An ordinary person wouldn't have noticed but the small pinched look Asami gets on his face is a sure sign of him being bothered, Takaba knows.

Takaba studies the older man as he hangs up and throws the phone on the bed, his expression back to the usual blank look. "Somethin' wrong?" he ventures.

Asami looks him in the eye. "Yes," he confirms as he moves to the living room. "Come. I'll tell you all about it."

Takaba decides to put his surprise aside (for a later and very thorough introspection regarding Asami's prompt disposition to actually discuss his troubles with him, what the hell?) and hastily takes a seat on the couch.

*

"How much and for how long?"

"Sir. Solitary confinement for two days. Electrics shocks for twenty minutes now, minimum to low-medium intensity."

Asami nods, says, "We're taking over," and hears the 'Already, sir?' that isn't voiced out loud but is written all over his subordinate's face, who only bows and leaves along with his partner.

Kirishima approaches him, takes his place at his right. "Shall I go fetch a seat, Asami-sama?"

"No need. There is one right here and about to be vacant, too."

The man in the center of the room is stripped bare, useless limbs tied with rope that has carved into discolored skin, biting into the flesh and claiming black bruises as proof. On Asami's lips, a cigarette is proudly in display, the smoke of it traveling with ease through the confined space.

Asami approaches the seated man and kicks one of the legs of the chair, quickly and with strength enough to make it move from under the man's ass and topple to the ground with a thud. The man lands bottom-first ass on the floor with a disgruntled sound.

"The toxin penetrated your brain's wiring," says Asami to the fallen man. "It juggled your thoughts, that's the reason as to why you are not in your right mind right now."

He doesn't turn as he addressed a different subject. "Have the table brought up, Suoh." And yet another. "Kirishima. You may sit." The announcement is smooth, with a pinch of pepper. "If you'd like," he adds, as if it were ever an option to Kirishima not do what he were told.

And Kirishima knows that, knows he has no other path to take but to obey. His mouth presses firmly into a tight line. A man knows he's being punished when numbers and guns are taken away from and him and he's given… 'this'. So I'm being required compensation as well, hm? A soft sigh leaves him. "Yes, Sir."

"Toshima. How long are you planning on drooling on my floor? Put your mouth to better use and talk. Did you really think you'd get away with crossing me like that?"

Coughing and grunting in pain, Toshima manages, "You'll pay… pay for this, Asami." His throat's inside walls are scratched raw and the sound it produces was not appealing in the least, grating to the ears.

"Will I now?" The vermin's audacity amuses him to no end. But it isn't nowhere near enough for him to feel a shred of pity when the last of the fight he still has in him wore off. "I'd think that it was you who was already paying for what you were attempting to do.

"Recklessness or stupidity, I wonder. Both, perhaps? At any rate, sending that bitch of yours to spy on me was a bad idea, Toshima. Safe sources let me know about your little get together with Madara. Say…"

Crouching in one dexterous move Asami continues his taunting. "You've been awfully close as of late, have you not? First that auction stunt and now that reception in the art gallery? The Old Man isn't so careless as to let himself be seen out there in the open, so carelessly, much less accompanied by trash such as yourself. This is something big, isn't it? What is he planning, Toshima?

"Tell me what you know and maybe, just maybe, I won't have you embalmed the way you deserve."

Toshima's nostrils flare in fury, little confidence he had to begin with dissipating, fear emanating out of him like sweat, but he says nothing.

Asami's head leans graciously to his right. "You know Kirishima, right? My most trusted man. If you didn't, you do now. I'm sure after you get... acquainted with one another, you will get along nicely the rest of the day.

"If you're going to be a fisherman, a teacher, a designer, a criminal—whatever it is that you end up choosing to do in life—at the very least, do it like you mean it. Pursue it, give it your all. Otherwise, as it is, you're nothing more than a piece of trash. And trash goes in the trash can.

"Lets give our esteemed guest a nice manicure." Asami throws an askew nod in Toshima's general direction. "Three should do."

The smoke and smell of nicotine follow Asami's tall form to the corner of the wall he chooses to lean against, crosses his feet and gazes ahead with boredom.

Kirishima sighs once more. He delves a hand into his inside breast-pocket, taking out a velvet napkin. He takes his time, plucking off his glasses and scrubbing the lens, and then he re-arranges them, resigning himself to the lowly job he is about to do. It had been a while, quite a long while since he'd done such a thing. There was no nostalgia in this. Too messy, too crude, too… tasteless, somehow. However, Asami is not happy. Appeasing him by being his stepping stone is nothing more, nothing less than his duty.

Suoh settles a tool on the table and the metallic base knocks into the wood. It has a raised ridge illustrating where the arm goes, a small receptacle to insert a finger at a time and two small leather belts for securing purposes. Opposite to it are a sort of pliers look-alike, nailed to the metal. Effortlessly, Suoh then grabs Toshima by the neck and forces him to kneel next to the table.

Kirishima sits down on the chair, at last, and politely requests, "If you would please be cooperative, Toshima-sama, we will be done with the procedure much sooner than predicted." Kirishima squints, displeased, and his gentle smile is fake, chilling. I'm certain you'd appreciate that as well."

*

"Mikhail Arbatov was here, in Hong Kong."

"Yuri Arbatov… he's alive."

"Pairs of bullets (…) Beretta (…) his eyesight (…) and leg (…) years in a coma (…) self-mutilation (…) psychosis (…) back to Russia (…) money (…) disappeared with nothing but a (…)"

"Yuri (…) alive."

*

"...mi-sama. Boss?"

"Hn," Asami grunts softly, stray thoughts scattering without wind. He turns his attention back to Kirishima.

"My apologies." Kirishima sounds amused behind those glasses. "Am I boring you?"

Asami has the urge to scoff. He doesn't. "Certainly not," he says instead. "Do continue."

A nod. Kirishima's hand presses the lever. Click. Snap. Rip—"AHHHH!"—Another nail gone.

A thumb dips in the small puddle of blood that remains where a nail should be. Asami presses until it hurts, until it hurts more, until it becomes unbearable, until the following scream blasts away the last. He lets his tongue swipe it from his finger and makes a barely there sound of distaste.

"Even your blood is rotten. Let us finish this, Kirishima."

Kirishima nods again, switching the tool to the next finger. The man finds his long lost (but for intelligible pained grunts and screams) voice— spit and blood on the corner of his mouth, eyes popping out of orbit, salty tears blurring his sight—and pleads for him to stop with the pledge and swearing that he'll lay everything he knows on the table.

The table where his blood has already spilled.

The infuriating corner where Asami's upper lip meets his lower one lifts up so much it's almost vertical.

*

Asami had shown up to two of Takaba's that week.

The boy had been as close to begging as he's ever seen him, his self-confidence at its lowest, as he implored Asami not to come today because, and Asami quotes, "Your 'dogs' get overpowered every time you come to watch, so I have no chance in hell of winning."

Naturally, Asami couldn't not come a fourth time and miss another show.

Takaba is busy in the middle of training—sweat spreading down his worked limbs, between the soaked edges of his tank top, turning the fabric dark; down the dip of his hips, disappearing into the waistband of his blue sweat pants—as Asami arrives at the dōjō. He doesn't notice him immediately, takes his opponent's strength to his favor and spins fast to crack a knee against the other's ribs.

He is soon to be pulled out of his battle trance by the clapping of Asami's hands—slow, measured and, yes, a bit teasing as he confirms by swiping around—spotting Asami leaning comfortable against the sliding door.

Takaba snaps back into attention, not taking his eyes from his opponent and makes a gesture with his fingers, calling Asami, defying him.

Kirishima, however, had noticed his arrival at once. Just as well. "Asami-sama..." he starts.

"It's fine," Asami dismisses. "You two just watch today," he says and Suoh gets the clue and, after a mutual bow with Takaba, draws back from the match, pulling his disheveled gi back into place.

Kirishima sighs and closes his eyes in defeat. Asami turns to Takaba.

"I don't want to listen to your complaints later about being too sore to have sex."

Kirishima forces out a pitiful cough. He doesn't press for a coughing fit but Asami knows he wants to do so—badly. And, predictably, Suoh is fumbling and turning pink on his own as he stretches.

"Ha! As if that would stop you. Not even locked doors can hold against you. But I won't, don't worry. Actually, I have an idea: let's make a bet."

An eyebrow rises in question with unquestionable elegance. "A bet? Are you truly thinking you have a change of winning against me?"

"Don't be stupid, I have notion of my current abilities! The deal's like this: if I can manage to land five hits on you within half an hour, I win."

Asami gives him a softer version of his scornful look. "Hn. Still seems like a bit of a stretch to me."

"Well, I might not be a black belt like a certain someone but that doesn't mean I can't make you fall on your ass at least once," says Takaba, who looks just a bit hurt and a lot like he wants to beat him to the ground. "Don't underestimate me so much, Asami." It sounds like an advice. "We're on, right? Or are you afraid?" He offers a challenging grin.

Asami chuckles. "Is that your secret weapon to make me accept your challenge? Fine by me, I'll humor you. Let's get on with it, then."

Asami starts getting rid of his jacket. Next goes his vest. His tie goes loose around his collar. Takaba's eyes follow his every movement.

"What do you want as your prize—in the highly improbable case you achieve victory?"

"If I win..." Takaba licks his thumb as Asami discards his black tie and, with a finger, snaps open the first buttons of his pale blue dress shirt. He was flushed red from the exercise and, very likely, from embarrassment too, but didn't look away and wore his never lost shyness with pride. "I'll be on top all night. No switching."

Asami's peripheral vision catches the twitch that prickles over his men's stoic faces at Takaba's words and finds it more amusing than he probably should. He lets his smirk widen. "Did you plan this with antecedence?" The prodding is light and makes Takaba duck his head to hide what might be a smile from him. "I must say," he confesses, "I'm impressed."

Two little imaginary horns sprout from Takaba's head, a small tail from his behind. In Takaba's expression is clear the struggle he goes by to control his laughter and he whines—all not-quite-fake but a bit enforced innocence. Making an attempt to diffuse the attention from himself he goes all out. "Kirishima-san is ssooo red, red like whoa, mind out of the gutter!"

Said man makes a strangled sound.

Wearing a scowl and a smile from ear to ear, Takaba closes both his fists in a tight grip and gets into fighting stance.

"C'mon, Asami."

Sleeves pulled up, Asami brings a cigarette to his lips and dips it on a flame before returning the carton and the lighter to his pocket and throwing the jacket for Kirishima to catch.

"Don't think I'll go easy on you."

"That's just how I want it, you bastard."

Takaba relies a lot on his lower body strength. Suoh had told him from the beginning his leg power was one of his best points so great part of his training focuses on it. As a result, he uses a lot of kicking while sparring. Not only with force of impact but with direction and knowledge of where to lock his attacks on, as well and a vast number of acrobatics and types of leg exercises and jumps. He's not so good at punching, though. Actually, he utterly fails at it. Unless he adversary is statue-still, because otherwise—

Asami ducks a feet to the skull right on time. "So agile," he tells Takaba. "Like a feline."

Takaba's lip twitches into a pout, as if he knew Asami had been badmouthing his non-existent boxing skills. Maybe he did. He had never been slow on the uptake but since he started accepting and understanding himself better it also made him more focused, gave him a clearer vision of things. "You and the cat-thing again. That'll be a permanent kink, won't it? It'll never go away." His shoulder pops when he shrugs it backwards in a stretch.

Asami smirks. "You should already know just how fond I am of cats, Akihito."

"Oh, I'm sorry, was that a joke?"

"You've been so prissy as of lately. What's wrong?" As if he didn't know the cause of it. As if he weren't the cause of it. Indirectly, at least.

"Noth—" Takaba is abruptly cut off and puffs out a sharp breath as he blocks Asami's jab with an arm shielding his chest. A jump backwards and he resumes his stance.

"Asami" His voice is steady, serious. "What happened to the girl? The one that was with me when the cops arrested me."

He goes for it but Asami dodges his kick easily. "So that's what's been bothering you," he drawls leisurely, knowingly. "So predictable."

Takaba is feeling wired and sweaty and wants answers. He snaps. "Why are you like this? You knew exactly what the issue was but you just kept on waiting until I burst the bubble on my own."

A hint of an opening peaks at him from Asami's blind spot. He focuses on the accuracy and doesn't put much force behind the attack. The thing is, Asami might have blind spots like anyone else—he's only human—but he makes up for it with some kind of freaky sixth or seventh sense and, no longer than a heartbeat of being socked to the gut, he's already pinning Takaba to the mats with a deadly grip on his wrists.

Takaba's breast bone screams in pain and he manages a groaned, "How infuriating," and "Hate you, swear to God, fuckin' hate your guts.

Grinning down at him, Asami stands in all of his barely disturbed glory, a rare bead of sweat extinguishing down the low of his throat. "Why, it's much more interesting this way, don't you agree?"

"No, no, I don't agree and you're aware of it," Takaba forces between gritted teeth. "Now can you please, oh great Devil King, answer my question?"

"What leads you to think that I may know about said girl's condition and whereabouts?"

"I just do." He glares. "'Cause I know you."

Those amber eyes narrow. "Oh? Do you, now? Well, seeing as you are, indeed, correct, for once, I shall reward you with a proper answer.

"She was taken to a child refuge near Niigata. I hear the living conditions are, at least, mediocre and there isn't really anything much to complain about." Asami finishes with a smug smile. "Satisfied?"

"Uh. Thanks. I guess?" Takaba mumbles, not having expected to have his need to know sated so soon, if at all. "Still..." he says, not trusting Asami's apparent act of goodwill. "You could have just told me right away, if you bothered to ask around about it. Sadistic freak."

The smirk on Asami's face evaporates. "How naïve of you. And quite the hypocrite too, don't you think?" Now a wry curl of lips takes the amused smirk's place as an eyebrow goes up and gains a life of its own, provoking Takaba into anger. "Aren't you interested in the well-being of all the other 'products' as well? You're only asking about the one you were able to save?"

His tone is deeply condescending as he continues, not letting down, pressing until it beats too close to home for comfort. "'Photographer Takaba Akihito saves foreign child from human auction', I can already envision the sentence occupying the headers of the newspapers; pretty words describing what darkness you saw, illustrated with the photos you took." The next moment his lips are at Takaba's ear, whispering. "This time you won't have to make me eggs and infiltrate my house in the morning to hide from the fans, as you're already living there in the first place.

"You played spy, and hero, and got your major scoop; I trust you're feeling accomplished with yourself." He let go of Takaba, got back on his feet, offered a hand.

Takaba is too honest to deny all that truth when it brutally smacks him in the face. Shell-shocked, he goes with his reflex and lets Asami pull him up. "...Wow. You're really pissed, aren't you?"

"Pissed? I wouldn't use that adjective to describe my current mood but, by all means, suit yourself."

*

"Hey, today..." Takaba's face burns hot, pressed against Asami's collar bone. "Let me…?" His hand wanders, caressing up, and then again, Asami's inner tight.

Asami seems to consider something for a moment. Then: "I don't think so."

"Come on…"

Asami turns the tables and presses Takaba face-first into the wall, palm travelling down his back and massaging softly the creases just above his ass. "Not today," Asami tells him. "I don't feel like indulging whimsical brats. You lost—get over it. Besides…" A pause. "I still have some punishing to uphold you onto."

"Uh?! What about the night I just spent in jail?!"

"Oh, that? That was Suoh's revenge. He deserved it." Asami admires the skin in his grasp, so pale the blue veins are visible from the palm of Takaba's hand to his inner elbow. He lowers his mouth and sucks a kiss there, near microscopic droplets of blood pooling at the surface.

Takaba hisses, moans, struggles. "Tch. It wouldn't hurt you to take my side instead, for once," he says, a pout adorning his expression.

Asami speaks with lips that brush along the blonde's neck and raise his delicate skin into prickliness. "You're hard." He can swear he hears the SFX of the faux-blond going 'blush, blush, blush', three shades of red in quick succession—one at the gesture and two more at the implication.

Those hazel eyes scream, Congratulations for your brilliant observation, you've just won a toaster. "That's just—" Takaba groans. "—your imagination."

Asami laughs softly at that. Takaba's brain fumes; his cock aches. Asami moves his lips with Takaba's, lets his tongue slide between them, licks at his teeth. He grinnes at the jolt and the shudder that run along the lithe body. "It that right? Then..." A touch to the clothed swelling jutting between the photographer's legs. "How about this? It's hot, and pulsing, and leaking. Am I imagining that, too?"

Takaba moans, frustrated. "Nn... s-stop it, stop it I said, you—ah!"

Asami buries his face in the mop of sunshine and lets his nostrils be filled by the scent of fixer that is so deeply ingrained on Takaba's roots it won't fade not even with a hundred thousand baths.

He satisfies his own throbbing erection as he finally enters Takaba's body, feeling his muscles tense and relax as he got accustomed to its presence and then welcomed it, swallowing his organ in deeper inside. The hot and tight pleasure intensifies with each slow thrust, forcing loud, unrestrained moans from the blonde's mouth. Cries of Asami's name and thrown words to go faster and deeper, urging him on, telling him how good he felt with him inside.

Asami absently licks his lips. His eyes narrow at the figure beneath him and the fine lines of hair above them scrunch momentarily when Takaba clenches around him without warning.

A gasped, amused snort is still able to come out of Takaba and Asami decides that if he is energetic enough to still be able to think, then he must not be doing his job properly. He drives in to the hilt after pulling all the way out, until the head of his cock was practically slipping out in a harsh movement. Takaba comes hard with a silent gasp that threatened to take his breath away for good.

After the trembling all over diminishes, Takaba grabs Asami with excruciating strength and hugs him tight, plundering his mouth with teeth and tongue. A mingling of breaths and swapping of saliva later, Takaba abandons the kiss with a wet string being the sole reminder.

The member inside him throbs, hardening once again. Asami smirks down at him.

Takaba Akihito's note to self: Don't get lost in the act and provoke the beast even more—it's for your own good.

*

From: Kou (06:08 pm)
hey. boys night 2night right? dont 4get

From: Kou (06:09 pm)
by boys n8 i mean th 3 of us. no girlfriends. and by no girlfriends i mean no boyfriends 2 u

From: Kou (06:15 pm)
..we should probbly not call it boys night anymor. why do we still call it dat?

To: Kou (07:22 pm)
WE don't ur the only 1 who EVER called it like that. idiot. see u guys later


*

"I went to see her."

"Aren't you getting too attached? Don't tell me you want to adopt her."

"What? Of course not, don't be stupid. I just..."

"Just...?"

"...Takato and Maizumi's insemination failed again. If you'd seen the mess he was last night… And then the thought struck me. Hard. It was the beer talking, but. And... now I can't stop thinking 'what if', you know...?"

"Akihito. Think about what you're saying."

"I know! I know..."

"She's... fifteen?" Takaba nods. "A fifteen year old. A young couple who has been trying to produce offspring of their own for a couple of years, already possessing a fair history of failed conceptions and miscarriages, taking in a possibly psychologically troubled, traumatized teenager? Seriously, what are you thinking?"

"That - is - why. I'm telling you that I know! I know all that! But still—and 'producing offspring'? Really? The way you say it makes it sound like... making popcorn, or somethin'."

"Yes," says Asami. "Yes, I know that you know. And yet, even when you are aware of the circumstances, you are still considering such a thing. So that leaves me curious: what is the reason for you being so hung up on this one child?"

"Reason..." Takaba repeats to himself. "The obvious one, of course. Even if there were dozens of people there, she was the one I found and saved personally. It's a bond forged from such a situation—what's it called... Suspension-something effect? There. It's that. 'You happy?" He raised his chin and trying to look as menacing as he could.

"Suspension bridge effect—although I'm quite sure you didn't want to use that term here. And I didn't mean the seemingly obvious, hypocritical version. I want to know the real reason."

Takaba looks away, bites his lip from the inside, crosses his arms in front of his chest. Last shield of defense.

"Akihi—"

"Okay, okay. 'Geez." He deflates. "Gimme a break. She..."

Asami blinks, his nose twitches as he stops an obvious smirk. "Don't tell me you developed a crush on her, I had no idea you were a lolic— "

"Don't say it! Stop spouting nonsense and hear me out already!—And normally wouldn't it be the other way aroun—Gaah, you're so annoying! She... she kind of reminds me of you, okay? A female version. A bratty, female version."

Asami doesn't speak, just he puts on his 'Please, proceed' face on, but Takaba decides he wants to know the current score anyway. "What, you're not going to say anything?"

When Asami does talk is to say, "So you do have a crush on her." Takaba asked for it, put himself on the line for it, after all. Who was Asami to not give it to him?

First comes the hazy sputtering, although it doesn't last for long. Then the explosive blows up. "I do not!"

"Ah. Are you saying you don't have a crush on me, Akihito?" Asami closes in on Takaba, invading his personal space—a predator cornering his prey, leaving it with no way out, leaving it awaiting the pouncing and devouring, leaving it to dreadfully enjoy the feeling of being slaughtered by its nemesis, its opposite, its other half. "Akihito?" Asami whispers.

Takaba's forehead falls against Asami's chest, his nose brushing against his tie. "Next time I go see her," he mumbles against the fabric, "will you come? With me?"

Asami takes a drag from his cigarette and delves the other hand on ash-blond locks. The dark roots were peeking out already. He looks at the wall in front of him and ruffles Takaba's hair with fondness. "I'll see what I can do."