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On to Part 18.

Weiss and Schwarz do not belong to me. I'm borrowing them for my and (I hope) my readers' amusement only and have no intention of trying to make money off of them in any way, shape or form.

Warnings: Yaoi. Swearing. References to past child sexual abuse. Nonconsensual sex. Bondage. Although I'm setting this a couple of years past the main series, Nagi's age combined with his actions may squick some people. Also, I'm ignoring Gluhen and the drama CDs, so don't expect this to be consistent with them.

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: Nagi x Yohji. References to Crawford x Aya-chan.

Author: The RCK
Last updated: 6 September 2006

Thanks to Amy the Evitable, Hope of Dawn, Olna Jenn and Truth for various bits of beta reading, commentary and encouragement.


rhe-o-tax-is: the tendency of an organism to move in response to the stimulus of a current of water, either with the current or against it

Part 17

Nagi spent dinner considering and discarding plans for the rest of the evening. As they cleaned up after the meal, Yohji kept sneaking looks at Nagi, who found the attention flattering until he realized that Yohji was trying to figure out what would happen next. Doesn't he trust me? He very deliberately refused to look at the part of himself that understood Yohji's uncertainty.

Eventually, Nagi had enough. Ignoring it isn't working. "Go into the bedroom, Yohji-kun. I'll finish up here." Not that there's much left, but it gives us both a moment... He watched Yohji go. He... He doesn't look so deadly now. Earlier today, though... He replayed part of the fight in his mind, enjoying the resulting surge of lust. I own that. It's waiting for me, and I-- The plastic cup he held crumpled under the combined pressure of his fingers and his mind. Anything I want. Anything.

No. I want tonight to be nice. Like last night was supposed to be. He tossed the fragments of the cup into the disposal without really looking. Why bother being nice? I don't have to. He's not going to complain no matter what I do.

But... I want more than not complaining, and I... I don't want to... When he fought-- Why can't he just be happy? He shook his head, dismissing the thought, and finished disposing of the leftover food. Everything else can wait for the cleaning staff tomorrow. He hesitated. Should I take in some wine? Hot chocolate for after? No, that's stupid. I should have had wine with dinner, and hot chocolate would just get cold. I'm going to take longer than that.

He walked slowly through the rest of the apartment, making sure everything was in its proper place for the night. Nothing unexpected. The locks are engaged. The walls are still solid. Nobody's getting in tonight. He let himself think about Yohji's body and how much he was going to enjoy fucking it again, but every time he tried to picture Yohji naked, he saw him standing stoic while other hands-- Medical hands, he reminded himself-- wandered over his body. I'm not jealous. Not. No reason to be.

He set his jaw. That's it. I need to see him. I need to-- to remind us both. He strode into the bedroom to find Yohji perched, almost tentatively, on the edge of the bed. We belong together.

Yohji took one look at Nagi's face then slipped off the bed. He knelt with his head bowed. Someone less familiar with him than Nagi was might have thought him relaxed.

Resigned is more like.
Nagi tried not to think about either why that hurt or how much that turned him on. But always graceful... "Stand up, Yohji-kun."

Yohji stood. He stepped away from the bed, stopping about three steps from Nagi. His arms hung at his sides. He met Nagi's eyes just for a second then looked at the floor.

He's too damned tall. Nagi's jaw clenched as he realized again that he had to look up in order to meet Yohji's eyes. Never mind. That's not his fault. "Take off your shirt." And it's not like there's a way to change it. Yes. That's right. Let me see you. I need to-- Explore. Yes. Explore. And then I'll fuck you, and that'll feel good. Damned good. His belly tightened at the thought.

Yohji hesitated almost imperceptibly before pulling his sweatshirt up and over his head. He held the shirt dangling from one hand while his eyes darted to Nagi's face again.

Nagi gave a short, sharp wave of his hand, almost a flick of his fingers. Get rid of it.

Yohji nodded minutely and tossed the shirt away. He raised his chin so that he stared at the wall over Nagi's shoulder rather than at the floor.

He should know better. "Look at me." The words came out more sharply than Nagi had intended.

Yohji obediently focused his eyes on Nagi's face.

No reluctance. Good. Nagi allowed himself a smile. Are you wondering what I'm doing, what comes next? He gentled the smile as much as he could. Don't worry, Yohji-kun. We're starting easy, and this part isn't about sex. He stepped closer and reached out to run a hand over Yohji's chest.

Yohji shifted his weight from one foot to the other then back again.

Frowning, Nagi pulled his hand back. No. "Stay still, Yohji-kun." I don't want to react to a non-existent threat. I spent enough time waiting for you to heal, and I am going to get sex out of this. No more waiting. Maybe I should just get on with that-- No. I'm going to face this. I'm not weak.

"Yes, Nagi-san." Yohji cleared his throat, and his face showed worry.

Nagi sighed. Don't make this harder. "Yes?" He allowed a hint of his impatience into the word.

Yohji flushed and looked away for a second before setting his shoulders and meeting Nagi's eyes again. "I'll do my best. Really. But there are things-- My body-- I'll try. I just..." He shook his head.

"I'm not going to punish you." Nagi set his jaw just for a second. I'm not that weak. "Just stay still." He moved in close, wrapping his fingers around Yohji's arms and nuzzling his neck. Oh, yes. This is better. I want. Forget the testing. No. I need to know. He bit gently, tasting just a bit of salt and feeling a strand of Yohji's hair under his tongue. Mine.

Yohji sighed and let his head roll to one side, giving Nagi better access.

"I need," Nagi whispered in Yohji's ear. I need-- What? He gave a soft groan and ground his body against Yohji's. Yes. Let me in.

Yohji flinched, hesitated, then moved, rubbing against Nagi in turn.

No. Nagi took three steps back. "I need--" he said then shook his head. "I need to see how I feel about the changes first. I need to see all of you, and... Don't move. If you do... Well." He shrugged. It won't be my fault. But I won't be punishing him, either. He looked Yohji over. He's still too damned tall. "I'm sure neither of us will be pleased if you provoke me." You're smart. Connect the dots.

Yohji's eyes widened, and he tensed visibly. "I'll... I'll try. I'm sorry, Nagi-san. I'll do better. I promise." The last two words came out firm, certain.

"Good." Nagi pulled Yohji's head down for a quick kiss. He resisted the urge to deepen it, to push Yohji backward onto the bed. Not yet. Affection. Reassurance. Don't scare him now. He ran his hands over Yohji's chest. It doesn't feel dangerous. The hair, it being gone helps. He inhaled deeply. And he smells like Yohji, not like sweat. He traced the flow of muscles with his eyes then with his hands, abdomen to chest to shoulder. His arms are beautiful. Deltoid, biceps brachii, brachialis, triceps brachii-- Enough. He stepped back so that he could view Yohji's entire body. I own this. Mine. He swallowed hard, fighting back lust, then smiled. Lust is a good sign. Yes. He breathes right, from the belly. Of course, he does! He could hardly fight like that if-- Wait. "It's okay to breathe deeply, Yohji-kun. That's not going to surprise me." He ran a finger over Yohji's lips.

Those lips parted minutely in response.

Not quite welcome. Doesn't he want me? Nagi frowned. He will. I'll make him. He shook his head as he pulled his head back. "Talk to me." I want you not a statue of you. And not a puppet, either... He touched each of Yohji's more visible scars in turn, just brushing his fingertips over them. He's been shot so many times. And survived. That's what he does. "Tell me about these. Or about your favorite flowers. Or why you chose a wire. Something you." Something no one else knows...

Yohji cleared his throat, opened his mouth and hesitated. "Something me? I..." He blinked several times, rapidly. "I guess... My mother smelled of sandalwood. She used to get those cloth packets filled with the powder to put in her drawers. For a long time, I thought it was just her, that she was special. Later, when she died, I found them, when my aunt and I packed up her things."

Nagi closed his eyes and ran his fingers across Yohji's chest, trying to see if he could tell by touch where the darker skin around the nipple began. It feels the same. Mostly. He let Yohji's words float past him. I'll remember later, if it matters. Hm. It's just skin. Warm, a little elastic, hardness beneath. Yohji's voice made a buzz, just a tiny vibration beneath his fingers.

Nagi opened his eyes again. He pinched one of Yohji's nipples, applying a gentle, testing pressure. These are weird. What did that book say? Vestigial. Left over from before the embryo started being male. Capable of lactation, even, if chemically stimulated. He gave a frown of distaste and pulled his hand back. Okay. Quoting bio texts is not the way to go.

Yohji flinched and said very rapidly, "I'm sorry, Nagi-san. I can talk about something else."

Nagi blinked. What? Why? Oh. "It's all right. Not anything you said." He ran a hand down Yohji's left arm. "I just..." His fingers reached Yohji's wrist. He stopped and lifted the arm. "Do you miss it? Your... watch, I mean." I think I do. That makes no sense. I hadn't even noticed before now--

Yohji flexed his fingers once, almost reflexively, before letting them fall limp again. He darted a look at Nagi's face. "I..." His free hand clenched into a fist so tight that Nagi wondered if his fingernails would draw blood. "I never used to take it off. Never." He cleared his throat. "That's why I picked it. I didn't want to have to go unarmed. Not ever."

And I took that from you. Nagi let the arm drop and walked slowly around Yohji. He watched muscles tighten and twitch in Yohji's back. You know I could do anything, don't you? But I won't. I don't have to. "Maybe someday." He trailed a finger along Yohji's spine, smiling at the shiver the touch provoked. "Not a watch. That's too Earth. Maybe..." He lifted Yohji's right hand and turned it palm upward. He traced one fine line of scar tissue then another. "Did any of your..." His lips twisted as he suppressed instinctive anger. He searched for a word that would give him distance. No other hands on him. None. "Did your conquests--" Yes. Perfect. "Did they ever ask about these?" He is mine. They were his. I win. They lose.

Yohji had continued facing forward as Nagi paced around him. Now, he turned his head, looking down at the hand Nagi held. He licked his lips. "One or two. Not so many as you'd think. Never the Kritiker people. They always looked for the scars, though, like they were making sure it was really me." He closed his eyes for a second. "Those that asked, I said something about wire in floral arrangements. Utter bullshit, but... asking at all is damned rude."

Kritiker. Nagi traced the scars again then turned the hand over. Such strength in these. He moved each finger, rolling the hand into a fist then opening it again. Mine. "They hurt you a lot. Kritiker, I mean."

Yohji gave a minute shrug, moving only the shoulder attached to the arm Nagi wasn't touching.

I can give you revenge. None of the others could offer that. "Anyone in particular? If Crawford doesn't need them..." He flicked his fingers as if knocking something down. Then he caressed Yohji's jaw and whispered, "Slow or fast, whichever you like."

Yohji leaned into Nagi's hand. He sighed. "I don't... I don't care about the little people, the ones 'following instructions.'" The twist he gave the last two words gave lie to the rest of the statement. "They don't matter. I just never want to see them again." His disgust seemed honest. "Nagi-san, please... If you mean this... Could you find out and tell me-- Who lied? Who decided to tell me they were sure Asuka was dead?"

Asuka. Nagi's fingers tightened on Yohji's wrist. Neu.

Yohji gave a small whimper and seemed to shrink in on himself without physically moving.

"You loved her, didn't you?" Nagi tried to keep bitterness and jealousy out of his voice and knew he'd failed. He squeezed a little harder, deliberately using his telekinesis to increase the pressure.

"She's dead, Nagi-san." Yohji's left hand clenched into a fist, but his voice remained calm, gentle and not quite pleading. "I killed her."

"I know." Nagi dropped Yohji's arm and moved to face him squarely. "Tot told me. Repeatedly." She hates you. Two years ago, I'd have killed you for her. And missed all of this.

Yohji met his eyes. "Did you love her? Tot, I mean. You-- You seemed so upset when--" He shook his head and added in a near whisper, "You were very sweet together."

"I don't want to talk about Tot." Nagi made no effort to control his anger. He had no desire to think about her either.

Yohji dropped to his knees and bowed his head. He covered his belly with his arms, cradling his bruised wrist carefully.

He expects me to beat him. Nagi went utterly still. And I could. He clenched his hands against the explosive urge for violence. His power and his anger coiled together, pressing outward so that his skin felt tight. I could. It would feel good. Nobody'd care, and he couldn't-- wouldn't-- stop me.

Yohji looked up for just a second, meeting Nagi's eyes. Then he looked at the floor again.

No fear at all. Nagi relaxed his hands. That was-- Was it relief? No. Not relief. Not. He took a deep breath, trying to channel his anger into something more controlled. It wouldn't really feel that good, and I'd have to wait again. If I didn't kill him. I wouldn't kill him. I have more control than that. He shouldn't have said that, even if no one's watching. He knows what I can do, and he's not stupid, not suicidal. He didn't challenge me, not really. He smiled, letting some of his anger out in his expression, and put a hand on Yohji's head, wrapping strands around his fingers and pulling just a little. "Asuka-- Did you love her, Yohji-kun?"

For a moment, Yohji didn't respond. Nagi tugged his hair again, harder. Finally, Yohji whispered, "Yes." Then, in a stronger voice, he said, "Yes. I did." His jaw set. "And I killed her anyway."

Is that a threat, Yohji-kun? Nagi laughed, suddenly amused. "You don't love me." Yet.

Yohji didn't respond.

But the silence is answer enough. "You will." Triumph felt better than anger, so Nagi let the last of that go.

"I know." Yohji sounded resigned. Then he raised his head to look at Nagi. "That won't be so bad, really." He smiled with only a hint of sadness.

Nagi touched Yohji's cheek gently. I don't want you to be sad. "Stand up." I'll make sure you don't regret being with me. He let go of Yohji's hair and stroked Yohji's back as he stood. "I'll look into the Kritiker matter." And if I don't find anything, I'll just blame Takatori Shuichi. He's dead, so Crawford definitely doesn't need him.

Yohji nodded once. "Thank you."

Enough playing around. "Finish getting undressed and get up on the bed." Nagi turned away and started taking his own shirt off. He took his time removing his clothing, giving each fastening its own moment of attention, refusing to allow his lust to push him to obvious clumsiness. I'm not going to be that... unsophisticated. He can wait for me. He watched as Yohji stripped rapidly, scrambled onto the bed and knelt with his back to Nagi. Why isn't he watching me?

Nagi couldn't resist a telekinetic caress, a lingering touch along Yohji's back. Yohji arched into the contact, and Nagi lengthened it, pressing a little harder. Yes. Nothing wasted. Solid. Perfect. Muscle and bone almost fluid. There. He moves with intent. Nagi growled low in his throat. Better than hands. I can touch more all at once.

At the sound of Nagi's growl, Yohji turned his head to look, and his lips curved into a faint smile.

Nagi licked his lips and let his psychic hands wander over Yohji's body. Mine. "Keep looking at me."

Yohji went very still, hardly even breathing. His eyes moved a little, tracking Nagi's hands as they moved from button to belt. That's right, Yohji-kun. I'll be there soon. Anticipate it. Nagi shrugged out of his shirt, letting it fall to the floor and crumple around his feet. He stepped out of his pants. Skin to skin. Soon. Nothing between us at all. Yes.

He walked toward the bed, sending his telekinesis fumbling in the bedside drawer in search of the lubricant he'd placed there the day before. "I've been wanting this all day, Yohji-kun." He let his lust flow out, unimpeded, enjoying the knowledge that Yohji would feel its strength and sincerity. "Wanting you." And all day yesterday and...

Yohji's breath hissed between his teeth, and he almost looked away. Then he nodded. "Nagi-san," he whispered. He leaned forward, putting some of his weight on his hands, only flinching a little at the strain on his injuries.

Nagi found himself kneeling on the bed, lubricant clutched in one hand, without being aware of crossing the intervening space. He ran his free hand over Yohji's ass. Just a moment longer... Soon. His cock ached, demanding stimulation, satisfaction. He almost put his hand on it but restrained himself at the last moment. That's not what I want. I want-- He bared his teeth, squeezed Yohji's leg and inched forward so that he could grind himself against Yohji's body. Oh, yeah. That. And that. And... Around, under, with me. Yes. He cleared his throat. "On your back." I want to see you.

Yohji hesitated. "Please..." He looked away.

Nagi growled again and pushed, tumbling Yohji onto his side. Now. Want now.

Yohji started to curl in on himself then took a deep breath and stretched out under Nagi's gaze. He extended his legs, rolling so that he lay fully on his back. He let his arms fall to his sides as if he wasn't quite sure what to do with them. He met Nagi's eyes and offered a faint smile.

Mine. Nagi returned the smile with a nod that he hoped Yohji would see as encouraging. He squeezed Yohji's calves with his hands. Strength. Muscle. Yes. He pushed his telekinesis across Yohji's belly, reveling in the knowledge that Yohji allowed it. He let his telekinesis brush across Yohji's throat. He pressed gently along the underside of Yohji's jaw. Anything I want. He laughed. "What a gift." He had to force the words out past his libido's insistence that his breath was needed for other things.

Nagi folded Yohji's legs, lifting them up and out of the way. Yes. So. He hooked Yohji's hands behind Yohji's knees and smiled fierce approval as Yohji obeyed the unspoken command by pulling up so that his ass was more accessible. Now. He squeezed lubricant onto his fingers. At the same time, he reached out, telekinetically, to caress Yohji's cock. Do it right. Show him--

His telekinesis touched flaccid flesh, and he froze for just a moment. He's not-- His eyes confirmed his other sense. How'd I miss that? He's not into this. I want him to be into this. He pulled back physically. How can he not-- I've done everything-- I thought-- He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came. No. His face hardened, and he shook his head. I don't care. I've waited all fucking day.

Yohji refused to meet Nagi's eyes. He turned his head away. His breathing speeded up, but he didn't move otherwise.

If that's how you want it. Nagi smeared lubricant on Yohji's anus then inserted a finger. I need this. Now. He tossed aside the tube of lubricant and began slicking his cock. God, yes. He thrust into his own hand. Nothing between us this time. Skin on skin. Now. Quick. He pushed a second finger and then a third into Yohji's body then stretched them apart. Unable, unwilling, to wait any longer, he moved in even closer, pushing his cock roughly through the resistance it encountered.

Then he was inside, held within Yohji's body. The warmth and the pressure combined with his own prolonged anticipation almost made him come immediately. He held himself still for a moment, not wanting it to end so quickly. Then he began to move in and out rapidly, savoring pressure and friction and victory.

A jerk and a tiny whimper from the body beneath him told him that he'd gone too fast, that he was hurting Yohji, but his urgent need overwhelmed that consideration. He pulled back and thrust again, biting his lip and throwing his head back in an effort not to come quite yet. His hands gripped Yohji's forearms. "Mine!" He pushed himself home again. "Yes!"

<>He wasn't sure, after, how long it took him to come. The orgasm rolled through him, winding him up tight before releasing him with an almost explosion that left him not quite sure of the boundaries of his physical body. He lay unmoving on top of Yohji for a long moment. He sighed and let his head rest on Yohji's chest. Oh, yes... He inhaled deeply, trying to set Yohji's scent in his memory. As a good thing. A very good thing.

Yohji echoed Nagi's sigh and lay unmoving.

Nagi felt Yohji's heart beating rapidly. This wasn't good for him. He closed his eyes and pushed away the beginnings of a guilty misery. That's not my fault. And he didn't object. He could have. He could have. He pushed himself up to his knees and placed a hand on Yohji's chest. I should say something. I don't know what to say... He pulled away from Yohji's body. I should clean up first. He frowned. "I'll be back in a minute." He reached over without looking and brushed Yohji's hair from his forehead. "You rest for a little."

When Nagi returned, he found Yohji curled up on the bed. He looks... He shook his head. "Go clean up, Yohji-kun." He made his voice as gentle as he could, knowing that he wasn't capable of more apology. And I'm not sorry. I'm not. "You'll feel better then." He ran a hand along Yohji's arm and wasn't particularly surprised to feel rigidly clenched muscles. "Take something for the pain, too. It's been hours since the doctor gave you that shot. I left the pills by the sink."

Yohji moved slowly, rolling to his feet. He kept his arms folded across his body, his left hand cradling his right wrist. He looked at the floor.

Nagi turned away for a second then made himself look at the bruises ringing that wrist. He shouldn't have talked about her. But... I didn't mean to do that. I meant to be kinder. He touched Yohji's shoulder. "Shower if you want to. I'm going to make hot chocolate." I hurt him. I knew I might, and he did go along. He knew I needed that. It's not like I really hurt him, not the way I could.

Yohji nodded and walked slowly toward the washroom. Semen stained faintly pink with blood leaked down his leg.

Nagi looked away. Maybe a decadent dessert... Something like that makes everything better.

Yohji turned the water on before he threw up. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Not that running the water will help if he's watching... He rinsed his mouth and spat. Hell. Why hide it? Not like I've got any pride left. He splashed water on his face. No, but he does, and he doesn't want to be-- to see himself as-- a monster. I have to pretend or... He shook his head. The 'or' doesn't bear thinking about.

He covered his face with his hands. Could I have been any more stupid? He's jealous of Weiss, he's jealous of the doctors touching me, he's jealous of people who look at me in the fucking hallways. Of course, he's going to freak out when I mention Asuka. He hesitated over the medication, staring at the vial and wondering what exactly the little blue pills would do. The fact that the labels were in an unfamiliar language didn't reassure him. How many am I supposed to take? Finally, he shrugged and swallowed one tablet. I'll ask him when I go back out.

He crossed to the bathing room, taking the vial with him. I'll shower as ordered. He probably doesn't like how I smell right now. He heard Nagi moving around in the kitchen. Hot chocolate's his comfort food. What the hell does he need comfort for right now? I'd kill for a cigarette. Even if I can't smoke it, just holding it...

He decided against washing his hair. I don't think that smells like sex. I could have-- should have-- used his lust again, gotten off on it. He'd have been happy. Bile rose in his throat, and he spat in an effort to clear the bitterness from his mouth. No. That's sick. All it'd do is drive me under that much sooner, make me forget that what I want isn't always what he wants. I need to... to negotiate on my way down. I can't do that if I can't tell what's me and what's him. He leaned his head against the wall of the shower and let the warm water pound him. But I'm tired of fighting. So very tired...

When he emerged from the shower, he found a thin, gray, cotton robe hanging on one of the hooks near the door. That wasn't there when I went in. When did he--? No. I don't want to know. He wasn't particularly surprised to find that the robe fit perfectly. All the new clothes do. And they're all... He doesn't want to show off my body, not that way. Nothing... sexy. Well, I got no problem with that. None.

He hesitated, just for a second, before opening the door. I have to go out there eventually. If I don't, he'll just come looking, and... He shook his head, squared his shoulders and walked out. The kitchen first. He might still be there. But, apart from the scent of chocolate, the kitchen was empty. The bedroom then. His belly tightened. I am not afraid. He's mellower after. And I bet I can get him off again, easy, if I have to. He liked that blow job yesterday, liked it a lot.

When Yohji entered the bedroom, he found Nagi looking at his DVDs. Another movie. Well, it could be worse... Actually, a movie's a good idea now. He cleared his throat. "Nagi-san."

Nagi looked over at him and smiled. "I thought maybe a movie with dessert." He made a tiny beckoning gesture, and Yohji crossed the room to stand near him.

"Dessert?" Lovely. Food. Just what I need. I can do this. I can. Yohji forced a smile.

Nagi nodded toward a tray on the bed. "We've actually got a chef who does nothing but desserts. He likes to experiment, little batches of this and that. I wasn't sure what you'd like, so I asked for a sampler. He finds chocolate fascinating. Cinnamon, too."

Yohji blinked. Experiment? "He's... he's not from Earth, then?" He didn't look at Nagi, focusing instead on the shelves of DVDs.

"No." Nagi sounded amused. "Almost nobody here is. The base is designed to mimic a lot of Earth stuff, at least in places, so that agents can train, but..." He shrugged. "That it makes me more comfortable is a bonus."

From your point of view or from theirs? I suppose I'll find out. "So what are we going to watch?" Something long so we don't have to talk. No. We need to talk. Just... carefully. Yohji looked sideways at Nagi, trying not to be obvious about it.

Nagi shrugged. "I hadn't decided. Something light?"

"Light's good." What counts as light? Yohji scanned the titles. I don't care what we watch. "How about something with explosions?"

"James Bond?"

"Sure." Yohji pointed to a movie he thought he remembered being appropriately ridiculous. We can both laugh at that. Roger Moore. Stupid villains. Mostly naked women. And old enough that it won't matter if he gets jealous of the actresses. Old enough that he shouldn't get jealous. Even if they looked hot then...

He drank his hot chocolate quickly, at first, just wanting to get through it. Then he realized that Nagi might be expecting him to savor the beverage. He stared into his mug as the opening credits blared. Well, he's sipping. And I think he put fancy stuff in it. No drugs this time, just... Is this supposed to be really good chocolate? Damned if I know. He set the mug down and focused on the movie.

"You've done infiltration, right, Yohji-kun? That would never work."

"Well..." Yohji picked up his mug again. "Some people are really stupid, but I wouldn't try it." He likes me being an expert. Why? Doesn't matter right now. He considered for a moment. If I did have to get into a place like that... He snorted. "Of course, this is more fun to watch." He reached for one of the bite sized pastries from the dessert tray then paused, eying his selection dubiously.

"I think that one's got nuts and that root beer tasting paste," Nagi said. "I forget what the stuff's called, but I think it's from Dimwei."

Dimwei? No. Not asking. Yohji shrugged and picked up the pastry. He popped it into his mouth and chewed. As he swallowed, he made a face. "I don't see why your chef thought that was a good idea."

"I think he's from Dimwei, so he's probably used to it." Nagi grinned. "Might even be a point of honor to use the damned stuff." He pointed to another tiny dessert. "That one should taste better. I remember seeing it on the dessert buffet at the last party Crawford hosted."

Yohji obeyed the implicit command and picked up the pastry. I should eat as many of these as I can stomach. I need the calories. Especially after throwing up dinner. He stared blankly at the screen as 007 flirted with yet another gorgeous woman.

"Does he know something we don't?" Nagi actually sounded puzzled. "I mean, does he know she's involved in the plot or is he just stupid? We know from the credits, but how the hell does he know?"

"Maybe he's just lucky?" Ken would call it Plot Power. Yohji felt a wrenching pang of homesickness. He closed his eyes for a moment then turned to the only source of comfort available to him. He laid his head on Nagi's thigh, and Nagi immediately began stroking his hair. He... It's like he expected me to do that. He sighed. He likes that. I knew that. I have to remember that.

"Are you all right, Yohji-kun?"

Nagi's mingled concern, suppressed guilt and resentment over that guilt made Yohji wary. "I'm tired." Which is true. "Oh, and I couldn't read the directions with the pills. I took one, but... If you could translate, please?"

"Of course." Nagi smiled.

Pleased by a need he can answer without much effort. Is there anything else harmless I can need? "I think I left them in the bathroom." Yohji started to sit up. A moment or two away would be wonderful.

Nagi put a hand on Yohji's chest and pushed him back down. "I'll get it." His face took on an expression of intense concentration, and suddenly, Yohji could no longer sense Nagi's emotions.

Why can't I feel him? Yohji struggled not to panic. He hadn't realized how much he depended on that awareness of Nagi until it vanished. He kept his eyes on Nagi's face, searching for clues and seeing only a faint smile and a focus on something Yohji couldn't see. Of course. He doesn't know exactly where it is. That takes a lot of effort, doesn't it? He made it sound like it was easy before, the whole watching me with his power thing. Is it harder because there's more stuff in the way?

A couple of minutes later, the vial of medicine floated into the room. Nagi raised a hand to catch it, and it flew into his grasp. He looked at the label. "You can take one more now if you need it. Then more eight hours from now."

Yohji thought about it. "Will it make me sleepy? Or make me start giggling or babbling or something?" Babbling would be bad. I'd be sure to say something he doesn't want to hear.

Nagi frowned then pressed his thumb against the container, moving the pressure from top to bottom. The text rippled and changed. "Sleepy's possible. And let me know if you get a headache."

"Okay then." Yohji sat up and accepted a pill from Nagi. He washed it down with a bit of now lukewarm hot chocolate. He started at the movie for a little, watching the villain set up an elaborate death for 007. Eight hours, huh? He glanced at the clock, a fancy thing in a wooden case with an elaborately decorated face. That has to be a museum piece. From Earth. "Nagi-san--" He hesitated, not quite sure how to ask the question. He looked down at his hands. "That's an Earth clock, right?" He felt a surge of smug pride from Nagi and hurried on before Nagi could detail the clock's provenance. I don't care. "And we're on another planet? Is the day here actually twenty-four hours?"

Nagi gave him another pride-filled, aren't-you-clever look. "It's twenty-eight and a fraction, but Crawford has us running on a twenty-four hour cycle so agents trained here are used to it when they go to Earth."

I need to do that again. Somehow. "Oh." Yohji thought about trying to get more information or trying to show off more to make Nagi happier, but none of the obvious questions seemed very interesting. Not next to a little rest. He'll tell me about the agents eventually, and he's happy enough with me right now. He sighed and lay back down.

"Are you very unhappy, Yohji-kun?" Nagi asked, his voice so soft that Yohji wasn't sure for a moment if he'd heard or imagined the words.

How the hell do I answer that? Yohji's body went tense, and the lonely unhappiness he felt from Nagi intensified. That's bad. Very bad. Cautiously, he said, "Have I given you a reason to think I'm unhappy?" Well, yes, I have. For someone observant, anyway, but he's been so deep in denial, seeing what he wants. He's not stupid. I have to remember that. I keep... not forgetting. I can't forget that. He closed his eyes. Take the risk. "I-- How would you feel if you were me?"

Nagi's fingers tightened in Yohji's hair, and the air around them moved as if pushed by competing winds. "I want you to be happy."

Fuck. "I just need time. Please. It's all new and weird and happening so fast, and I hurt." And a few days ago, I was in a cell. "I can't keep up."

Nagi's agitation eased a little, and the air stilled. "It's going to stay weird, but the pain will go away."

Yohji could still taste Nagi's unhappiness. How much of my face can he see? Yohji forced a smile. "I'm adaptable." How do I make him happy again?

Nagi ran his thumb along the line of Yohji's jaw. "What do you need to be happy?"

Stick with what's possible. Yohji opened his mouth then closed it again as his mind went blank. "I don't know." Oh, right. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. He flinched. "I'm sorry. I don't know." He bit his lip. "When we're together like this--" After, when you're relaxed. Hell, any time you're relaxed. "This is nice."

"You like cuddling." Nagi's voice was flat, and he radiated dissatisfaction.

He doesn't like that. Why the hell doesn't he like that? What does he want? Does he even know? If he doesn't, how the hell am I supposed to give it to him? "Yes." Yohji hesitated then said softly, "It lets me know that you see me as more than just a... convenient route to orgasm."

"Of all the things you are, 'convenient' does not rank among them."

Some humor there, I think. I hope. "I'm sorry." He forced his voice into lightness. "I don't mean to be inconvenient."

Nagi laughed. It sounded forced, but he seemed to relax. "Convenient usually means boring, and if I'd had someone like that with me today, I'd be dead."

Yohji shuddered. I can't think about him dead. If I hadn't noticed that she felt like an assassin... "Why didn't Crawford warn you?" He couldn't stop the question or the way his voice shook as he asked it. Was he that sure I'd notice and protect you? Why take the risk? It's not like he needed to catch her in the act, not with how things seem to work here. He clenched his hands. That was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say. He still needs Crawford. He's only eighteen.

Nagi hesitated, radiating anxiety.

You can trust me. I need you alive and powerful. Yohji did his best to be silently reassuring and encouraging.

"His precognition's not very reliable right now. He's flying blind." Nagi almost whispered the words.

Yohji felt Nagi's fear that his world was crumbling so strongly that he longed to take Nagi in his arms and assure him that everything was safe. A bad idea. He settled for turning to nuzzle Nagi's hand. He doesn't want me to protect him. He'd stop feeling safe with me if he thought I could really do that. "He has a plan. He must have." And if he doesn't, I'll have to. Somehow. Because Nagi certainly doesn't.

Nagi laughed again. "Oh, he's got a plan. He just can't See the little bumps in the road anymore. That's why he needs Siberian."

Ken? He needs Ken? Why? No. Can't ask now. Later. "Can't see things like assassins." So what else is he missing?

"He's also got his head up his ass about Abyssinian." The words had the sound of an old complaint. "He wastes a lot of time on that. But the High Lord's told him to stop, so we're done with that."

"Oh?" Yohji tried to make his interest sound casual. What was that bastard doing to Ran? He's so easy to hurt... He looked okay, but that was-- How long ago now?

"The High Lord doesn't think it's seemly for a second tier aristocrat to be playing mind games with his brother-in-law, especially not a brother-in-law who's a dependent. Too much like beating your minions, I guess."

Psychological stuff, then. Not so bad. Except it's Ran. "Second tier?" That seemed like a safer question than any of those he really wanted to ask.

"Crawford's not powerful enough to be first tier, not even with precognition as rare as it is. I'm first tier, though. Even if it is four years till I'm of age."

"Where would I be?"

"If you weren't a slave, you mean?" Nagi considered, unhappiness forgotten as he tackled the question. "Empathy's common, but projective empathy's not quite as much so. You've got amazing range but no control or focus. We don't know much beyond that." He shrugged. "If you trained well, learned finesse, you might, just might, manage third tier."

Is that good? Since we're talking, I should ask him something that matters or hint at something... But what?

Nagi sighed. "You never really answered my question, Yohji-kun. What do you enjoy? What gives you pleasure?"

"I--" Yohji's mind went blank again. "This is nice. Right now, I mean. The talking, the cuddling." Knowing you're not going to hurt me right now. But I already said I like this. Give him something more. "I like it when you're happy." Because then you don't hurt me. Yohji turned so that he could see Nagi's face more easily.

Nagi's face echoed the frustration Yohji felt radiating from him. He moved a hand down Yohji's body, never quite actually touching. Then he tweaked aside Yohji's robe, exposing his crotch. "This shows you're not happy, Yohji-kun. You didn't want sex. Didn't want me."

And that's the important part. Shit. I knew I should have put on pajamas. Even if it did mean stripping in front of him. "I'm sorry. I'm still learning what works for you. I didn't know you wanted... that. Next time, I'll do better." If you just give me some time...

Nagi's hand hovered for a moment then moved slowly toward Yohji's cock. Nagi's sick revulsion at the thought of touching it made Yohji want to throw up, and his determination made Yohji want to cry.

"Don't. Please. Not like this-- I can feel that you--" No. Don't call him weak. Don't imply it.

"Direct stimulation's what you said worked." Nagi sounded petulant. He set his jaw in a stubborn line and closed his fingers around Yohji's cock.

"Nagi-san-- Please--" Yohji's words turned into an only slightly exaggerated cry of pain as Nagi squeezed just a bit too hard.

Nagi let go and jerked his hand back. He looked appalled.

Yohji twisted onto his side and pulled his legs up. After a second, he pulled his robe over to cover himself.

"I'm sorry," Nagi said with careful dignity. "I misjudged."

Embarrassment and anger at being embarrassed. Great. Do I play up or down? Down, I think. It's not like he really hurt me. Just... almost. Yohji sat up. He kept his head bowed. "I'm all right. Really." He still didn't look up. "Sometimes my body just doesn't cooperate." Something tugged at his chin, lifting it. Recognizing Nagi's telekinesis, he didn't try to resist.

Nagi frowned, part unhappy, part thoughtful. "I want you to enjoy yourself. Both partners are supposed to take pleasure in sex."

Partners? Hell. Careful... "Nagi-san, I'm your slave, not your lover." I can't be your lover. Not yet. "Lovers can say no." Yohji held his breath. Come on. You're not stupid, and you're not really cruel.

Nagi looked stunned. He opened his mouth then closed it again. Finally, he said, "I want you to be happy."

That's as close to begging as he gets. He's unhappy, but I can't give him this. I can't. "I know." Yohji looked down at the blanket beneath him as he struggled to find the right words. He sighed. "I can lie to you if that's what you want. I just... Honesty's a better foundation."

"You want to say no." Nagi's voice was utterly flat.

Yohji shook his head then shrugged. "I made a bargain. I'll keep it."

"A bargain." Nagi's lips twisted as if the word tasted bad.

"I'm trying, Nagi-san. I'm afraid I'm... damaged. Honesty's all I can offer. I do like you sometimes, and I wish we had... started differently. Maybe if I hadn't fought..." Maybe if you'd-- No. No point going there. He didn't. He wouldn't. And I don't think he's ready to look at the change.

"Why did you? You weren't and then--" Nagi seemed surprisingly calm.

"I was losing me. It's going to happen anyway, but I thought I might be able to... to keep something." We need to have this conversation, and we might as well have it now. You're calmer after you've gotten off.

"I think you have. I wouldn't want you otherwise."

Yohji stared at him for a second in disbelief then smiled and ducked his head. He really believes that. How the hell can he believe that? "There's only so much pain I can take." Will he understand that I don't mean physically?

"I don't want you to hurt, and I don't want you to lose anything." Nagi sighed. "But I do keep hurting you..." The last sentence came out in a near whisper.

He almost couldn't say that. It cut him coming out. "That's your right. I'm a slave." Yohji raised his head and straightened his back and shoulders.

Nagi made a gesture of negation. "That's a legal category not a relationship."

Bullshit. Yohji bowed. "As you say."

Nagi hesitated. He looked down at his hands. "The fantasy would be... pleasant." He looked up again, eyes firmly on Yohji's face. His expression had altered, setting itself into determined lines. "What does it mean to you, then, being a slave?"

He's really asking that. He wants to know. No. He doesn't, but he won't let that stop him. Should I? Yes. A better time may never come. Yohji gave Nagi a brief, sincere smile. "I really do like you sometimes." He looked away, fixing his eyes on one of the prints decorating the walls. "A slave can't say no. It all comes down to that. Well, he can say it, but nobody's going to listen. It doesn't mean anything. And if he insists--" Yohji clenched one hand into a fist. "--his owner can do whatever he wants to-- anything-- to... to break the no. The shoes he wears, the cut of his hair, the food he eats, any choice he has is at somebody else's whim, and he's not guaranteed even to have clothes or food or... hair. Control over him can be sold, lent, given away."

Do you understand? Yes, I think you do. Even if you don't want to, don't like it. He met Nagi's eyes. "I am your slave, Nagi-san." And it doesn't matter if I like you or not. Except that you want me to.

Nagi turned off the TV, depressing the distant switch telekinetically. "Do you think I'm going to starve you?"

Yohji shook his head. Not going to address the other points? Will you think about them later? Maybe. Maybe...

"I don't intend to hurt you." Nagi sounded almost plaintive.

Yohji pulled his bruised wrist to his chest and cradled it there in wordless response. After a moment, satisfied that that message had gotten across, he bowed his head and said softly, "I knew what I was signing up for. It's not like anybody tricked me or lied to me."

"Why aren't you lying to me?"

Yohji refused to smile at the almost awed disbelief he sensed mixed with Nagi's puzzlement. Because it's my only hope. "Because I do like you. Sometimes. I don't want to give up."

Nagi shook his head, obviously not quite understanding. "Eat another pastry, Yohji-kun. I'm going to pick another movie."

Well, that could have gone worse. Yohji picked a pastry at random and pushed it into his mouth as he watched Nagi walk across the room. It could have gone much worse.

Back to Index.
Back to Part 16.
On to Part 18.