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On to Part 6.

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: 5 April 2003

Thanks to Amy the Evitable and Briar Rose for beta reading this chapter. Thanks also to Amy the Evitable for encouraging me to keep writing and assuring me that it all could and did work.


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 5

Nagi paused as the inner door opened. He extended his senses carefully. I am not getting hit by something the cameras insist isn't there. Just because everything says he's unconscious-- Paranoid, yes, but... No, he's right where he's supposed to be. Nagi sighed and walked into the room, pulling a wheeled cart behind him. At least I won't need to do much of that today. I so do not need the headache it'd give me.

Nagi wrinkled his nose. Not as bad as I thought it'd be. Guess the air circulation helps. Of course, if he'd been sleeping in his bed, it'd be pretty ripe by now. He paused to toe the untouched tray of food back into the antechamber. No point keeping that.

Kudoh lay face down by the far wall. He'd collapsed there after a failed attempt to claw his way up the wall, trying to get to his feet again. Idiot. Nagi used his power to roll Kudoh onto his back and was pleased when the man showed no signs of rousing. So the gas works as advertised. Just reinforce it a bit... Nagi smiled without much humor. My new assistant has some things to learn. I don't think he understood why I insisted on using a hypodermic for this. Taisken technology may work better, but... I haven't used it before. Have to fix that. Anyway, I know how hypodermics work.

Leaving the cart behind, Nagi crossed the cell to where Kudoh lay. He went down on one knee and started looking for an appropriate blood vessel. I think Farfarello'd find this amusing as hell. Yes. That'll do nicely. Clean it off, and... Good. That damn well better hold him for a while.

Nagi replaced the cap on the hypodermic then pushed to his feet. He stood for a few seconds simply looking down at Kudoh. He's definitely no threat like this. I think I like him better when he's awake. Nagi turned away to retrieve the cart. Wash him first. He's pretty disgusting up close. Then the i.v. Then the rest of the cleaning.

Nagi removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. Maybe I should move him closer to the drain... Yes, I think so. Minimize the puddle I end up kneeling in. He frowned and focused. Kudoh's body lifted into the air and began to move. About there.

Nagi sighed and disguised the slight slumping of his shoulders by bending over the cart. I'm going to have to touch him. No time for this working up to it. He may not notice, but there are other people watching. He straightened up and looked at Kudoh. Let's see... Feet or hands? Feet then legs then hands then arms then... This is silly. It's not like he can hurt me. It's not like he's ever been able to hurt me.

Eventually, he found himself kneeling by Kudoh's feet. I could so have someone else doing this... No. He lifted the right foot and ran the soapy washcloth over it. Toes look really silly up this close. Kind of squashed. He hesitated then tweaked one of the middle toes. It moved easily, back and forth, up and down. Will it bend? A little. I wonder if mine do that? Oh, what the hell. I hate wearing wet socks. He set Kudoh's foot down and backed off a little. He removed his shoes and socks, tugging experimentally at one of his own toes in passing. Yes, but it's different somehow... Then he rolled up his pant legs. Not that that will help in the least. That's not where the water's going to end up.

He worked his way gradually up Kudoh's right leg, finally stopping mid-thigh to go back and wash the other foot and leg. Along the way, he explored the movement of ankle and knee, the texture of skin and hair, the occasional scar. Look at each piece as a piece, not as part of the whole. That's later. Coarse hair, kind of prickly. Damn little fat, just muscle and bone. He traced the line where two muscles intersected and kneaded them a little. I bet he's got some terrible knots in there. He pushed himself way past what his body could handle. Nagi sat back with a sigh as images of Kudoh's activity flashed through his mind. He started with speed, precision, a grace that made everything look easy. I'm so glad I got that tape... Then he fought with himself, mind ruling body. Nagi bent his head to hide his face from the cameras as he smiled. Which one should I say won? He pressed his fingers into Kudoh's flesh. Yes, I bet that's not supposed to be there. He applied a steady stretching pressure to the lump he'd found and was surprised to feel it yield a little. It's not that easy when it's my leg... Hm. I bet that would hurt like hell if he were awake.

He ran careful hands over Kudoh's legs. I didn't realize they were so long. It's not so obvious when I'm... thinking of other things. How the hell did he keep moving with these knots? He massaged the muscles for a moment then stopped. No. Actually, I should save this for after we get the i.v. in. He shook his head. No. Better do it first. I'm not going to want to move him a lot once that's in. Nagi sat back and rolled his shoulders, trying to release some of the building tension. I am not going to lose to a god damned memory. He glanced at his hands and was pleased to realize they were completely steady. Just make the damned decision. He sighed. This was not covered in any of my lessons. I am not calling Crawford for advice, and I am not going to screw this up. He set his lips in a frown and resumed the massage. Kudoh better appreciate this.

Eventually, Nagi moved on to Kudoh's right hand. Long fingers. They don't look very strong, but they must be. I've seen the power in his wrists... It's very different with the will gone. No threat but no grace either. What would he do with them if I didn't bind him? Try to kill me, most likely. He traced a hairline scar with his thumb. From his wire. Has to be. At least that has the virtue of being both concealable and reusable. But it's not really a distance weapon. Why the hell doesn't he use a gun? Hm. Cut himself a lot, hasn't he?

He rested the hand in his lap as began working his way up the arm. More muscle spasms. Maybe a relaxant? Do I want to be that kind? He traced the line of a muscle with his finger. This is the power I take from him each time I bind him. I think I can be generous; even if I give him a muscle relaxant and pain killer, he's going to have a hell of a time moving. I want him to recover quickly, so I can-- He paused for a moment. Good thing I have a sense of humor. I can see the irony. I want him to recover so I can push him till he cracks again. More than that-- I want him to be awake when I touch him, want to see his eyes when I fuck him. He sighed and shook his head. Not something to think about now. I'm going to have to wait for that. But it's a good sign that touching him's not repulsive.

The tattoo came as no surprise. Even if Nagi'd somehow managed to overlook it in his previous observations, he'd have known about it from Kudoh's file. Their psych people analyzed the damn thing to hell and gone. He didn't bother stopping to study it. I can already draw it from memory and recite Kritiker's top theories about what it means. Somehow, I doubt it's the key to his psyche that they've treated it as. Oh, important, definitely, but not... I wonder how many layers he's got?

After he finished both of Kudoh's arms, Nagi sat back to consider. Back or front? I could wash his face and hair now, but... That can wait until after everything else. I... Nagi stared at the body in front of him. It's just a body. One I've touched before. One I own. Even if he were conscious, he couldn't touch me. But he knew that, if he lifted them, his hands would be shaking. I will be rational. I am in control. He wrung out the washcloth with unnecessary force.

Back first. Nagi set down the washcloth and reached out to roll Kudoh onto his stomach. No power here. I won't let myself avoid him that way. He took a moment to straighten Kudoh's limbs. No point hurting him accidentally. He closed his eyes and inhaled slowly. He smells like... No! Not going there! Not. Nagi clenched his jaw in an effort not to retch. I thought I'd gotten used to the smell of masculine sweat living with Schwarz, but... I wonder what this room smells like to Kudoh now? The question distracted Nagi enough from his memories to let his stomach start to settle. Poor bastard.

Nagi picked up the washcloth again and dipped it in the water. Add a bit of soap... He moved with a little more gentleness than he'd used on Kudoh's limbs. I bet that's from the bullet that almost killed him. Or is it that one? All incidental scars, I think, just part of the job. Has anyone ever deliberately marked him? Nagi closed his eyes for a second. Most of mine... Do I have any that are work related? I really should get those removed... He swallowed hard and continued his work, fighting to keep his breathing steady as he moved down Kudoh's back. If this is this bad, I  don't want to think about doing the front. Steady. It's not like this is unexplored territory.

But it is. I've looked, and I've hit, but... He ran his hand along Kudoh's side from shoulder blade to hip, detaching himself enough to think only of texture and contour. I could enjoy doing that, I think. Would he arch into my touch or would he flinch and fight not to pull away? He'd hate himself either way. Nagi traced fingers over the curves of Kudoh's ass. I haven't really looked at it from this angle. He's too thin. Nagi's lips quirked in a small smile. He's going to wonder when he wakes... Will he ask me? I doubt it. Would fucking him feel different with him unconscious? His throat tightened, and he shook his head. I didn't expect to like it. Too many reminders... But it's different when I'm in control, when I'm not the one who needs to be afraid. And he's beautiful when he's awake. Right now... Now he's just a mannequin, no life, nothing interesting about him.

He shook his head again and went back to washing. That's beside the point. But... Hot and tight around me. Fear in his eyes, tainting his scent. His body beneath me. No. Not now. Nagi shifted uncomfortably, hoping the cameras couldn't pick up the sudden bulge in his pants. Great. What do I do now? Not that. Too damn close to necrophilia. Besides... This is about owning him. Not about me getting off.

But nobody'd say anything if I did. He closed his eyes for a moment. Well, I'm done washing back here. I probably ought to see about getting the knots out of his muscles, but... He'll just have to live with them. Time to turn him over. He opened his eyes and leaned forward, putting his hands under Kudoh's body and lifting. Kudoh rolled untidily, ending up with an arm pinned under him. Get that in a second... Nagi moved his eyes to Kudoh's groin and felt most of his desire vanish. Triumph of sorts that it's not all gone, but I wish... Fear's so damn uncomfortable! He snorted softly. Wonder how he feels about fear? Does he feel it the way I-- He cut off the thought and stared at the hair, the flaccid penis, the testicles. Looks pretty harmless, doesn't it? Like Kudoh himself...

Nagi busied himself washing Kudoh's chest and abdomen. He took his time, pausing often simply to touch. I'm going to need to do this more than once. At least I'm not really afraid... He set his lips in a thin line as he drew nearer to Kudoh's crotch. I don't think it's going to suddenly spring up and attack me. Well, actually, my intellect doesn't think so, but the rest of me certainly does. So smooth. So soft. Nothing else on his body feels like that. He washed and rinsed everything carefully before setting aside the washcloth. This is the problem, my weakness.

It's his weakness, too. I don't think anything else I did hurt him as badly... He didn't want to come. It was something I made him do, not just something I did to him. That's really what makes me doubt Kritiker's files; by what they say, he should have wanted the pleasure desperately, found no shame in it. And Crawford missed it, either that or he's choosing not to mention it, which I doubt. Nagi curled his fingers around Kudoh's penis and began rolling and stroking it. Can I get him hard this way? Apparently so. I wonder... For a moment, he was watching again as Kudoh's body arched under Nagi's telekinetic touch. He fought me on that, but he couldn't fight me now. He'd never even know, not unless I told him. How would he react if I told him? He looked down at Kudoh's inert body and shook his head minutely. No. If I indulge that sort of line of thought, I'll end up destroying him. At least right now... Nagi paused and stared off into space for a minute. If I do this correctly, he'll be mine forever. I need him to trust me, rely on me. I want him to. He felt desire rise within him again and laughed softly. Enough.

He rose, carried the water he'd been using to the sink and poured it out. He refilled the container and returned to where Kudoh lay. He set the pan down. "Back in a moment, Yohji-kun," he said. He rummaged on his cart for a moment before finding what he was looking for. What I want is never where I remember putting it.

He lifted the cel phone and pushed a button. "Mazi? I'm ready for the next step, but I want some changes. Add a reasonable muscle relaxant and some sort of pain killer to all of the bags. No, I don't have anything specific in mind. His muscles are knotted to hell and gone. Have the doctors pick out something that'll help. I want him to know how much he should hurt but not feel too bad. Right. Yes, good idea. Oh, and please send in my lunch. And a change of clothes. And something for me to sit on. Soon." With luck, the drugs'll keep him calmer, too. After all, I waited until he passed out because I didn't want him to panic and hurt himself.

Now, I wait. Nagi set down the phone. I suppose I might as well get started on his hair...

Washing Kudoh's hair required a few trips to the sink for more water but was otherwise more messy than difficult. This stuff smells nice. I wonder who picked it out. Crawford? Not really his style. I suppose it might actually be Kudoh's; we got everything from his place. Nagi worked his fingers along Kudoh's scalp before trying to move out toward the ends. The strands tangled, sticking stubbornly together in spite of Nagi's best efforts. Now that definitely would hurt if he were awake. I probably should have combed it first.

He rinsed away the shampoo by the simple expedient of pouring water repeatedly over Kudoh's head. Careful. Don't get his nose... At least the floor slopes properly. He blotted Kudoh's hair with a towel. I think that's dry enough to comb now.

Nagi was still struggling to get the comb through Kudoh's hair a few minutes later when the door opened. He didn't bother looking up. "I want to set up over there, where it's dry. Not too near the bed or the door." He gestured toward the area where Kudoh'd been lying after he'd passed out.

Someone moved past him, and Nagi tracked the movement with part of his attention. This shouldn't be this hard. Kudoh does it all the time.

"That'd be easier if you used conditioner," a familiar voice announced in lightly accented Japanese.

Nagi froze for a second and schooled his face to hide his irritation before looking up. "Schuldig-sempai."

Schuldig's answering grin had an edge to it. "Why is nobody ever happy to see me?"

"Do you really want me to answer that?" Nagi asked dryly. "It seems like something you'd rather not know."

Schuldig sniffed in a facsimile of thoughtfulness. "Anyway, that's what conditioner's for, stopping the tangling. That's why Kudoh put it on his list of luxuries."

Nagi rocked back on his heels and met Schuldig's eyes. As was so often the case, the German telepath stood too close, and the effect was accentuated by the fact that he towered over the kneeling Nagi. Why is he carrying a pillow? Nagi kept the thought carefully masked behind the minutia of his sensory impressions. Wet clothes. Hard floor. Scent of shampoo. Hair wrapped around his fingers. "While that's good to know for future reference, I think he's just going to have to live with tangles." And what's he doing here? No. I know the answer to that. It's always the same unless Crawford's ordered him to do something. He's playing.

"He'll probably think less of you for it." Schuldig's tone managed to be both light and patronizing.

Nagi remained politely silent, waiting for elaboration. I wonder if he'll ever treat me as an adult. No. If we both live that long, I'll have white hair-- He'll dye his, of course-- and he'll still treat me like I'm ten. He sighed silently. And fighting him over it only underlines to him that I'm not grown up, gives him a chance to pat me on the head with exaggerated respect.

"Kudoh rather likes you, at least when you're just talking to him."

Nagi summoned a towel and began drying Kudoh's body. He paused just for a moment to look at Schuldig and raise his eyebrows.

"Hey! I just said I wouldn't interfere. Nobody said anything about watching!" There was an edge of mockery in Schuldig's words in spite of the near apologetic content.

This time, Nagi did sigh audibly. "And I suppose it's been a good show." He didn't bother making it a question.

"If playing voyeur's all I'm going to get..." Schuldig shrugged. "Crawford won't even let me play with Tsukiyono. I'm sure I could get a reaction out of him, but no. Even Fujimiya could be fun, and I don't see what Crawford's so worried about. It's not like he'd tell his sister; he wouldn't want to worry her."

Nagi focused his eyes on Kudoh. "He's my project, sempai." :My toy.:

:And you're real close to breaking your toy, kid. I thought I'd offer a few pointers.: Schuldig smiled. "I brought you a cushion to kneel on. They were going to send in a fancy leather covered executive's chair before I stepped in."

"Fine. Put it over there by the door. I might as well be near the wall." Nagi let skepticism leak into his mental voice. :You're a lot better at smashing things than you are at keeping them for later use, sempai. What sort of pointers do you have in mind?:

Schuldig tossed the cushion into the air. "Put it there yourself, kid."

Nagi reached out psionically and caught the pad before it landed in a puddle. He moved it toward the doorway and let it fall. "You're very bored," he observed mildly. :And would Fujimiya really be that much fun? He's very predictable.:

:And it drives him crazy because he can't figure out how I keep pushing his buttons.: "Of course I'm bored. None of you will let me play."

Nagi lifted Kudoh and began drying his back. "You're not cute when you pout."

:So is that what you like about Kudoh? That he's not predictable?: "I'm not pouting. I never pout." Schuldig stepped in closer and crouched beside Nagi, carefully keeping his pants out of the water pooled on the floor. "He has gotten thin, hasn't he? Not that there was much there to begin with. So you like heroin chic?"

"He's been refusing to eat. I don't know if he's punishing himself, trying to assert control over his body, trying to keep from throwing up or even simply forgetting." :And I'm not asking you!: "I'll get it out of him later if it turns out to matter."

:No point asking him either. He's been too busy running to have the slightest idea.: Schuldig reached out and trailed his fingers along Kudoh's spine. :I like the waif look. Very delicate.:

Nagi's upper lip curled just a little. "Stop trying to bait me, sempai." He rose to his feet and lifted Kudoh's body in his arms. He's still a bit wet, but I don't think that will hurt any. He looked to see whether or not the technician was finished setting up.

"Does that mean you won't share?"

Nagi ignored the hurt in Schuldig's words. It's as much a lie as anything else about him. "Not even if you're dying of boredom."

"It's not as if he'd know--"

Nagi swung around and stared at Schuldig. "And where'd you find your fun if he didn't know? I know you."

Schuldig grinned unrepentantly and shrugged. "I thought I'd tell Fujimiya all about it."

"Lie. It's not like he'll know." Nagi turned again and walked toward the technician. In Taisken, he said, "I think we'll want to put down a blanket or towel for him to lie on; he's still a little wet."

"Of course, sir." The woman's response was soft enough that Nagi had to strain to hear her. She bent to follow Nagi's order without quite meeting his eye.

"Giving Fujimiya the full sensory treatment'd be more fun. I want to see how he explains to himself when revulsion isn't his only reaction." Schuldig sent Nagi an image of Fujimiya, sitting in front of a row of monitors, flushed with righteous anger and fidgeting with embarrassed arousal.

"Hm." Nagi was too busy watching the technician to respond properly. I can't play right now. I've got other things to do. :Sempai, does it seem to you that she's moving a bit stiffly? Take a look please. Do we frighten her? Or--?:

Schuldig strolled forward, stopping at Nagi's side, near Kudoh's head. Schuldig caressed Kudoh's cheek. "So do you like the stubbly look and feel?" :Her name's Telat, if you care. She's read his file. His whole file. She feels sorry for him. That's all. She's not planning to do anything about it. She doesn't like working here, doesn't really fit her training or inclination.:

Hell, I feel sorry for him myself. Nagi buried the thought deep. :How'd she get his whole file? A medical technician shouldn't have that kind of clearance.: "The look's fine. As for the feel..."

"Not your favorite, eh?" :She thinks it was a computer hiccup. The damn thing just popped up on her screen when she requested the medical information.: "You could get rid of it permanently. The Taisken have a quick treatment."

"I'll look into it." The technician had a blanket spread on the floor, so Nagi deposited Kudoh there. Then Nagi turned away. I don't need to watch the tubes go in. He met Schuldig's eyes. :I'm still not sharing, sempai. Crawford was quite specific about the results he wants, and I'm not about to risk screwing up deliberately. Why don't you spend some time with the tech? I bet she could show you how to get the computers to do what you want them to.:

"Selfish aren't you, kid?" :I could just take what I want.: Schuldig's thought had hard edges.

:No, you can't.: "What Kudoh wants has little relevance." :I will protect what's mine.: Nagi was a little surprised by the adamance of his own mental voice.

:And he's yours? I think you're very much enjoying this game, Nagi. How... unexpected.: Schuldig put a hand on Nagi's shoulder and tugged. Nagi resisted briefly, then acquiesced and turned to face his teammate. Amusement vied with sharp curiosity for pride of place in Schuldig's expression.

:Sempai?: Nagi kept his tone carefully neutral.

Schuldig tapped a knuckle briefly on the underside of Nagi's chin. "Are you sure you won't give me something to make Fujimiya grind his teeth over? He gives himself such lovely headaches."

Ignore the gesture. Growling will only give him something else to patronize me over. Nagi inclined his head to one side. "I wasn't aware that Fujimiya felt that way about Kudoh." :Or that you felt that way about Fujimiya.:

:Hey, I'll play with anybody who amuses me.: "Oh, he doesn't. At least not specifically. But because it's Kudoh, his guilt doesn't quite swamp the rest of his response." :He watched you last time, and it got him hard. He wondered what it'd be like to be Kudoh... And what it'd be like to be you. He hasn't forgiven himself for the fantasies yet.:

Nagi swallowed against a sudden wave of nausea. That his own team leader would look at him that way-- I so did not need to know that. At least, none of them, Schuldig, Farfarello, even Crawford, ever looked at me with contempt or... or that way. But I could use it. If Fujimiya acts on the impulse or expresses open contempt... Kudoh'd have nowhere to turn but to me. He stepped back. "I think you should go, sempai. There won't be anything interesting happening here for a while. I'm sure you can come up with an ugly enough lie for Fujimiya." :I was hoping for a little quiet time, and talking with you is distracting.:

Schuldig waved a hand, dismissing the previous conversation entirely. "Are you getting what you want out of this, kid?" His smirk didn't falter, but his mental voice showed what seemed to be genuine concern. :This can't be easy. If-- Don't let Crawford push you into anything, Nagi. Give me a heads up if he gets pissed, and I'll draw the heat.: Schuldig's expression altered slightly to become a smile of predatory anticipation. :Baiting our fearless leader's one of my favorite hobbies.:

Affection for the telepath temporarily overwhelmed the irritation Nagi'd felt since he'd first realized the man had entered Kudoh's cell. :Thank you, onii-san.:

Schuldig's eyes widened just a little. :You haven't called me that in a long time, kid.:

:Crawford said it was unprofessional.:

:I know. He's not always right.:

Nagi let a genuine smile flicker across his face. :It's okay, though. If anything... upsets me, I've got an easy target.: He let his eyes flicker to Kudoh's unconscious form. :And Crawford doesn't really give a damn whether or not Kudoh survives.: But I want him to survive, don't I? I don't think I'm supposed to. "I'm learning a great deal, Schuldig-sempai. The whole thing's more complex than the books suggested."

"I could give you a pretentious line of shit about how life's always like that, but I'd just bore us both." Schuldig shrugged, rolling his shoulders. "In my experience, life's usually a hell of a lot simpler than most people'd have us believe." :The tech's done.:

As if on cue, the woman spoke, "Naoe-san, please pardon the interruption, but he's set to go."

Nagi turned to look straight at her. No, she's not going to cause problems. At least not this time. Too damn scared of me. "You started him on saline?"

"Yes, sir." She kept her eyes down and made a vague gesture, flicking her fingers toward the floor. "That was what was indicated." She looked up. "Do you need me to show you--?"

"No. That's all right. I'm familiar with the set up, and you'll be on call anyway. Right?" :Onii-san, would you keep an eye on her when she leaves? I don't know if she'll grow a backbone, and I'd rather not be surprised.:

:Not a problem, kid. Anything else?:

:Well... I've given orders for them to turn off the sound surveillance on my cue. It's not that I don't trust my people, but... I don't trust anyone. And I don't think Crawford will be all that happy about it.:


Yohji woke slowly with a sort of floating feeling as if his mind and body weren't quite connected. For a little while, he just lay there, enjoying the sensation. Thought felt like too much trouble, and he was distantly certain that someone would let him know if there was anything urgent he needed to do.

Then he heard a small sigh and a rustling as if someone were moving. I'm not moving, so obviously it's someone else. I'm not cuddled up, so either they're up or I'm being horribly rude. Twitching his hands away from his body on either side took more effort than he expected. Nothing. But this bed's hard as a rock. And what's that pinch in my arm? Then his right hand hit the edge of the blanket beneath him. I'm not in a bed. Oh. Fuck. He shivered as memory hit him.

He opened his eyes and turned his head to the left. The pinch he'd felt was explained by an i.v. shunt letting liquid into his body from a bag hanging above him. The wall seemed to be only a few inches behind the rack holding the i.v. bag. Oh. He blinked and licked his lips. He's in here somewhere. Be damned if I'm going to look. He cleared his throat and said, "So what are you pumping into me?" He coughed a little, the words irritating his throat.

"A glucose solution right now, Yohji-kun." Nagi's response came promptly and cheerfully. "There's a muscle relaxant in there too and a painkiller. You really did a number on your body."

Oh. I did? Oh, yeah, I did. I don't want to think about that. Yohji closed his eyes again. Maybe I can just go back to sleep.

"Go back to sleep if you want to, Yohji-kun. I'll be here when you wake up. But when you do want to get up, let me know. You'll probably be a bit unsteady at first."

Whatever I do, I must not panic. Yohji turned his head and stared across the room at Nagi. Nagi knelt on a pillow just to the left of the cell door. He had a heavy looking book in his lap. A three tiered metal cart sat a few feet to Nagi's left. Not that I feel like panicking... What sort of drugs has he been feeding me? Maybe panic's not such a bad idea after all...

Nagi set the book on the floor. "Of course, you probably really need to use the toilet about now."

Yeah, I do. Damn. Yohji's hands clenched on the blanket underneath him. Just as well I'm not panicking. He rolled toward his right, trying to lift his left arm enough to avoid tangling the i.v. His movements felt sluggish, and nothing seemed to be quite where he expected it to be. That damn tube has to go. He turned his head to glare at the rack. Wait. Is that one of those with wheels? Yes. That's got to be the lock. He let his head fall back for a moment, marshalling his strength, then rolled to his left.


Yohji ignored the warning in Nagi's tone. That won't support my weight, but I can use it for balance. It'll work. It has to work. He struggled to his knees and found himself swaying. He blinked. It shouldn't be that far to the floor. He reached toward the metal pole with his right hand. His first attempt missed. Easy. Wait till you feel the metal. Then grip. There. His fingertips brushed the pole, and he held them there for a moment. Forward. Yes. That's it. Oh. I have to unlock it. I won't be able to do that once I stand up-- If I bend over, I'll fall. I should have done unlocked the wheels first, shouldn't I?

The simple switch holding the wheels immobile snapped to the open position. Yohji couldn't keep himself from glancing back at Nagi. No. I'm not dealing with him right now. "I don't need your help," he growled. I didn't mean to say that. Shit.

"Of course not, Yohji-kun." Nagi gave him a gentle smile.

Yohji turned his attention to getting to his feet. He clung to his dignity by pretending he didn't notice Nagi's power supporting him as he wobbled. I can't stop him, and I'll look like an idiot if I fight right now. He took a few careful steps to clear the blanket. I do not want to get the wheels tangled in that. Good. It's getting easier. He still felt clumsy, fuzzy, as if his mind weren't quite connected to his body. This isn't just the drugs. What the hell did he do to me?

He stumbled and would have fallen if not for Nagi's telekinetic hold. Not him. Me. Impressions of frantic, incessant movement flashed through his mind. I-- He-- Schuldig-- No. One thing at a time. Get to the toilet. At least, now I know what the pain killers are for. I should hurt like hell. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to thank him.

Yohji made his way slowly toward his goal. Once there, he collapsed on the seat. Fuck dignity. It's not like I've got any left anyway. He took a moment to take a physical inventory. My legs'll cramp if I as much as twitch. My hands, hell, my whole arms, shake if they're not supported. I don't hurt much, but... And that ache-- I didn't do that. How long was I out? The son of a bitch put a fucking catheter in me. He closed his eyes. I'd hate the alternative too. Even the thought of him cleaning up the mess isn't... doesn't... The hell with it.

His immediate business dealt with, Yohji turned his attention to the i.v. He looked at it with loathing. That has got to go. I don't need it. I don't need anything from him. He laid his left arm across his legs and began picking at the tape.

"Would you like me to send for the medical tech, Yohji-kun?"

Yohji started slightly at Nagi's words. I'd almost forgotten he was there. Not good. So very not good. He shook his head. "I can do it." He spoke flatly, leaving no room for argument.

In the end, he had to use his teeth to pull the tape loose. His arm bled a little, and he was sure he'd have a spectacular bruise. But the damn thing's out. And I did it myself. He dropped the shunt and looked at Nagi with as much challenge as he could muster.

Nagi regarded him for a moment. "Can you stand, Yohji-kun?"

"Stop treating me like a child!" Yohji snapped. Oh, yeah. Provoke him. Real smart, Kudoh.

Nagi raised an eyebrow. "Are you going to stop acting like one?"

Unable to formulate an answer that wouldn't simply underline Nagi's point, Yohji chose instead to struggle to his feet. He swayed a little but managed to keep his balance without, he hoped, looking too ridiculous. "So where do you want me, Nagi-san? Flat on my back again?" Yohji clenched his hands into fists. He trimmed my damn nails, too. Is there anywhere he didn't touch me? "Or have you already taken care of that part of the routine?" Fuck. I've got to slow down. I can't afford to piss him off again. Tempting as it may be...

"Twice does not routine make," Nagi stated. His tone was flat, but Yohji thought he saw a trace of humor in Nagi's features. "And you're hardly in any shape for such an encounter. Sit down somewhere before you fall. Or, if you're feeling really ambitious, comb your hair and shower. Maybe you'll feel more friendly if you take care of something else yourself." Then Nagi looked at one of the cameras and said a few words in a language Yohji didn't recognize. "Whatever you do, our meal will be here soon." Nagi picked up his book again and appeared to resume reading.

Is he really--? Does he really--? Yohji distractedly ran fingers through his hair then winced as they caught in multiple tangles. "What the fuck did you do to my hair?" Oh, great. I'm going to be nasty to him. How long till he hits me this time?

Nagi looked up. "I washed it, Yohji-kun." He returned his attention to his book.

But I don't think he's mad, at least not yet. Or if he is, he's not letting it show. I can't tell... At least, if he does lose his temper, I don't think it'll hurt as badly. I'm too doped up to feel it much or to fight. Then why--? "If you did... the usual... Nagi-san, I don't think I'd feel it much." Great. That came out clearly. And it sounded like I want to be raped. Which I don't.

"Go and sit down, Yohji-kun." Nagi set his book down with a sigh and met Yohji's eyes.

He's trying to be gentle, but... Something about his eyes. He's trying to see what I'm thinking, feeling, wanting. But what does he want?

"Over there would work." Nagi gestured toward Yohji's mattress.

"Oh." Yohji's eyes followed Nagi's gesture. "Yes." Yes. That would be nice. Soft. Warm. Safe... And I wouldn't have to stand up any more. He took a step forward. Then he stopped and looked at Nagi again. That's not really what he wants. He-- Yohji froze. That's lust. He wants to throw me down and fuck me. He--

Nagi raised his eyebrows. "Well?" He pointed. "Go. Over there."

Yohji flinched at the irritation he heard in Nagi's voice. He's losing patience. I... I don't want that. Not really. Yohji focused his eyes on the mattress and his attention on lifting his feet for each step toward his goal. But I thought I saw... For a moment he was thinking about it. About fucking me again. Wanting to do it right now, right here. I know lust. But... He didn't move. I don't think he moved. If he didn't, there wasn't anything for me to see. I... Just keep moving forward. Almost there.

I'm not going crazy.

Not yet.

The pallet seemed to welcome him, and he collapsed rather than sat. He huddled there for a moment before reaching out to wrap his blanket around his body. He tucked the stuffed cat into his lap and pulled the blanket tight around his shoulders.

That done, he looked up and around the cell. Nagi still knelt on his cushion by the door. Yohji wasn't quite certain what the other man's facial expression meant. I think... I think he feels sorry for me. That's good, isn't it?

Out of the corner of his eye, Yohji saw the blanket he'd been lying on when he awoke twitch. A corner lifted into the air, pulling the rest of the fabric up after it. That looks silly. Yohji giggled. I didn't just do that, did I?

Nagi smiled, and the blanket began to dance. The leading corner moved, and the rest undulated gently after. He's controlling more than just the corner now... Yohji began to laugh. The blanket spun, the fabric near the corner twisting a little while the bottom billowed out in an imitation skirt. If I were steadier on my feet, I'd ask it to dance.

Yohji was never quite certain afterward just when the tears started, but his laughter gradually transformed into sobs. He folded himself to put his knees against his chest and his cheek against his knees. As he began to rock, he was dimly aware that the dancing blanket stilled. A moment later, he felt its weight settle on his shoulders, draping over the first blanket.

Why am I crying? I can't feel much pain right now. These tears don't burn me. No sharp edges... He's being kind again. As long as I don't fuck it up again... I can even use this. I'm just so damn  tired. It's just so hard to focus, to keep up the facade.

A small moving object caught his eye, a white square of cloth. A handkerchief. Oh. It stopped and hovered in front of him. Why stop? Oh. I have to choose. He makes me take the damn blanket but only offers this. Yohji sniffled then extended a very tentative hand. Cotton. Very fine weave. Oh, nice... He tugged on the fabric, and it fell into his hand. He used it to blot his eyes and to blow his nose then dropped it on the floor.

Yohji made himself look at Nagi and coughed a little to clear his throat. "What happens next?" He knew the moment the words were out of his mouth that Nagi would not understand. But saying it hurt so much... And I didn't really want to ask. My editing sucks right now.

"Our meal should be here in a minute. After we eat, we talk."

Yohji shook his head. "I'm sorry, Nagi-san. I meant--  After all of this. After you've learned what you're going to learn. After you're tired of the game. After... Will you kill me then?" I don't want to die, Nagi-san. Holding his head up took effort, and his eyes ached with the intensity of his focus. Will you even tell me? I shouldn't have asked. I couldn't have if... "Do I call these good drugs or bad drugs?"

Nagi sat very still for a moment after Yohji finished speaking then rose to his knees. "I have no intention of killing you, Yohji-kun. I'm sorry. Do you want to die? Is that what this has been about?"

He-- I-- So fierce. Owning me matters to him. It's a change. A big change. Would he disobey Crawford over it? That might be too much to hope for, but... Maybe. Maybe. Should I tell him the truth? I don't think he cares what I want. I don't think it'll change what he wants, what he does. Yohji shuddered. He began inching backward, trying to get his back against the wall.

"If it helps, Yohji-kun, nobody's listening. I had the sound monitoring turned off. I thought it might be easier to talk that way." Nagi lowered himself to a kneeling position again.

"What about watchers? Ran-- Abyssinian?" God, especially Ran.

"He's otherwise occupied," Nagi responded flatly. "He's not watching now."

He doesn't like Ran. Yohji found the wall and let himself lean. I don't think... That's not all of the truth. He closed his eyes. "I don't want to die." But I'm not afraid of it, either. "I just don't want to hurt any more." Damn! My focus is slipping again. What I'm saying is too close to what I feel. I can't afford this. "Good drugs or bad?" he mused.

Nagi chuckled. "You hurt a lot less than you should," he replied.

"But I keep saying things!" Yohji sighed and let his head start rocking from side to side, rolling along the wall. "Bad. Good. Bad. Good. Bad--" His rhythm was interrupted by the sound of the cell door opening, and he opened his eyes again.

Nagi rose to his feet to take a large tray from a woman who didn't seem to want to come near him. She flinched slightly as his hands brushed hers. Then Nagi said something sharp sounding in a language Yohji didn't recognize. 

The same language as before? I think so. What the hell's she so scared of?

The woman crossed to the abandoned i.v. rack and coiled the tubing before pushing the apparatus toward the antechamber. She glanced in Yohji's direction but didn't quite meet his eyes. She paused in front of Nagi, looking at the floor, and said something.

"Yohji-kun, before I let her go, do you want her to put antiseptic on your arm? Or... Are you feeling any excessive discomfort? I can have her give you something additional to take the edge off."

Yohji found himself pressing his back harder against the wall, and he shook his head. No. Not someone else doing things to my body. Not. Then he hesitated. I think there's a reason I shouldn't say no, but... What would Balinese do? He'd take it. No question. Because it'd feel good. No. I can't. "I can't. I just can't. Please?" He choked a little on the last word, hoping the implied 'do I have to?' would be clear. It's not like he doesn't already know I'm not Balinese... And he doesn't like Balinese, anyway.

Nagi smiled. "It's up to you. I just didn't think you'd want to miss out on attention from a pretty woman."

Is she pretty? I hadn't noticed. I should have. Yohji focused his attention on the woman but couldn't seem to really see her. "All women are beautiful when viewed in the proper light, Nagi-san." And that's not really a sequitor, but... Maybe he won't notice.

Nagi frowned for a second then spoke to the woman again, waving a dismissive hand. She continued on into the antechamber, and the door closed quietly behind her. Nagi knelt again and bent over the tray. "Here. You start with this." A tall, lidded cylinder lofted toward Yohji. Reflexively, he extended his hands to catch it, but he moved more slowly than usual and would have missed if the thing hadn't paused at the last minute then settled gently into his grasp. "It's probably a bit too sweet for your taste, Yohji-kun, but I want you to drink all of it."

Yohji hesitated, contemplating the plastic container in his hand. It was cold to the touch, and water had started beading on the surface. "What is it?"

"This and that. Protein. Vitamins. That sort of thing. The medical people recommended it, said you ought to be able to keep it down." Nagi picked up a bowl and spoon and began eating.

He's watching me a lot more carefully than he wants me to realize. I think he's worried. Yohji frowned and tried to figure out how to get the lid off his meal. Ah. There. Well, I suppose he should be worried, at least if he does want me to survive. I'm not in very good shape. I've worked at breaking my body, and my mind...

Yohji sniffed dubiously at the frothy yellow liquid. Some sort of fruit? He did say sweet... He took a cautious sip. Definitely fruit. Thick too. His throat wasn't quite sure what to make of a substance too thick to be liquid and too thin to be solid. He frowned and looked at Nagi. "Yellow fruit flavor?"

Nagi also frowned, but his eyes reflected amusement. "I have it on the highest authority, Yohji-kun, that the flavor is peach."

"Ah." Yohji returned his gaze to the container and raised his eyebrows. "Peach." Not. Well, kind of, but... He took a deep breath. This'll go easier if I drink it fast. Won't notice the flavor or texture quite so much. He tilted his head and the cup, pouring the liquid down as fast as he could swallow it, pausing only when his throat threatened rebellion. It will stay down. It will. God knows what he'll do if I barf now. When he felt more settled, he looked at the container. Only half. Can I do that again?

Yohji's revulsion must have been visible because Nagi said, "All of it, Yohji-kun. You don't need to rush it, but you do have to drink all of it. The doctors say you need it badly."

Doctors? Right. "Or what, Nagi-san?" Anger edged Yohji's voice. Christ! Don't go there, Kudoh. You so don't want to do that... "What are you going to do if I don't?" And do I really care?  I don't know if I do which I suppose means I don't... I just want to know what he'll say.

"Do you really want to know?" Nagi's response was calm, but Yohji thought he saw an underlying tension in the other man's body.

I really should care about this... "I'm sure you'll enjoy telling me." Yohji raised his chin and set down his drink. Shut up, Kudoh! You're being stupid, acting like a child, testing limits. Just drink the stuff and keep him happy. "It's what you want, isn't it? More ways to own me? Well, go ahead! It's not like I can do anything to stop you." But what will he do?

Nagi's expression went flat, and Yohji thought he felt the air go utterly still just for a moment. Then Nagi shook his head. "Not today. Not this time."

Yohji found himself starting to shake. But he wanted to. Oh, he wanted to... And I-- Yohji pulled the blankets in closer about himself. What the hell am I doing? Acting like a stupid fucking teenager. Yeah, way to go, Kudoh! Just because he wants something doesn't mean you have to fucking give it to him.

Yohji spent the next several minutes just looking at his hands, concentrating on breathing and on not throwing up. Actually, when I don't think about the rest of it, what I've already drunk doesn't sit so badly. And the damn stuff probably is good for me. I've worn myself out... I should be smarter than that, better able to cope. With Nagi, with Schuldig, with being trapped. Right now, it's the drugs. Before... They're disassembling me pretty damn well.

"There's no hope for me, is there?" The sound of his own voice startled Yohji. Oh, no...

"That depends, Yohji-kun," Nagi replied. "Define hope. Then maybe I can answer your question.  You asked earlier if you'd live. You will. Beyond that--" He shrugged. "It depends on what you're really asking."

How can he be so sure? What if Crawford-- But I want it to be true. "I--" Yohji found himself staring at the floor, uncertain of exactly what he wanted to say. If I really ask, I admit how close I am to falling apart. He may guess, but... I don't think he knows where the fractures are. "I don't know, Nagi-san." He looked up at the ceiling. Yes, that'll work. "Will I see the sun again? Feel the wind and the rain?" I just want someone to hold me, even if it's him. I don't think there is any hope; he almost owns me now. So no hope, not really.

"Do you miss those things so much?" Nagi's voice was warm with sympathy. He sighed. "I like to look at the stars. The view here's pretty good, less light pollution than Tokyo. You'd almost swear you were about to fall upward."

We're not in Tokyo. "I almost never left the city until I started working. The schools I attended were never good ones." Yohji sighed and let his head fall back against the wall. "But you must know that."

"I know Kritiker's opinions." Nagi waved a dismissive hand. "That doesn't tell me how it really was, though."

"Oh, well..." I wish I had a cigarette. "I doubt that a better school would have made any difference. I'm a natural slacker." I haven't had that craving for a while. I thought it'd be more all consuming. "I was just glad to get out."

"A slacker, Yohji-kun?" Nagi sounded amused. "I suppose that's why you're so good as an assassin. Such an easy job. No need for practice or skill there."

"Hush! Don't give away my secret. People'll start expecting actual work out of me!"

"You should have picked a weapon that didn't require finesse. Speaking of that-- I always wondered-- Why don't you carry a gun?"

"Because you haven't given me one," Yohji replied instantly.

Nagi laughed. "And I'm not likely to any time soon, either. All right, why didn't you, any of Weiss for that matter, carry a gun?"

How to say this... I've got to pay attention; I'm not scared enough to do this right. "Persia-- the Persia that was, not the current one-- He had some idea that the whole endeavor was nobler if we stayed away from firearms. Something about making us traditional Japanese warriors." Yohji snorted. "At least, that's what they told us." And if Ken had had even one decent ranged weapon... Ken, you idiot, you should have run! "After he died..." Careful. "Ran-- Abyssinian-- using guns offends his sensibilities. Not Japanese enough. He got pretty damn pissy when I pointed out that he was agreeing with a Takatori, but... He didn't want us to be imitation American thugs." Yohji felt a small smile escape him and hoped that it could pass as amusement at Ran's pigheadedness as opposed to the more awkward pleasure at telling his lies properly. Ran just made a convenient excuse to withdraw our request after Birman... Her eyes went so damn cold when Omi asked. It's not like any of us were actually listening to Ran then.

"That's pretty silly."

But Nagi seems satisfied with the answer. "Ran's like that."

Nagi smiled. "So everyone says. I've never actually talked to him. Crawford complains about him nonstop, though. I gather he's not very... flexible in thought."

He hasn't talked to Ran, but... I don't think he likes Ran at all. Why not? Usually that takes personal experience. Wait a minute-- Why do I think he doesn't like Ran? He's been sitting so damn still that I'm surprised I can get anything from his body language. "Then why do you dislike him so much?"

Nagi hesitated and cocked his head to one side as if considering. "I hear far too much about him. He doesn't seem worth the effort of talking about." Nagi's expression sharpened. "I don't understand why you let him have that kind of power over you."

No, he doesn't like Ran. Is he jealous? Of what? Yohji shrugged and bit his lip. There's nothing good I can say to that.

Nagi's expression softened. "Try a little more of your drink, Yohji-kun. If you can keep that down, we'll try some real food."

Yohji felt a sudden surge of irritation and bit his lip harder. That feels so small, but if I let it go, I'll say something really bitter. Again. He picked up his cup and contemplated the liquid within. Oh, come on, Kudoh. Just drink the stuff. He put the cup to his lips and tilted it. Swallow. Swallow. Oh, god-- He choked a little and pressed his arms against his chest. His throat spasmed once then settled. Stay down. Just stay down. Please.

"If you really can't manage any more, Yohji-kun, we can wait a bit and try again."

"That was most of it, Nagi-san, but..." Yohji set the cup down again. About three centimeters left. I can do that. I can. "I'll try." If I throw up on my bed, will he replace it?

"You've done quite a number on yourself," Nagi said conversationally.

"Not without your help." And Schuldig's. Yohji met Nagi's eyes. Why the hell did I say that to Schuldig? Insisting that he face reality when he doesn't want to. I don't give a damn if he thinks Nagi's a child or not. Well, I did piss him off. That has its upside. Is Nagi a child? He's old enough for me to hold him responsible. Is he old enough... Never mind.

Nagi seemed to consider. Then he smiled just a little.

"And you're damned proud of it, too." I shouldn't have said that. Yohji pulled his knees up again and laid his cheek on them. "I hate you, Nagi-san." He spoke without heat, almost without inflection.

Nagi's laugh held almost no humor. "Is that supposed to surprise me, Yohji-kun?"

"No," Yohji whispered. "No, it shouldn't." He wasn't even sure Nagi could hear his words. But I think it disappoints you. And now you want to come over here and make me look at you. You, the new center of my sick little universe.

"I'm not going to let you do this again, you know."

This? Do what? I'm too tired... Does he mean sleep? No, he said that was okay before. Something else, then. Yohji found his mind starting to retreat. But I could sleep again now. If he's restrained himself so far, he's probably not going to touch me if I make myself vulnerable. I wish... "Any comfort's better than none..." he murmured. And like this I can't predict what he's going to do. No routine, and my brain's somewhere in outer space.

"What did you say?"

Yohji raised his head. "Nothing, Nagi-san." If he didn't hear that, I'm sure as hell not giving it to him deliberately.

Their eyes met and held for a moment before Yohji looked away. Yes, Nagi-san. You could force me to say it again. I'd lie once or twice along the way, but I've broken far enough that you could do it. You'd just have to be willing to shatter me in the process, and for some reason you don't seem to want to do that. He felt a sudden tension in his body as realization dawned. I just have to look fragile. You don't want to shatter me, so you'll back off if you think I'm close. But you're not stupid, so I'll have to be close. He buried his face on his knees and started to rock. And I am close. Even with these damned drugs, I'm close. "Don't hurt me, please." He tugged at the blankets as if trying to get them to swallow him. "Please, Nagi-san." It's part pretense. Really.

"Yohji-kun," Nagi said sharply.

Obediently, Yohji raised his head. Almost a reflex now. That's bad. That's very bad. He whimpered, swallowing words that wanted to escape. But I think I scared him. That's good, isn't it?

"Pay attention," Nagi ordered.

Yohji nodded, not taking his eyes from Nagi's face. "Yes, Nagi-san. I'm listening." His voice trembled, and he felt a surge of shame at his weakness. It's not all the drugs. I wish it were.

"We are not going to do this again." Nagi's expression was momentarily grim. "More specifically, you're not going to do this again."

I could pretend to misunderstand. I don't think it would help.
"I need to exercise, Nagi-san," Yohji protested mildly. He gestured around the room. "It's not as if you've given me a lot of other things to do."

"Nevertheless." Nagi picked up a cup from the tray next to him and took a sip. "You are not to... get carried away... again."

Yohji looked away. "I can't promise that." I can't.

"I know." Nagi let the silence stretch for a few moments before he went on, "That's why I've given orders to my people. You can work out. That's fine. However, when you fall, you will stop. One stumble, that's all. After that, you are to rest. You may sleep, shower, eat. Anything else, and we'll gas you. I will not permit you to damage yourself this way again."

Yohji bit his lip. So my body's yours, and you don't like what I'm doing with it. I will not say anything! He took a deep breath. Okay, there is something I can say... "Two stumbles, Nagi-san. Please."

"One, Yohji-kun."

"Two. I don't want some over zealous twit gassing me because I trip on my way to the toilet."

Nagi smiled. "I suppose that's a reasonable concern. One or two of the technicians aren't really that bright."

I should have asked for more. Yohji fought the urge to lower his head again. "It's all I've got, Nagi-san."

"It doesn't have to be. You know that."

Yohji felt his eyes widen. That's new. What does it mean? His mind went blank for a moment, refusing to process the possibilities. He lowered his head to his knees for a moment. I can't think. "You've never-- So far, it's been a choice between less pain and... more pain." Pay attention, Kudoh! This is important. He raised his head again.

Nagi looked thoughtful. He hesitated for a moment before saying, "I suppose I haven't explicitly offered you anything."

No, you damn well haven't. I'd bargain. Oh, hell. Is he springing this on me now because I can't think?  Yohji shook his head. "I-- can't think."

"I'd be surprised if you could, but you do have a lot of mental discipline. Not something reflected by your dossier." A corner of Nagi's mouth curved in an ironic smile.

No, I don't. I can't. Balinese doesn't-- Yohji shook his head again then made himself meet Nagi's eyes. God-- "You know..." I shouldn't have said that. He guesses; he doesn't know. He can't be sure. Got to get my head together.

"I haven't told anyone, if that's what worries you." Nagi lifted his cup and took a sip. "Crawford would want to... dissect the differences, dissect you. I just... appreciate them. You're more interesting than I expected."

He doesn't want Balinese; he wants me. I... Yohji pulled his knees in tighter. He'll get me eventually.  "What do you want?" There're some things I can't give, some things I won't. At least not yet. "What do you want that you can't just take?" I didn't need to say that. Focus. I need to focus. I've got to stop saying things I don't want to.

"Some things can't just be taken. For the moment, however... Perhaps we should start simply. I suspect there's only so far I can-- should-- trust you."

Yohji laughed without humor. "Smart man." Start simply! I don't think he even knows what he wants from me. No, he wants everything; he's just not sure where to start. "I think... Your price is too high." It almost isn't, though. If it was just me... I'd cooperate. I'd bend. I could come back from that. He lowered his head. I'm tired. "I'm very tired, Nagi-san."

"Finish your drink, then, Yohji-kun. After that, you can take a nap. I'll be here when you wake up."

Back to Index.
Back to Part 4.
On to Part 6.