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Disclaimer: 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.

Author: The RCK
Website: http://www.therck.org

Pairing: Omi/Aya, Omi/Yohji (this part only)
Rating: R
Warnings: AU, dubious consent (Aya thinks he can consent. I'm not sure I agree), dark Kritiker, slavery, mind control, sort of a WIP, currently unbeta'd
Posted: 9 April 2010

Thanks to Olna Jenn for cheerleading. All mistakes and infelicities are mine.

Picking Through the Ashes
Torsion part 3
Chapter 1


Nearly a week after Ken had confronted Aya, Yohji staged his own confrontation. He and Aya had just finished delivering the day's orders when Yohji suggested a brief stop for a walk and a smoke.

"It'll give me a fix before we go home," he said.

Aya frowned then shrugged. Ken and Omi were both in the shop, and they'd finished more quickly than he'd expected. There's a reason, though. He doesn't seek my company.

Yohji smoked most of a cigarette before he said anything. The silence made Aya nervous, but he wasn't about to break it himself.

Finally, Yohji cleared his throat. "I'm supposed to report changes in team dynamics," he said. "Not on a schedule, only when I'm asked, but I'll be asked soon, probably some time next week."

Aya froze for half a second. Report-- Not to Omi. That means-- Fuck. "Who do you answer to?" It was all he could do not to attack. Threat. Danger. Betrayal.

"Persia when he bothers then Manx then Omi." Yohji tossed his cigarette to the ground and stepped on it, grinding it underfoot. "I'd rather reverse the order. Hell, I'd rather drop everybody but Omi."

Aya twitched at the bitterness in Yohji's words. He'd rather drop Omi, too, but he sees the least evil. He inhaled sharply but said nothing.

"I have orders-- I'm not allowed to tell Omi or Ken any of this. Manx likes hedging me in with...specific orders." Yohji lit another cigarette and didn't quite look at Aya.

"No one told you not to tell me." Stupid to state the obvious.

"And no one's told you who to tell or not tell." Yohji pinched his nose as if he had a headache.

He probably does. He's weaseling around the conditioning.

"There's--" Yohji hesitated and swallowed hard. "They gave me an out. If Omi's a good little Kritiker drone, if he treats me the way a normal team leader would--" He wrinkled his face as if the words tasted bad. "Persia and Manx made a bet. She thinks Omi's too soft, too weak, unworthy. Persia said that, if Omi fucks me, I belong to him and can tell him everything."

He's asking me to-- Shit. I need to know more. No. I don't. I can ask later. Aya pulled out his cell phone and pulled Omi's number up. He deliberately used Omi's personal number rather than the shop line.

"Hello!" Omi sounded very young and very cheerful.

"Bombay." Aya hoped he could signal that this was serious business just by using the name.

"Go on." Omi's tone became more serious, flatter.

Hearing customers in the background, Aya knew that he wouldn't get more specific acknowledgment. "This is urgent. Please order Balinese to obey me. I can hand him my phone or you can call him in a few moments when you have some privacy." He put every scrap of serious urgency he could into his words. He begged for help or as good as.  He studied Yohji. He knows what he's asking, doesn't he?

"I'll call back in five minutes." Omi hung up.

Yohji's eyes were wide and more than a little wild.

Aya took several seconds to put his phone away. He met Yohji's eyes and said, "This is the wrong time to panic." You haven't got any choices now. I'm sorry. And you did ask.

Yohji took a deep breath. He closed his eyes.

Aya wondered if Yohji would run. Don't. You'll die. I'll have to kill you. He cleared his throat. "Persia and Manx-- Have they--?" His throat closed on the rest of the question.

"She told me to get plenty of practice. I wasn't...skilled enough the first time."

Aya's stomach roiled. He cleared his throat a second time. "That explains a few things."

"Yes." Yohji inhaled deeply, sucking in nicotine laden smoke. "He wasn't interested in me."

Thank heaven for small favors. "Why did you join Kritiker?"

"I got drafted, just my bad luck." Yohji sucked harder on his cigarette. The ash lengthened rapidly. "I didn't have anything to go back to anyway."

Yohji's phone rang. He answered it.

Aya watched carefully for the minute changes in expression and posture that would tell him when Yohji was under orders. He sighed as those shifts happened.

Yohji put his phone away. He met Aya's eyes and nodded. "I'm yours."

"We're going to the sub-basement. You are not to talk to anyone beyond what's necessary for cover until we're there. Once there, you may talk to me, and you may talk to Omi." Not that my orders would ever supersede Omi's. "Follow me." Aya turned and started back toward the van. As an afterthought, he added, "You may smoke on the way. You probably won't get another chance for a while."

Getting through the store was both harder and easier than Aya had anticipated. There weren't many customers, and he and Yohji were able to slip past without drawing their attention. Omi, however, frowned at them.

Aya forestalled questions by saying, "We'll be downstairs. When you have time for a long talk, Omi, come join us."

Omi's frown deepened but became more pensive. He nodded then turned his attention back to the young man he was helping.

Aya led Yohji down the stairs to the briefing room then through to the practice room. He waved Yohji through to the deeper areas, aiming for the briefing room he, Omi and Ken had used the week before.

"Everything down here should be Omi's," Aya told Yohji. "This room. Strip. I want everything off. You can put it on the couch."

Once he was sure Yohji was obeying, Aya went to the corner and shook out two of the blankets he'd left there.

Now completely naked, without even his watch, Yohji stepped away from the couch. Without prompting, he turned slowly so that Aya could confirm that he wasn't wearing or carrying anything.

Aya beckoned Yohji toward the door. He tossed Yohji a blanket once he was in the doorway and well clear of the couch.

Yohji wrapped the blanket around himself then stood still in the hallway, waiting.

"There's a room down here with an attached toilet." A room with a door that locks from the outside. "Three doors down on the right." Aya went first to make sure the room was as he remembered it.

Yohji looked at the door, obviously noting the lock, but he still didn't say anything.

Aya was starting to find the silence unnerving. "You are allowed to talk now that we're down here."

"I can't think of a fucking thing to say." Yohji sounded like he hated this as much as Aya did.

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry." If it's just been Manx and not that often, you're lucky. If it really works the way you think it will, you're lucky. "Was this your first assignment?" No, I don't want to know.

"Yes." Yohji stood in the middle of the room, clutching the blanket. He looked around.

"There's toilet paper. The bedding's not fresh, but it's better than nothing. I don't think it's been at all damp down here." Aya tossed the second blanket into the room. "I don't know when Omi will be free. Stay in here until he comes." He might decide just to kill you. I don't think he will, but he might. "If it looks like he'll be a while, I'll bring food."

Yohji nodded. He sat carefully on the cot which creaked under his weight. He grimaced. "May I move the mattress to the floor?"

Aya nodded. "I'll remove the frame so you don't lose the space." He took one end of the mattress, letting Yohji lift the other. Together, they folded the frame flat so that Aya could carry it. "Would you like me to fetch a book if I get a chance?"

Yohji shook his head. "I wouldn't know what to do with a book."

Right. I'll bring a book later anyway, assuming he's here long. He'll need something to do. I can't think Omi will let him out soon. Aya propped the cot frame in the hallway outside the door. "I'll stay near." I don't think I can bear to stay in the same room right now.

"They talked a lot about Omi."

That means, 'Please don't go.' Aya hesitated in the doorway. "Tell me," he said, knowing that it had the force of command. I could-- maybe even should-- walk away.

Yohji sat on the mattress, tucking the blanket around himself. "Persia says Omi's his son. Manx says he's Persia's nephew."

Aya felt his heart freeze. Omi is a Takatori. He licked his lips. "Does Omi know?"

Yohji shrugged. "They don't think so. Right now, though, he's Persia's probable successor, assuming he survives."

"We won't survive if he doesn't."

Yohji shrugged again. "The politics are over my head. They said he has a lot of latitude because he needs to learn independence." He frowned. "I think Manx tries to sabotage him. I think Persia knows it, too."

I wonder if Omi knows that part. He's still alive. He must know he has enemies. It's her he wants to fool, right? Aya itched to shut the door on Yohji, to avoid the problem he represented. "Omi is smart. He's...not kind, but he's smart." Smart enough to change everything if he lives. I hope.

Yohji gave Aya a smile that was bitter with hope. "He's kinder than the alternatives." He pulled his knees up against his chest. "He works at it." He looked away. "Manx never wanted my opinions, you know. Persia would ask when she wasn't there, but she only wanted facts. She said I wasn't smart enough to interpret anything."

Aya hadn't previously bothered to have an opinion of Manx. But now.... "It's easier if she's stupid." Persia's not stupid, though. He may want Omi to succeed, but does he want Omi to succeed at what Omi wants or--? I'm going to give myself a headache.

"She's not stupid exactly. More obsessed. She thinks Persia's God."

Aya snorted. "For us, he might as well be." He regretted the words instantly as pain spiked through his skull. He staggered, using the wall to hold himself up. He swallowed hard. <Right. Nothing against Persia. Everything for Omi, but nothing against Persia.

Yohji crossed the room rapidly, his blanket sliding to the floor. "Aya--" He put a hand under Aya's elbow and lifted a little.

Aya let himself lean a little. "I'm fine." He put his back to the wall and tried hard to look fine. He met Yohji's eyes. He's really worried. "I've been through conditioning four times." He licked his lips and swallowed hard again. "There are some things too dangerous to say."

Yohji's eyes widened a bit, but he nodded. "You should sit. Those pain spikes are a bitch." He didn't step back.

Aya wanted to growl at the other man to give him some space. But it's nice to have someone care. "I...shouldn't. I need to talk to Omi as soon as he comes down." And before he sees you, before I let him into the room with you. Hell, I don't know what orders you've been given. You might be ready to try to kill him. He pulled himself together and focused on Yohji. "Thank you."

Yohji hesitated then backed away by about three steps. "How did you survive four times?"

"I didn't have a choice." Aya fought for a different topic, one without the looming specter of the research labs. "And the first time wasn't so bad."

"Huh." Yohji bent to retrieve his blanket. He wrapped it around himself. "You volunteered, didn't you?"

"I had my reasons." I still do.

"Do you think-- Will Omi take long?"

"That depends on business. He won't want to leave Ken alone during a rush." Plus, I didn't give him the impression this was a time sensitive sort of urgent.

"Ken could keep up." Yohji seated himself on the mattress again.

You'd rather not wait. Too bad. There's going to be a lot of waiting. Aya cleared his throat. "If it helps, he doesn't play games. He takes what he wants, but it's about what he enjoys instead of--" He made a sharp chopping motion. "He doesn't get off on hurting people. There's that at least."

Yohji's expression flattened. He looked at the floor. He twisted the blanket between his fingers.

"Stay in this room. I'll go let Omi know we need to talk." Aya turned to go then realized he'd forgotten something. "You may go into the adjoining room if you want the toilet or the sink."

"Thanks." Yohji looked at the ceiling.

Aya shut the door and walked away. He detoured just far enough to splash water on his face and neck. Now I have to figure out how to explain this to Omi. No, that's simple enough. I have to figure out how not to hate myself. He rubbed water from his face. Six months ago, I was numb enough that I wouldn't have cared.

He wasn't particularly surprised to find Omi in the practice room, throwing darts at a target. He bowed once he was sure Omi had seen him then stepped backward, inviting Omi to follow.

Omi took a moment to put his darts away. He didn't say a word until they were in the briefing room. "How bad is it?" He studied the pile of Yohji's clothing and possessions.

"Your authority over him is tertiary with Persia primary and Manx secondary."

Omi's frown lasted barely a moment. He opened his mouth to speak.

Aya closed his eyes for a moment so that he could keep speaking. "There's an out. At least, he thinks there is. Persia and Manx made a bet. If you fuck him, if you treat him the way any normal team leader would, full control passes to you." He opened his eyes.

The rage on Omi's face made Aya want to cower. Again, the expression disappeared rapidly. "Where is he?"

"I put him in one of the rooms down the hall. He's got a sink and a toilet and a couple of blankets."

"He told you all of this--?"

"He said I hadn't been included in his orders not to tell." Aya shrugged. Do you want my guesses?

"What's your opinion?" Omi sounded genuinely interested.

"I think he wasn't sure before that he could trust me, but he knows now that I belong to you." Aya looked at Omi's feet. "I think it took guts."

"You believe him." Omi nodded as if he'd expected that.

"There are easier ways to kill you." Using me would be more believable.

"Indeed." Omi rubbed his hands on his pants. "I have a meeting this evening. I need to leave in no more than an hour."

"It shouldn't take long, right?" It shouldn't. I know you won't play games.

"That depends on how he thinks other team leaders treat their people." This time Omi's frown lasted. "It also depends-- I have to be sure."

Aya swallowed hard. "He said that, when control passes, he'll be able to tell you everything. Persia set it up that way." It could all be a lie. Will we ever be able to trust him? Hell, can we trust Ken? No. Two spies would be too much, and nobody but Persia could do it. The conflicting loyalties would tear the spy apart. Besides, Ken can't lie.

"Go upstairs and fetch lube and condoms." Omi picked up Yohji's watch and turned it over in his hands.

The order set Aya moving. He took the stairs at a rapid pace. He offered Ken an apologetic shrug, mouthing, 'orders,' as he passed through the shop. He found the required items in Omi's room. Finding a discrete bag for the return trip took a little longer, and Aya could feel seconds slipping away. By the time he got back to Omi, he'd used at least fifteen minutes.

Omi didn't appear to have moved. He set down Yohji's watch. "Thank you, Aya-kun. I request that you wait here. I shouldn't be long, and I'd rather not have an audience. If I'm not back in twenty minutes or if you hear something suspicious, come and check."

Aya nodded and offered the brown paper bag.

Omi took the bag. He paused next to Aya then pulled him down for a kiss that lasted several seconds.

Aya let himself soften into the kiss. Take what you want.

Omi stepped back. "I wanted to start with something clean." Then he was out the door and gone.

Aya sat down to count the minutes and to listen. What the hell do we tell Ken? Do we tell him anything? There's Omi talking. Thank goodness I can't make out words. No answer from Yohji. Think about something else-- The centerpieces for that wedding reception day after tomorrow are going to take a couple of hours. He focused on the specific flowers, the lengths of the stems, the placement of each bloom and scrap of greenery.

At the fifteen minute mark, Omi walked back in. He was tucking in his belt. "Not enough, not if he's accurate about being able to tell me everything."

Aya sagged a little. "I'd hoped...."

Omi met and held Aya's eyes. "I want you to work on it a bit. I can't put off this meeting, but I don't want to lose time with Yohji."

Aya wanted to bow to acknowledge the order, but he couldn't break eye contact. He bit his lip.

"Fuck him. Make a show out of it. I'll put a camera in so it can be for my amusement." Omi didn't sound amused. "Compassion is at your discretion."

The last sentence startled Aya. Did he just--? Yes. If I can decide whether or not to be compassionate, I'm allowed to be cruel. I don't want to be cruel. "As you say." He stood up.

Omi led the way back to Yohji's room and opened the door. He stepped inside. "Yohji-kun, I have a meeting. Now that I've seen your body, though, I want to see more. In fact, I want to see it with another beautiful body."

Yohji lay face down on the mattress. One of the blankets covered him between his shoulders and his knees. He raised his head when Omi spoke.

He looks lost. Aya wished he didn't have to see that.

"I'm going to put a camera in here. I have time enough for that. Then Aya-kun will play with you. You'll be good for that, yes?"

"Yes," Yohji whispered. He raised himself to his hands and knees, the blanket slipping to one side. He didn't quite look at Aya.

"Aya-kun, no less than half an hour. I want to be able to enjoy looking at both of you, so mind where the camera is. No less than half an hour."

Yohji started to shake. His arms gave out under him, and he collapsed on the mattress again. After a moment, he said, "Omi, are you really Persia's son?"

"Who told you that?"

"He did." Yohji pushed himself up once again. "Manx always said nephew, and Persia went along with her when she was around, but he said son when she wasn't. He kept saying that she was underestimating you." He wrapped the blanket around his body as he sat.

"I really do have a meeting." Omi checked his watch. "I'll want more details later."

Rescind the orders. Please. Aya felt frozen. Otherwise I'll have to-- and it's not necessary, not at all.

"I don't even have time to set up that camera. Aya-kun, there's no need to bother with those previous orders about Yohji-kun. Find him some clean clothes and toiletries and make him comfortable--" Omi looked around as if to imply 'as comfortable as anybody can be down here.' "--for now. Once that's done, Ken-kun needs help until closing time. Yohji-kun, unless it's an emergency, you are to stay down here. You may rest or work on cleaning some of the rooms Aya-kun hasn't gotten to yet."

Omi walked over to Yohji and put a hand on his head. "Welcome to Weiss, Balinese. You'll answer to me, to my voice, to my command, until I'm dead or I release you back to Kritiker."

Yohji flinched at the formal phrases. His jaw set, and he made a strangled sound of pain.

Omi stroked Yohji's hair. "It will get easier, Yohji-kun. Consider all standing orders from anyone but me to be in abeyance. We'll sort them out later and get rid of most of them."

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