Oneshot; This was my take on what might happen at the end of Naked Truth, when a tired Asami and hurt Takaba finally are alone together. Written May 2008
He thought it much like the silence that had hung between them since their escape from the ship. A glance at his companion told him it wasn't likely to be broken, and that disturbed him. For someone who was so talkative, no, for a kid who wouldn't shut up, Akihito was doing a good imitation of a mute. As usual, it was going to be his job to break down barriers, even though he was exhausted and hurting. Responsibility always came before any physical limitations, especially where Akihito was concerned.
He purposefully sighed audibly, drawing a look at least from the boy. "It was like running a pre-school. Feilong and Arbatov. I should have spanked them and sent them to stand in the corner." And you. What should I do with you?
Still no answer. Just eyes that clouded and dropped. Where was the anger? Had they finally broken him? His heart galloped and skipped a beat before it settled down, echoed by a dull throb in his head. No. He'd been there in time. He had to have been.
He tried a gentle needle. "Fighting over a piece of candy like you..."
The prick of it drew tears, and finally words, but no life. "Can you just stop for tonight? I know what you're trying to do, but please, just don't."
His shoulders were too tight from holding himself upright by force of will, and blood was now pounding in his temples, but he probed at the wound to keep the words flowing. "It's not like you to whine."
"Maybe I've changed. Maybe I'm..." Akihito turned away. "Look, I'd really like to take a shower. Do you mind if I do?"
"You don't need to ask permission with me." It cut him. Every word the boy spoke. He stood there bleeding as Akihito entered the bathroom and closed the door.
There had to be scotch in the room. He spotted a mini-bar. That would hold a swallow at most. He searched for his phone, but he'd lost it somewhere. Kirishima must have been tired. Usually he'd have a replacement on hand right away. They were all tired.
He picked up the hotel phone and stared at the dialpad. He didn't even know their phone numbers. Kirishima always programmed his speed dials for him, and he'd never looked. Annoyed at his helplessness, he hit "O" for the front desk.
"Send up a bottle of scotch, single-malt, quality. A glass—no two, and some ice made with distilled water. And I want two full breakfasts, one Japanese-style, one Western style."
The voice on the phone objected.
"I don't care if your kitchen is closed. Get what I want and earn two hundred dollars. US, not Hong Kong. Don't get what I want and earn a visit from my bodyguard. The blond one. And he's in a worse mood than I am right now."
There was silence, then assent. He hung up, then slowly sank into one of the chairs by the window.
The shower was still running.
Probably washing all the blood off. He'd run toward him, Akihito had, when Asami had kicked that Russian bastard through the door. At first the boy had rolled off the bed and crouched on the far side of the room, then he'd recognized who had come in, and he'd run to him. He hadn't known his heart could beat so furiously.
But there had been blood on his suit. It had been soaked through in parts. Akihito hadn't noticed right away, but he'd noticed soon enough. He'd been frantic, at first. But when he'd found it was everyone else's he'd grown quiet.
He's just a kid. What did you expect?
What had he expected?
There was a knock at the door. He pulled his gun out again, glancing at it. It badly needed cleaning, but it hadn't failed him all night.
One of his younger guards, Sakuma, poked his head in. "Asami-sama, did you order food?"
He set his gun on the table. "Yes, bring it in. Sign the chit. Add on $1500." The guard's eyes widened. "Just do it." He was in no mood to explain currency exchanges.
Sakuma bowed, then left for a moment before wheeling the cart in. The food looked hot. Sakuma looked hungry.
"Have you eaten tonight? No? Then order something. You and the other can switch off, but not for too long."
"Thank you, Asami-sama."
Asami waved him out. His life depended upon his men. He took care of them. Only then did he let himself eat the Japanese food. It was edible, barely.
The shower was still running when he finished.
His shoulder was killing him. The bed looked inviting, but it didn't matter. He pushed the weariness aside. Booze and cigarettes should do the trick. He cracked open the scotch and poured it over a tumbler of ice, then lit up.
The drink relaxed him, the nicotine woke him up. In about fifteen minutes he was feeling pretty good. Except that the shower was still running.
He didn't bother knocking; he just walked right in. Akihito was sitting on the floor, head buried in arms that rested on bent up knees, letting the water run over him. The sound of the water almost covered it. In fact it had, though the door. But Asami heard the crying from where he stood.
The last time it had happened was after Feilong had shot at them back in Tokyo. Asami's response had been to fuck him brutally until no trace of Feilong remained, on his body or in his mind. But that was when they'd just spent an hour bickering on the way to his place. Akihito had been a little scared, a little shocked, but for the most part furious. Asami had known that all he had to do was pull that fury back out into the open, even if it was aimed at him, and Akihito would get past the shooting. And it had worked.
This time though, there didn't seem to be any fury inside him. That worried him. And what it might take to bring out any that could be lurking in there was something he had no desire to do.
After shutting off the now-cold water, he crouched down beside the naked shivering figure. He spoke softly. "Akihito. Come back into the bedroom. There's food waiting." He set his hand on the boy's wet head, feeling a small flinch. The anger that had drained away earlier came back in an instant, only now there was no one to kill. He pulled his hand away and clenched his fist to keep it from shaking.
"Akihito." He knew his voice was betraying him, because Akihito's head shot up, fear in his eyes. He forcibly suppressed the anger, leaving only a dull ache in his chest that matched the pain in the rest of his body. He sighed. "I'm going to take you home. That's what you wanted, right?"
Akihito hesitantly nodded.
"You need to eat something and get dressed. Then you can sleep until Kirishima arranges for us to get out of this fucking country."
"S-sleep?" Like he didn't believe it. Asami didn't believe it either, but he wasn't sure he could walk, let alone have sex.
"Sleep. We could both use some."
"Y-you don't want to... to...?"
"Later. When we won't be interrupted."
"What if... what if I don't w-want to?"
Asami tilted his head and thought for a second. Honesty was best. "Then I suppose you'll have to fight me and run away. But that should wait until we get home. Don't you agree?"
After a moment, Akihito nodded. He silently got to his feet and began drying himself with a warmed towel. All the tears, the emotions, the words were again locked away behind a troubled mask. Asami wondered if he'd done the right thing.
For now though he just wanted Akihito to leave the room. He'd crouched, forgetting his leg. There was no way in hell he could stand up without dragging himself to the side of the bath, but he was damned if he'd do it in front of the boy.
He felt Akihito's eyes on him, and he looked up to see them fill with tears. Akihito was looking at his thigh. He glanced down to see blood seeping through the leg of his trousers. "Shit."
"You're still hurt. A...Asami. You came even when... Why?" Tears were flowing again.
He knew why, now. He knew what had driven him to leave Tokyo before he was healed, to meet Feilong before he was prepared, and to kill anyone who got between them.
"Because..." Only the truth would do. But which truth? "Because I had to."
Akihito stared at him, obviously confused.
"You're.... " not that important to me. Those damned words from the past echoed in his head. Just who had he been trying to convince? Not Akihito, who was still staring at him.
"You... I..." He still had trouble believing it, much less saying it. "I had to," he said helplessly.
Akihito padded softly across the bathroom on bare feet, and reached down a hand. "Let me help."
Asami wanted to refuse, but he looked up into Akihito's eyes and saw calm there for the first time that night. Akihito always forgot his pain in the face of others'.
He couldn't refuse that, and reached up and took the offer. He let Akihito support him walking back to the bedroom. He didn't even complain when Akihito fussed and removed his shoes and put pillows behind him.
But when he saw Akihito standing to the side like a servant while his wounds were being tended later, he couldn't take it.
"Come here, Akihito." He beckoned him, putting his hand upon the coverlet to his right.
Akihito looked down and to the side. "I'll be in the way."
"You won't. Not if you sit here."
The boy shifted on his feet. "I... the blood. The smell of it..."
Oh. Asami didn't push it. Not until his men had left. Akihito was still standing there, nervous.
"Did you eat?"
He seemed slightly surprised at the question. "No. I forgot."
"Give me the phone. I'll order more."
"I'm... No, thank you, I'm really not hungry."
Asami couldn't take it anymore, yet he couldn't exactly chase him around the room. But he was good at persuasion. He spoke softly. "Akihito, come, sit by me. Just sit. I could hardly do anything in this condition."
A small smile flit across Akihito's face, though his eyes were sad. "As if that would stop you." For some reason Asami's heart thumped in his chest.
"You have my word. We'll sit, and talk."
Akihito began pacing beside the bed, just out of reach. "That's not... I don't want to talk. There's nothing to talk about."
Asami considered the pacing, and the scrunched up shoulders. "Let's talk about your tattoo."
The pacing stopped. It was barely a whisper, but he heard it. "I don't belong to anyone."
Akihito was wrong, but he wasn't going to tell him quite so bluntly. "You don't, not that way, not as a slave. But don't pieces of you belong to whoever cares about you? Don't you give parts of yourself to all of your friends and family?" And lover?
"Yes. Of course I do. But that's not the same and you know it."
"I know it. I just wanted to make sure you did. Don't they all mark you in some way?" Haven't I?
Akihito's eyes looked lost. Then he recalled himself. "On the inside. They don't need marks like this," he lifted his wrist, "because they mark me where it matters."
"Ah, we have."
A startled glance shot his way.
"Do you deny that, too?"
After another pause, Akihito shook his head. "No. I can't. I know it's true. That's one thing I found out. You're not... You're not what I thought."
At the acknowledgment Asami felt something lift from his shoulders. It was like victory, yet not.
Akihito continued, a little sadly, "And neither am I."
"Are any of us? Don't you think I'm disappointed in myself for letting this happen to you?"
"It's not your fault. I'm the one who chased after Feilong."
"You did. And I should have been able to stop him. I should have been able to stop you."
Akihito's eyebrows scrunched up. "You're not responsible for my actions."
"I didn't say I was. But I should have been able to take care of you. No, listen. This isn't your world Akihito. Didn't you learn that you don't belong in it?"
"Yeah. I learned it. The hard way."
"And if one of your friends got into something they couldn't handle, but you could, wouldn't you try to take care of them?"
"Is that what we are. Friends?" Such a bitter question.
"You know we aren't."
Akihito snorted sarcastically.
Asami ignored it. "You're my lover."
That got him another look of surprise.
"That's right. No games. No name calling. Not today. We've been having sex for a year now. But at some point it became more than that, didn't it, for both of us?" Akihito wouldn't answer, so he pressed him. "Didn't it?"
"I... " Akihito's shoulders firmed up a little. "Not before, not really lovers, the way I saw it. But now." He took a deep breath. "Now I kind of do. I'm... I'm OK with it now."
"Such a ringing endorsement." Now he was the one who sounded bitter, and Akihito picked up on it.
"What the hell, Asami? You expect me to be enthusiastic about it? After the history between us? Yeah, you were better than Feilong. And a hell of a lot better than those foreign nut-cases. But don't forget how it started. You weren't exactly going out of your way to be nice to me."
The pain was back in his head, blood pounding. The fucking brat. He had no idea. The desire to lash out and master exploded in him. Only he couldn't, trapped there on the bed. Only Akihito's eyes suddenly had a shadow of fear in them, and he never wanted to see that again. The anger drained away to nothing but a tired frustration. How the hell was anything supposed to work for them? How the hell was he supposed to be nice?
"I was nice, by my standards. But I probably wasn't, by yours." He closed his eyes. "Akihito, I don't know how we can hope for any kind of relationship between us if we can't even communicate about such simple things. It's one reason I've always kept things at a sexual level with people, because the world I live in is far too different. It's like dating someone from another planet."
He heard a snort of laughter, and cracked open his eyes. Akihito was looking at the floor, but he was smiling. "My boyfriend is an alien."
Asami felt a heat low on his torso, one he had only known before when bending someone to his will. To his surprise, Akihito's smile was an aphrodisiac. "You did say I was responsible for UFOs."
"And anal probes," Akihito said dryly.
Akihito's head rose in surprise. "I don't think I've ever seen you laugh."
"Ah, well, maybe that's one thing that will change."
"Will it, Asami? Will things change?"
"They have to, don't they? Some already have, but maybe not as much as you want. There are things about me that I cannot afford to change. And there are things about what's between us that I have no desire to."
Curiosity got the better of Akihito. For the first time, he perched on the edge of the bed. Still out of reach though.
"Like what makes me good at what I do. I won't let you interfere in my business, nor will I change it in any way because of you."
"Yeah? Well, ditto."
So the fire wasn't out, just banked. He fanned the flames a little. "But if you're officially my mistress, you should let me get you some cushy jobs. You could be doing the advertising photos for the whole Sion group."
The eyes staring at him narrowed. "Is that so? A cushy job, so long as I give up rights to my ass? Fat chance. I'm don't care if we are sleeping together—why are you grinning like an idiot?"
"No reason whatsoever. Come. Sit by me. We've been talking harmlessly for half an hour. Surely you're not afraid?"
"Why would I be afraid of an old cripple? I can outrun you and your walker any day." He scooted over and sat at Asami's right. Their arms touched. Asami could feel sparks between them. But he simply lifted his arm and drew Akihito closer.
Akihito was very still for a moment, and Asami didn't move either. He wasn't used to dealing with timid creatures, and he felt like he was luring a mouse to hand. It took all he had not to pounce. It was worth it when Akihito slid the last few inches that separated them, curling up his legs under him. "This isn't, like, hurting you, is it?"
Asami turned his head and buried his nose in the soft brown hair. "No," he said softly, as he breathed in a scent that reminded him of home. Nothing could hide it from him, not the presence of other men, not the miles to Hong Kong. He'd followed it here, tracking it, relentless. He might be kidding others about the reason, but he'd stopped kidding himself.
As the time passed, and Asami didn't try anything more, Akihito's body gradually relaxed against his, snuggling into his side. "This is nice."
"Ah." Nice hadn't ever been something he'd wanted, but he was coming to like the notion.
They sat like that in silence, except for the minutes ticking away on the cheap clock on the nightstand. Akihito's head was starting to droop when it suddenly jerked up. "No!"
His eyes were wild, his breaths short and frantic. He tried pulling away, but Asami held him, not letting him run. "It's over, Akihito. You're with me. We're going home. It's over."
Akihito's eyes focused on his face, uncertainty in them. "A-Asami....?" Tears were again overflowing. "Asami... we're going home?"
Asami pulled Akihito onto his lap, not caring about the pain and the ripping he felt in his wounds. They could sew them back up later. He wasn't letting Akihito down again.
"We should be leaving any time now. You'll never have to see any of these fucking people or this fucking place again. We're going home, but we're stopping in Okinawa, you and I, and we're going to spend some time there not worrying about anything except indulging ourselves and recuperating." Akihito was in no state to return and face everyone. Kirishima would have about 4 hours to arrange it. "Then after a few days we'll go back to Tokyo, when we're ready."
The reply was so soft he could barely hear it. "I don't really need it. It wasn't a b-big deal."
"We both need it."
God he hated playing the cripple, but if that's what it took... "I'm hardly in prime shape. I deserve a chance to heal in peace for a few days, without my men bothering me. But I'd need... " he choked on the word, "help. Will you come with me?"
Akihito smiled a little. "You're not fooling me."
No, he didn't suppose he was.
"I'll come. Maybe I could use it too. It... it was rough, some of the time, and I don't know that I want to deal with all the questions right away. I know I should talk, but... but I can't, to them." He was staring at his wrist. "I have to get this removed, so they only see a bandage." His voice dripped with guilt.
"Good idea." Kirishima would arrange for that too. Now that he thought about it, Kirishima was due for a raise. "You needn't tell them the truth."
Akihito turned skeptical eyes toward him.
He thought quickly. "I know you dislike lying, as do I, but telling them about the inner workings of such powerful criminal organizations would only put their lives in danger."
Relief filled the brown eyes looking at him. "Yeah. Yeah, I hadn't thought about that."
"You should tell them you were called away at the last minute for business, accompanying me on a trip to Southeast Asia that I asked you to document in photos. You meant to call them but I never gave you any free time. Our last stop was Okinawa."
"I'll need to buy a camera."
That would be taken care of too. "We'll get it in Japan. And you can use this as an excuse for us to spend time together, until you're willing to admit to them that we're more."
Akihito's lips pressed together. Then he shook his head. "I'm not really afraid of that anymore. It's because of Feilong. He didn't mean to, in fact he was trying to humiliate me, but truthfully he taught me that was who I was. I don't really care all that much about girls, but I'm attracted to guys. I know what that means, that I'm gay. It's time I stopped fooling myself. And everyone else."
Asami barely heard the end of what Akihito said. "You're attracted to Feilong?" Dammit, he didn't mean to sound peevish.
"But I thought..."
"You thought wrong."
"Oh. But he...."
"He's not my type."
"Are you telling me this whole mess is because Feilong isn't your type? Godammit, why didn't you just fuck him and show him?"
"Do you enjoy fucking someone who isn't your type?"
Brown eyes glared up at him. "You really don't want to ask that."
"And here I thought we'd reached an understanding." The pain in his thigh was getting to be a little too much. He shifted a bit.
Akihito's eyes softened, and he climbed off Asami's lap to again sit beside him. "You shouldn't do that."
"Take everything on your shoulders."
"I enjoy it."
"Yeah you look like you're having loads of fun."
"But I am," he said truthfully. Akihito was talking and snarling and teasing, and while that was punctuated occasionally with grief and fear, he knew they would get through that. He cupped the boy's soft cheek in his right hand. "I am." His thumb rubbed the full lower lip that he loved to kiss. "Akihito, come here."
"I thought you said..."
"Just a kiss. Come here."
Akihito rose up on his knees and straddled Asami's lap, being careful of his wound. The older man set his good arm around the younger's waist and pulled him closer, until the soft pale skin of Akihito's throat was mere inches from his lips. He wanted to rip at it and savage it, marking it permanently his, but he would not, not while it was bared and offered freely. He leaned forward slightly and satisfied himself with a gentle nip, followed by a soothing lick.
There was confusion in Akihito's eyes as he looked down into Asami's, and he took Asami's face in his hands, just holding it while they looked at each other, eyes searching, each for something different. Both found what they sought.
Akihito smiled shyly, the sun breaking through clouds, and he bent to softly kiss his lover's lips. Asami felt some restraint in him snap, and he returned the kiss, not with cold passion, but with heated emotions that had Akihito starting in surprise, then matching him.
Asami wondered how a simple kiss could be so moving, unraveling so much that he'd held bound and controlled for years. They broke apart, breathing heavily. "Akihito..." His voice was raw, full of unspoken emotions. He tried to find some way to say it. "You can trust me."
He was suddenly squeezed tightly by a too-thin pair of arms. "A—Asami..." The small frame that was pressed to him shook as the boy finally let loose a torrent of words and tears, releasing everything he'd pent up for weeks.
He should have known. Fear and torture and pain wouldn't break his Akihito, but tenderness would.
He knew the feeling.
The words flowed past and he let them. There was plenty within to be furious about, and he could have returned to the ship and finished them all off with the fuel Akihito was providing. But that wasn't what was needed. He simply held him, his hand threaded through the soft brown hair, letting him know he was safe now.
The words slowed as they approached the end.
"I thought... I thought they'd shot you again, but all that blood.... Asami, what did you do?"
"I did what I had to do, to get you back. I'd do the same tomorrow, and the next day. I won't let anyone stand between us again."
"Akihito, remember what I said? There are things about me that you'll never understand. Anyone who touches you deserves to die."
Akihito's voice was quiet and sad, mumbled against his good shoulder. "I don't want that kind of responsibility."
"It is!" The boy lifted his head to look desperately into Asami's eyes. "It is, don't you see? Please, too many people have died. Can't it just stop? Please."
Looking into the pleading eyes, Asami's disagreement died in his throat. Akihito needn't know of any other deaths. That was unnecessary. "I will do what I can to prevent it. But I won't hesitate if there is no other option."
Relief washed across Akihito's face. "That's... that's good. That's... thank you." His lips brushed Asami's cheek, then he laid his head back onto his shoulder. "I'm really tired. When do you think we'll be going?"
"Soon. Why don't you sleep while you can?"
Akihito raised his head again and peered at him. "I will if you will."
It was annoying, being seen through, but if it was Akihito he could live with it. "Ah." He laid his head back against the wall and let relaxation seep through his muscles. There was still pain, but the knowledge that things were on their way back to normal made it seem minor compared to what had gone before. His breathing slowed, and he neared sleep.
"Asami?" Akihito's voice was so quiet he almost missed it.
He roused himself enough to grunt a response. "Hn?"
"Thank you. For coming for me."
He smiled a little, knowing no one saw it. How could I not? I think I love you. His arm gathered Akihito closer. "I just wanted you back where you belong."
"I love you too," Akihito mumbled.
He shot a startled glance at his companion, whose eyes were closed and whose face was the picture of innocence. He couldn't know... "Brat. Sleep."
"I think I can, now."
Now they both could.