by Maya Tawi and Viridian5
Exhausted, Aya wiped the sweat from his forehead and took a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. He’d trained until he’d nearly dropped, and he felt a little better. A little better mentally. Physically, he wanted to die. At least being this fatigued from training on top of a day of work had beaten his rampant sexual urges into remission.
Why couldn’t he have still had the menstruation last night? That might have wiped the smugness from Schuldig’s face. Well, probably not, but it would have limited his ability to grope.
Yohji walked in and took a long look at him. "You know what you need?"
"Don’t finish that thought."
"Alcohol, you pervert. You need some good old-fashioned poison to take your mind off things."
Yohji could be so blatant. Aya sneered. "Not a chance."
"Because you’re just trying to get me drunk so you can get in my pants."
"Aya. You’re Aya."
"Yes, I know. So?"
"...So I figure if I hit on you, drunk or not, I’d have about three seconds to live."
Aya couldn’t argue with that, so he just took a long swallow from his bottle.
"Besides, you look like you really need it."
"I don’t... drink."
"Well then, this is the perfect time to start, don’t you think?"
Yohji’s proposal sounded almost reasonable. That alone should scare the hell out of Aya. "I’m tired."
"You just sit, drink, and relax. It’s not like you’ll have to kill anybody."
"That’s a disappointment."
"Sure I am, Yohji."
"Are you going to do it?"
Aya wiped the cold bottle against his forehead. Getting out might take his mind off of last night’s failure, which he’d brooded on all day. "Sure. Let me shower and change."
The stunned look on Yohji’s face made it worth it too.
"This is a dive," Aya said.
"It’s a bar."
"It stinks in here."
"That’s cigarette smoke. You should be used to it by now."
"I really only let you live because you’re useful sometimes."
"You’re cute, you know that?"
Yohji rolled his eyes. "This was a great idea. I’m so glad I thought it up. Here, take a seat."
Yohji sat on one side of the booth, while Aya settled in on the other. At least the seat felt comfortable, if worn. Yohji ordered beers for the both of them when the waitress walked by. Aya regarded his suspiciously when it arrived.
"It won’t hurt you," Yohji said with a smirk.
"I don’t like the smell."
"You won’t notice it after a while."
"I don’t like the taste either." It tasted vaguely rotten and burned his throat. Fermentation at work.
"You won’t notice that after a while either. It’s an acquired taste."
"What if I don’t wish to acquire it?"
"You’re a pain in the ass. Here I am, trying to help you out, and you’re complaining. You’re lucky I didn’t ask you to go dancing."
"I wouldn’t have gone dancing, and you know that." Aya took another sip. The burn started to settle into a kind of warmth.
People drank to forget. Maybe he could do that. Forget the freak he’d become and his failure and the way he’d liked what Schuldig had been doing.... Aya took another swallow.
"Now that’s the spirit!"
"Whoa! Watch the hands, lady!" Yohji said as he jumped.
Feeling warm and loose, Aya almost giggled. "That was my foot."
"Yeah, but it was still on my dick! It is still on my dick."
"I used to have one of those." Really, what was Yohji complaining about? He led with his dick, so why should he object to it getting some personal attention?
"Yeah, well, you’re not gettin’ mine."
"I’m not a lady."
"No argument here."
"Not a boy either."
"Okay, I’ll bite. Are you a toaster oven?"
"I don’t know what I am. Do you wanna find out?"
Yohji was speechless. Aya decided that he had to go drinking with him more often.
"I want you, Yohji."
Yohji’s face reddened. Amazing how much fun a night at a bar could be. "You can’t want me. You don’t want anyone."
"How would you know?" Once again glad that he’d worn easy to slip out of shoes instead of boots with laces, Aya moved his foot a little just to make Yohji squawk.
"The threats and brush-offs helped," Yohji panted.
"You just weren’t listening."
Couldn’t Yohji see what he needed and how frustrated he felt? What did he have to do? "It just keeps... wanting... something. And I can’t make it stop. God knows I’ve tried--"
"‘It’? Oh. Uh, okay, verging on too much information--"
"Even Schuldig did a better job than me!"
"...Schuldig?" Yohji’s eyes widened. Even in this dark bar, he had his sunglasses perched on his nose. Maybe the fact that they always seemed to be down his nose and not in front of his eyes let him wear them in dim places. It was a something to ponder.
What was he saying? Oh, yes. Schuldig. "Schuldig," Aya agreed. "Except he didn’t finish, because he’s evil," very, very evil, "so that only made it worse. And now I just-- you."
Did Yohji turn into a parrot when he got drunk? "You’ve slept with lots of women. You know what to do. Have sex with me."
Yohji said nothing, preferring to gape at Aya in shock.
"Come on. Let’s go," Aya said.
"Now?" Yohji squeaked.
Aya smoldered back. "Mmm-hmmm."
"What are you doing?"
"Being seductive." Amazing how Tokyo’s greatest playboy needed it all spelled out for him. Aya had suspected that Yohji exaggerated and outright lied about his conquests. Still, there had to be some truth in it somewhere. Hopefully.
"Oh. Uh, why?"
Honestly, the man could be such an airhead. "So you’ll have sex with me, of course."
"Aya-- Aya, I can’t."
What? "Are you joking? You’ve been staring at the breasts since I first got them. You brought me here specifically for this purpose!"
"Well, no, I-- I’d like to. I’d... definitely... like to. I just... can’t."
"Because as soon as you’re sober, you’ll beat me to death."
"Aya-- you’re drunk and you’re traumatized. And I have to live with you. In a very small room and oh my God you’ve been jacking off at night while we were all right there?"
"Not successfully," Aya muttered.
Yohji looked stunned. "Oh, man, I don’t... I don’t know what to tell ya."
"That’s okay. Just fuck me and we’ll call it even."
"For the love of-- oh, no you don’t. You’ve had enough."
Aya continued flagging the waitress down anyway. Yohji was not his boss. "I like it."
"Obviously." To the waitress, Yohji said, "He’s... she’s had enough, thanks. We’ll be leaving now."
"Oh, good." Aya stood and then sat down on Yohji’s side of the booth, sliding over to pin him against the wall. "Because I need you very badly."
Yohji breathed a little harder. "This is like one of my best dreams turned into my worst nightmare, you realize that, right?"
"It’s very obvious that I want you." Aya sat almost in Yohji’s lap and smiled at what he found. "It’s also obvious that you want me. There’s no problem here. You said you like me better as a girl."
"When did I-- Oh, shit, you heard that?"
"We’re still not doing this. I’m male, and you’re pretty, so sue me. You’re also fucked up in several senses of the term, and damn, you’re strong for a woman."
"Thank you." Aya licked the side of Yohji’s neck and felt his pulse fluttering there, soft and rapid.
Yohji pushed him away and held him at arm’s length when he tried to move back in for more. "We’re not doing this, okay? We’re not doing this for the thousandth time, okay?"
Of course they weren’t. Why would Yohji want to have anything to do with a freak? He’d just been teasing all this time. Aya’s throat felt tight and thick. Not even the horniest member of Weiß wanted him, and Yohji would fuck anything.
"Oh no," Yohji said.
When the tears came, Aya couldn’t stop them. "I’m... sorry. You’re right. I am fucked up. Fucked up, and I’m never going to be back to normal again, and I’m so fucking frustrated...." He was completely at the mercy of whatever this was, and he couldn’t stop. "It feels like all my nerves are on the outside. I hate this!"
"Aya, I’m.... Shit. C’mere."
Nestled in Yohji’s arms, Aya sobbed into his shirt. He hated this. It was humiliating. He couldn’t breathe. His eyes and face burned. And he couldn’t stop.
Yohji stroked his hair. "I’m sorry, okay? I’m just... not going to fuck you to make you feel better, because it wouldn’t work. And then you’d kill me."
"Your idea of comforting... sucks," Aya gasped.
"I’m very good at comforting."
"By whose... standards?"
"We’re going home. You’ll go to sleep, have a hellish morning hangover, and hopefully forget all of this."
"And if I don’t forget?"
"Then you’ll probably slit my throat."
Slitting Yohji’s throat would prevent anyone from ever hearing about what Aya had done tonight, but it seemed an extreme move. Not that Aya ruled it out entirely.
Yohji zipped his jacket for him, which led to certain treacherous portions of his anatomy getting hopeful, but nothing came of it. Yohji was being a gentleman. Having a companion who was neither man nor woman probably removed all temptations to misbehave. That thought made Aya sniffle, so he ruthlessly stamped it down.
The next thing he knew, they were in the car driving home, and he felt so tired, and his stomach had begun to rebel. He held the nausea down, figuring that he’d disgraced himself enough tonight. Yohji handed him a cup of water and said, "Sip that."
The tepid water seemed to help a bit. "Thank you." He’d never drink again. Ever.
Aya kept losing pieces of time. They’d arrived at the trailer somehow. His head spun a bit as he took off his jacket and kicked off his shoes. He didn’t bother to undress further, since he didn’t think he could negotiate the buttons and zipper. Yohji pulled down the sheets for him, then tucked him in. It brought back old memories of another person he’d been. And it hurt.
"I’m sorry," Yohji said softly as Aya faded away.
Yohji lay in bed, wide awake, surrounded by the sounds of deep breathing and the occasional light snore, and tried very, very hard to forget the feel of Aya’s body against his.
I need you very badly.
It was a difficult proposition.
Without conscious thought, he found his head turning to the side, staring at the shadow that was Aya’s bed. Was he-- she-- asleep? Or would she be....
No. He wasn’t going to think about that. This was Aya, for fuck’s sake. Even if the packaging had changed, it was still Fujimiya Aya-- stubborn, infuriating, control freak....
This wasn’t helping.
Yohji turned his head resolutely away and scowled at the wall beside him. His hands rested on top of his blanket, and that was where they were going to stay. Because even if Aya’s new body was lithe and sexy and graceful and curved so nicely in all the right places, even if Aya’s perpetually scowling mouth had a new, undeniably feminine tilt to it, even if the feel of that mouth had branded itself permanently into Yohji’s skin... he was still him. Still distant, cranky Aya. Still Yohji’s teammate. Still very male.
Well, maybe not very male. But mostly male.
Even before his... change... there had been something about Aya that sparked Yohji’s chivalrous, and not-so-chivalrous, instincts. The way he looked from a distance, with one hip cocked out and his coat cinched in tightly at his waist. The preternatural prettiness of his features. The exotic, untamed hair.
But Aya was Aya, and Yohji was a ladies’ man-- always had been, expected he always would be. And the new female Aya was fun to tease, but he-- she-- was still decidedly off-limits.
Or so Yohji had thought, until tonight.
But Aya had pressed up against him, had climbed into his lap, had offered her new body to Yohji in ways Yohji hadn’t even thought Aya was capable of-- distant, cranky, ice king (queen) Aya-- holding him against the wall of their booth with unaccustomed strength, oh God, begging for it, for Yohji to be his (her) first....
His hands had slipped beneath the blanket at some point. He made no move to bring them back up.
Ken and Omi were sound asleep in the next beds, innocently unaware. Aya... Aya was probably passed out cold, done in by the alcohol and the unaccustomed emotional display. Yohji imagined her, sprawled in her bunk, mouth half-open in sleep, hot and wet between her legs, frustrated by some utterly foreign need....
Yohji sympathized. He wanted something pretty foreign himself at the moment.
It’s Aya, he told himself firmly, himself and his disobedient hands and his throbbing cock. Stubborn Aya. Infuriating Aya. Control freak Aya.
Very (kinda) male Aya.
And then he came.
Yohji stared at the darkened ceiling for a long time. Then he slipped out of his bed and padded quietly to the bathroom, careful to avoid glancing at Aya’s sleeping form on his way.
The eyes that stared back at him from the dimly-lit mirror were wide and confused and not a little bit lost.
"It’s Aya," he told himself sternly.
His reflection blinked but didn’t respond.
Yohji closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the cool glass. He felt like he was losing his mind.
He’d never thought of men. Never even considered them. It just was never an option.
But Aya... was no longer a man.
His face buried in his pillow, Aya asked, "Who’s there?" Why were his eyes so swollen? Why was he still in his clothes, especially his bra?
Why was everything was so loud?
"It’s me," came the cheerful voice from the other side of the room. Omi. Cheerful fucking Omi. "Good morning."
"Hand me my katana," Aya mumbled.
"Why?" Omi sounded wary now. Good.
"I have to cut off my head."
A pause, then: "That’s an impulse you should probably ignore."
Aya moaned into the pillow as another aftershock rocked his skull. "What happened?"
Omi sounded cheerful again. Damn it. "As I understand it? You got drunk."
He had no one to blame for this torment but himself. He hated that. "Oh, God."
"And I think you traumatized Yohji."
Right, Yohji could be blamed too. That was better. "Good." Wait a minute.... "Traumatized how?"
"He wouldn’t say," Omi said brightly. "Are you coming to breakfast?"
The very word set Aya’s stomach reeling, so he half-jumped, half-fell out of bed, landing in an ungainly heap on the floor. He scrambled to his feet and barely made it to the bathroom. At least he hadn’t disgraced himself in his bunk.
From the bedroom, he faintly heard Omi say, "I’ll take that as a no."
Aya ignored him, clutched the cool rim of the toilet, closed his eyes, and prayed for death.
Cheerful, chipper, loud Omi now had an entry on his shit list.
Aya couldn’t even approach the kitchen without the food smells threatening to make his stomach fly up his throat and come out his mouth, so he sat down on the sofa in the common room instead and rested his pounding head against the back of it. Never again. He would never drink again.
"Aya? We wanted to talk to you," Omi said softly.
Aya cracked his eyes open to see his three teammates staring down at him with concern. This couldn’t be good. "Okay."
"Yohji told us... that Schuldig has bothered you lately."
How drunk did he get? What did he say? "He’s been stalking me a little."
"He’s been stalking you too?" Yohji asked.
Oh, fuck. He didn’t. He couldn’t have gotten drunk enough to admit to Schuldig feeling him up. "I’m fine."
"Aya, he molested you."
Apparently he could have. "He toyed with me a little. He didn’t even finish."
Yohji got a weird look on his face, making Aya wonder what the hell he’d done last night. "We don’t think you should go anywhere alone anymore."
"I’m a woman. I’m not helpless. I don’t need a chaperone."
Omi sat down next to him, while Ken and Yohji remained standing, looming. "We’d do the same thing if we found out that Schuldig was fixated on your usual self. He’s dangerous."
"He’s a perverted psycho," Yohji muttered.
"You like me better this way, don’t you?" Aya growled. "You like me weak. I’m easier to order around."
"You’re not weak. The situation has just fucked with your head, and now Schuldig is fucking around with your other parts too."
"Yohji!" Ken said.
"Yeah, but really blunt."
Aya stood abruptly, and winced as his head protested. "This is my business," he said, with slightly less heat than he’d intended. "It doesn’t involve Weiß."
Omi’s look plainly warned him not to be an idiot. "If it involves Schwarz, it involves Weiß."
"It doesn’t involve Schwarz," Aya snapped. "It involves Schuldig."
Yohji raised an eyebrow. "Are you so sure there’s a difference?"
"I think this is a personal thing for him, not professional."
"And that’s supposed to make it better?"
"It means that I don’t think it’s a Schwarz plot."
"Aya, we’re not saying that you need a babysitter," Omi said. "We’re saying that you’ve been targeted by a very dangerous person with abilities that can’t be easily defended against. If Schuldig had fixated on any of the rest of us, we would do the same thing."
"Or are you better than us?" Yohji asked, a challenging glint in his green eyes.
Aya saw that he couldn’t win this. If he continued to argue and complain, he would only seem irrational and possibly hysterical to them, and they would remain glued to his side anyway. "No. Fine, then." He sat down again and tried not to let his sudden dizziness show.
They smiled their victorious ‘we’ve made Aya see sense’ smiles, and Aya hated them all. Hated them for their complacency and normalcy. What did they know of anything he needed? He didn’t know, so how could they?
And why didn’t Yohji have a hangover too?
"That’s good. It’s better this way," Omi said.
Aya doubted that.
Ken and Omi walked off, content in their noble heroism or whatever, leaving Aya alone with Yohji, who handed him a glass of water. "It’ll help if you drink that," Yohji said.
Déjà vu hit Aya forcibly as he sipped it. "Yohji, what else happened last night?"
"What? Oh, nothing."
"Like hell. I mentioned Schuldig. I must have been smashed off my ass. What else happened?" Aya had a sudden image of himself sitting in Yohji’s lap and clinging to him. The clinging suggested that the sitting had been voluntary. "Oh, shit."
Yohji looked very nervous. "Nothing happened, okay? You just-- um."
"What?" Aya demanded. Another image flashed into his mind, of him... burying his face in Yohji’s shirt? No, that couldn’t.... "Damn it, Kudou--"
"Sorrygottagobye!" Yohji spun and dashed out of the trailer.
"Yohji!" Aya stood quickly, making his head spin a bit, and ran to the door, only to recoil as the schoolgirls turned their eager faces towards him. He ducked back inside before they saw... them... and fumed. Deprived of the option of pursuit, he could only seethe.
He leaned back against the door and closed his eyes. He had... with Yohji. And wanted... said....
He felt sick again.
Ever since his transformation, Aya had pushed himself through the routine of daily life, for the most part not thinking about the implications. He could still be himself, only with breasts and... other female parts, and eventually things would go back to normal, because he had no other options. He couldn’t research his condition; he wouldn’t know where to start. He didn’t have a name for it. He didn’t even know what had caused it.
But now himself had gotten very, very drunk and had-- he squeezed his eyes shut tighter-- said some things to Yohji that he still couldn’t completely recall but knew with dread certainty that he eventually would, and it was seeming more and more obvious that something else about him had changed, something beyond the physical.
Or maybe he had been changing for a while, and had just now noticed.
Aya could feel his control slipping, bit by bit, day by day. He had shielded himself in his duty, his vengeance, for so long; now those shields were gone, and he didn’t have anything to take their place. Ran was long dead. Aya no longer had a purpose. Identity was a fluid thing, to be discarded when it was no longer useful. So who was he now?
Apparently, a very horny woman who couldn’t hold her drink.
Aya sighed and composed himself. He had to work. There were plants that needed to be watered, flowers that needed to be arranged. Memories that definitely needed to be avoided. So he had disgraced himself in front of Yohji. He was, he thought grimly, starting to get used to it.
Yohji slammed the door behind him, cowering behind Ken and Omi until he was sure Aya wasn’t coming out. Then he rose and brushed himself off with all the dignity he could muster.
Ken and Omi were staring at him. He said defensively, "What?"
Ken just shook his head and walked away, handing a waiting schoolgirl her bouquet.
Cautiously Omi said, "Um. What-- what happened, exactly?"
"Not now," Yohji said out of the corner of his mouth as he favored the gathered schoolgirls with a welcoming grin. They all smiled happily back at him. He thought he heard a muffled squeal.
Those girls could be creepy sometimes.
Omi sighed. He looked tired and stressed, and Yohji frowned at him and said, "You getting enough sleep, kid?"
"I’m fine," Omi said tersely, handing another girl a bouquet and accepting her money with a tight nod.
"Now you’re sounding like Aya."
Omi looked amused. It was an improvement. "Someone has to pick up the slack."
"Especially with Aya out of commission," Yohji said, raising his voice for the benefit of their audience. "This whole vacation thing’s getting old. When’s that guy gonna come back to work?"
Omi shot him a warning glance, but played along readily enough. "Aya-kun still isn’t feeling well. He won’t be back till he feels like himself again."
Yohji couldn’t hold back a snort. As if on cue, a girl near the back of the crowd called out, "What’s wrong with him? Is he okay?"
A worried murmur rippled through the crowd. As Omi reassured them with Weiß’s prepared story, Yohji felt Ken coming to stand beside him.
Under his breath, Ken asked, "What happened last night, Yohji?"
"Not now, Ken," Yohji said again, starting to move away. Ken stopped him with a hand on his shoulder-- not quite restraining, but not quite friendly either.
Yohji stared at the hand, then gave the hand’s owner a pointed stare. "Yes, Ken?"
"There’s nothing going on between you two, is there?"
"Are you serious?" Yohji rolled his eyes. "It’s Aya."
He very carefully did not think about the previous night. That... had not been Aya.
Besides, anything Aya did to him now would be more likely to involve something sharp and deadly than... other things. Far more pleasant things.
Ken’s eyes bored into his. Yohji stared back unflinchingly.
Eventually Ken took his hand away. "Keep that in mind," he said, with a significant look at Omi.
Yohji blinked. "Wait a minute. I’m supposed to keep my hands to myself because, what, the kid called first dibs?"
"Of course not," Ken said. "You’re going to keep your hands to yourself because it’s Aya. Right?"
Yohji blinked again. Ken smiled enigmatically and turned back to his work.
Yohji watched him bustle about with a thoughtful frown. He was cheerfully oblivious most of the time, but sometimes Ken could be more perceptive than Yohji gave him credit for.
Sometimes Ken could be downright scary.
"Open the door, Yohji," Aya said with a sigh.
From the other side of the bathroom door, Yohji’s muffled voice demanded, "Are you armed?"
Aya hesitated, then said, "Yes." Yohji wouldn’t believe him if he lied anyway.
"Then I ain’t comin’ out."
Aya stared at the door and wondered if he could break it down. The trailer was flimsy. It was possible.
The others were outside in their open-air market. Yohji had snuck back into the trailer when he wasn’t paying attention, presumably to relieve himself, then had barricaded himself inside when Aya had discovered his presence.
"Yohji," Aya said, as patiently as he could. "I am not going to kill you." Yet.
"Can I get that in writing?"
"How long do you plan to stay in there?"
He heard a faint rustle. Then, "I’ve almost got a full pack. I could last a while."
Aya sighed again. "I just want to talk."
"Not through this door."
There was a long pause; then he heard the lock being turned, and the door eased open a crack. All Aya could see was Yohji’s nose and his sunglasses perched on the end of it.
Warily the voice behind the sunglasses said, "How much do you remember?"
"Everything," Aya said grimly. The memories had slowly flowed in as he’d worked alone; even now, he cringed inwardly at the recollection. Fondling Yohji. Pinning Yohji against the wall. Asking-- no, begging Yohji to fuck him. Sobbing into Yohji’s shirt....
No. Aya pushed the images aside. He would repress. He’d decided.
Yohji tried to slam the door shut. Aya wedged his boot in the crack. It helped to have narrower feet. Fighting against Yohji’s grip from the other side, Aya managed to open the door enough to let him slither inside, then block it with his body. The trailer’s bathroom was tiny, so they stood uncomfortably close by necessity. From the smell, Yohji must have been chain smoking.
He met Yohji’s panicked eyes and added, "I also remember you refusing to do," Aya took a deep, painful breath, "anything."
Almost primly Yohji said, "I do want to live."
"So you mentioned." Aya fixed him with a scowl; Yohji paled. "You have one chance to do so."
"I’m all ears."
"You," Aya said firmly, "are going to forget everything that happened last night. I will do the same. If you say anything to anybody, I will kill you."
"Not a problem," Yohji assured him. "But...."
Aya closed his eyes.
"You can’t just ignore him," Yohji insisted. "He’s dangerous."
"So am I."
"Yeah, but Aya, you may be outclassed here. Remember Sakura? He made her shoot you. If he gets bored with just violating you physically...."
Yohji didn’t finish the thought aloud. He didn’t have to. Aya imagined Schuldig controlling his mind, his thoughts, and felt nauseous again.
"I know that you hate the idea of us following you everywhere," Yohji said, "but that’s exactly what that bastard is counting on. He figured you wouldn’t tell us and you’d be trying to take him on alone, which makes his job easier. We’re sticking to you now, and you should get used to it. Fighting us on it or trying to duck us won’t do anything but help Schuldig."
As much as Aya hated it, he had to agree. "I know. I’ll... I’ll be good."
"Yes," Aya snapped. He’d agreed. Yohji didn’t have to rub it in.
"Are you getting out yet?"
"Not with you blocking the door."
Aya moved aside and gestured at the door for Yohji to go first.
"I don’t trust you at my back," Yohji said with a smile.
"I don’t trust you not to close the door behind me and stay in here."
"Then we’re at an impasse."
They stared each other down for a few minutes, then Yohji said, "This is stupid."
"Can you guys just butt heads, knock each other out cold, and get on with life?" Omi yelled from the other side of the door. "Grow up already!"
"I’ll go out first," Yohji said. "We don’t want to tempt Omi’s wrath."
As Yohji moved to the door, he brushed Aya’s arm, making him shiver. And Yohji noticed, damn him.
"That guy is staring at you, Aya," Ken said as he glared back at the offender.
Aya didn’t look. There was no point. "People are always staring at me lately. Breasts seem to give an excuse for rude behavior."
"That’s only part of it." Ken grinned as he checked Aya out, then paled and stopped as he realized what he was doing. "Uh. Sorry. And I did notice the other people, but that guy’s the worst. Somebody should teach him a lesson."
"Please don’t," Aya said coolly. As guardians went, Ken was damnably overbearing. "I already had to stop going to one market after Schuldig made a scene. I don’t want to exile myself from another because you attacked someone."
"What kind of scene?"
"I really don’t want to discuss it."
Ken’s eyes widened. "He--"
"No! Not that! He just loudly played the jealous ex-boyfriend." Aya sighed. At this rate, the very sight of a produce aisle would cause traumatizing flashbacks.
"You shouldn’t have to put up with that."
"I know why I’m annoyed at being stared at, but I don’t understand what you’re so upset about."
"And you’re obviously with me."
"But it wouldn’t be so wrong if I were an unescorted woman? The problem is that this man is disrespecting you?"
Aya resisted the urge to sigh. Men.
He did not just think that.
Aya aimed one last punch at the bag but didn’t feel any better than when he’d started. Ken had been overprotective of him. Sometimes Ken had forgotten who and what he really was and flirted with him. Ken would be just regular Ken with him for a while, but then he’d do little acts of "gallantry" or a certain kind of smile, or there would be a different flavor to some of the attempts at banter. As soon as Ken remembered or Aya snapped at him, he’d become embarrassed, but it kept happening. Ken flirted with women as a default setting, automatically, just as Yohji did, even if Ken was sweeter and a bit awkward at it.
Ken and Yohji and so many others saw him only as a body now.
Prior to this, Aya hadn’t given his body much thought. It carried his personality around. It did his bidding or failed, and if it failed he disciplined it. It demanded fuel and rest, which he gave it when necessary. It was a tool, one he trained and refined to work at the highest level of performance possible.
Turned female, the tool now had a longer, more insistent list of demands, or perhaps it had simply been waiting for its moment to rebel all along. That was bad enough, but it seemed that everyone around him had changed along with it. Or simply showed aspects of themselves they’d never turned on him before.
Aya didn’t want the stares or flirting and certainly hadn’t asked for them but just existing like this and looking the way he did seemed to have taken the choice out of his hands. People stared at him no matter where he went, as if they were entitled. He couldn’t go out running without wearing the baggiest clothing he owned. Otherwise he wore big coats.
Stupid of him to expect that anything anywhere would ever be fair, but apparently he’d retained some shreds of innocence.
Aya was just lowering the heavy bag from its hook in the ceiling when he heard Yohji say, "Do you want someone to spar with?"
He straightened slowly and turned around, his mind already buzzing with suspicion. Yohji was slouched in the doorway, sunglasses pushed up on his nose, covering his eyes for once; a lit cigarette dangled from his lips.
"It’s a simple question," Yohji said, sounding defensive. Yohji had been sounding defensive a lot lately.
"I know," Aya said, more to buy time than anything else. Then, "Where?"
Yohji did a lazy, full-body shrug. "Out behind the trailer, I figured. No one’ll be around this time of night."
Aya didn’t answer. He rolled the heavy bag into the corner, thinking hard. Did he want to spar with Yohji? He felt his face flush, and tried to dismiss the events of the previous night, with limited success. He had displayed far too much weakness in front of this man already. Did he really want to tempt fate?
On the other hand, sparring was a good idea, tactically speaking. He wasn’t likely to be attacked by a punching bag in the field, and Aya didn’t want to ask Omi to spar, not in light of the boy’s crush. He didn’t want to run the risk of leading him on. And Ken had been scrupulously hands-off ever since he’d accidentally felt Aya up while trying to stop him from killing Yohji that first night.
Some small part of Aya wondered if he weren’t trying to convince himself that it wasn’t a bad idea. That part clearly needed to shut up and mind its own business.
He dusted his hands off and turned around. Yohji looked uncharacteristically skittish, like he was going to bolt any second. Aya said, "Okay," and saw some of his own apprehension reflected in the lines around Yohji’s mouth.
Yohji slipped off his jacket and his sunglasses, piling them neatly on the floor. Aya opened the chest that held their protective padding and tossed Yohji his set, then started to pull on his own, watching in silence as his teammate did the same.
Aya had a new chest guard that shielded the breasts from interference as well as harm. Yohji’s eyes flickered back and forth as he strapped it on, then resolutely turned away.
Aya slipped the mouth guard between his teeth, pulled on his gloves, and said indistinctly, "I’m ready."
Yohji smiled and stepped aside. "Ladies first."
"Then neither of us would go."
Aya preceded Yohji into the cool, dew-damp night, circling around to the back of the trailer. As Yohji had predicted, there was no one in sight.
Yohji half-smiled as he lowered his body into a defensive crouch. "Nothing below the belt."
"Same," Aya said automatically, and scowled at Yohji’s muffled snort.
They started slow, circling each other, sizing up their respective weaknesses. As Aya felt his mind slip into his battle trance, his body was no longer female or male but simply an instrument, a weapon, a tool to be used towards an end. And if the weight distribution on that tool was slightly different than he was used to, well, he had to adjust, that was all.
For the first time in weeks he felt normal again.
Meeting Yohji’s eyes, he saw a similar awareness, a change in the way his teammate looked at him. With his body rendered androgynous by the heavy padding, Aya must not have seemed female to Yohji now.
It was, Aya told himself, a relief.
The fight occurred mostly in silence. Yohji held back until Aya started to attack in earnest, then began to block, and then to throw kicks and punches of his own. Aya moved and hit and blocked, his body doing exactly what he told it to do. It felt wonderful. With Yohji going full force, it was even better, as they moved so fast and with such intent that a casual watcher wouldn’t have been able to follow what was going on. He didn’t even feel the impacts of the few hits he’d taken.
When they finished, Aya felt warm and loose and satisfied. Much better than just hitting a punching bag, especially since Yohji had provided a living indicator of how well he’d done. He bowed to Yohji, grateful.
He knew he was smiling a bit as they returned to the trailer and he put his sparring gear away. Yohji was smiling too as he did the same at his side. They said nothing. Nothing needed to be said.
Yohji stood close enough that Aya could feel the heat rising from his body. Then he was closer still, close enough to feel his heart pounding and the sudden press of his lips against Aya’s, then the rest of his body pressing against Aya’s, pushing him against the wall.... It felt good, and Yohji blocked out the rest of the world. Instinct took over, just as it had during the sparring. Aya kissed back, fisted his hands in the back of Yohji’s shirt, and changed his stance, putting Yohji’s thigh hard between his legs, almost right where he wanted it. Well, he wasn’t very experienced in being a slut. Wait....
When Aya stiffened and stopped participating, Yohji pulled back a little and stared at him apprehensively. He clearly expected to be punched. Yet the defiant expression on his face seemed to indicate that, to his mind at least, the kiss had been worth it.
Aya, for his part, was experiencing an emotion he had become all too familiar with over the past few weeks: utter bewilderment. Once again, he simply had no idea what to do next. He had his back literally against the wall.
There was at least one positive aspect to this body; without a dick, he could not get tellingly, embarrassingly hard.
Although, judging by the way Yohji’s nostrils flared and his pupils dilated, there were apparently other indicators. Aya’s initially enthusiastic response probably gave him away as well.
Without conscious thought-- with, in fact, his conscious mind screaming at him unheeded to stop, fight, get away, end this-- he pulled Yohji in closer and gave his hips an experimental thrust and felt something hard and hot push right back, eagerly seeking. He bit his lip and somehow managed to hold back a groan.
Yohji recoiled as though he had in fact been hit. "Aya," he choked out between pants.
Aya swallowed and said hoarsely, "Yeah?"
He could do this. It wasn’t like he was throwing himself at just anybody. And it would be so easy. Yohji was long and lean and he smelled like clean sweat and cigarette smoke and crushed wet grass, and his body fit against Aya’s like a puzzle piece, his green eyes smoldering, his sweat-damp hair plastered to his forehead....
So easy. If he could just....
But. No. This was Kudou Yohji. Flirt, layabout, eternal pain in the ass. It had taken Aya long enough to earn his respect as a teammate. He couldn’t give him the satisfaction.
He shoved, angrily, and Yohji scrambled back, the nervous look in his eyes again. Aya tried to gather his scattered wits. He’d almost given in again. And he wasn’t even drunk this time.
This was getting ridiculous.
Yohji began, "Aya," and Aya snapped, "Shut up." Yohji had undoubtedly planned the whole thing, but why? Just to fuck him? Then why hadn’t he taken his chance the night before? If he was just toying with Aya....
Then Yohji said quietly, "Sorry," and Aya spat, "Don’t."
"I didn’t mean for that to happen," Yohji insisted. He sounded shaken. "I mean--"
"Sorry. Shutting up now." Yohji stuck a cigarette in his mouth and lit it, dragging long and hard. His hands were trembling.
Aya wondered if Yohji was anywhere near his own level of frustration. He hoped so. Especially with those tight jeans, it’d serve him right....
No. No tight jeans. No tight anything.
"I’m going to bed," he spat, storming past Yohji to the door. "Alone."
"Oh, no, of course," Yohji said quickly, still in that strange, nervous voice. "Sure. Of course."
Aya reached the door and spun around.
"You tell anyone," he hissed venomously, "I hear one veiled comment from Ken or Omi-- just one--"
Yohji held his hands up defensively. "’Course not. There’s no-- don’t worry," he assured Aya, sounding almost earnest. "I wouldn’t."
Aya glowered at him for another long moment, then turned again and stalked away, fuming.
Omi stayed very still when he heard the door open, trying to keep his breathing even. His heart was pounding, and he’d clenched his hands into fists in his sheets. Angry tears pricked behind his closed eyelids.
How could he? How could Yohji do that to Aya, take advantage of him like that? Of course Aya was confused, needy, probably overwhelmed; the last thing he needed was Kudou Yohji adding to that.
God, Yohji was just like a dog in heat, sniffing after every pretty woman who crossed his path. Never mind that it was really Aya in that body, Aya he was loudly throwing against walls and having his way with, Aya whom he’d never given a second look before....
The footsteps stopped in front of Aya’s bunk, hesitated, then moved towards the bathroom. Cautiously Omi opened one eye and saw Aya’s unmistakably female form silhouetted against the light. Yohji was nowhere to be seen. The sudden distant slamming of the main trailer door indicated that he wouldn’t be back for a while.
Omi closed his eyes again as he heard the shower start. He’d talk to Yohji in the morning. Tell him how thoughtless and irresponsible he was being.
Omi had to look out for Aya’s best interests, after all. Especially if no one else was going to.
Yohji caught the bartender’s eye and gestured for another round.
She smiled at him as she topped off his drink. Her outfit was artfully punk, ripped in several strategic places; her makeup was deliberately smeared. Yohji smiled back.
Then she said, "What happened to that girl you were with last night? You know, the redhead?"
Yohji blinked, incredulous. "I bring girls in here all the time, and that one you remember?"
The bartender shrugged. "She’s pretty memorable."
"She is that," Yohji muttered.
"Besides, you two put on quite a show."
He didn’t know what to say to that, so he drank.
The bartender’s painted lips curled into a sneer. "Let me guess. Fucked her and ran, never to be seen again, am I right?"
Yohji scowled at her over the rim of his glass. "Aren’t you supposed to be understanding and sympathetic and shit?"
"Not that kind of operation," she said glibly.
"I hope it’s not the kind of operation where you expect a tip."
"I’m right, aren’t I?"
"No, as a matter of fact," Yohji retorted. "She-- well, she’s a friend. Kind of."
"Kind of a friend."
"Yeah. Well, we worked together. And now we’re... roommates." It was odd, trying to twist his living circumstances into some semblance of normality. It drove home the absurdity that was his life. "And she’s had, well, a rough time lately--"
"So you decided to get her drunk and sleep with her?"
"No!" Yohji exclaimed. "Nothing happened, okay?"
"Don’t you have customers or something?"
The bartender nodded at the long row of empty stools beside him. "Sunday’s a slow night. So what, then?"
Yohji drained the last of his drink and gestured for another; the bartender obediently grabbed the bottle. "I just thought it’d take hi-- her mind off things. I didn’t... honestly didn’t think she’d...."
Beg him for it.
"We’ve known each other too long," he said miserably. "She knows me too well for that."
The bartender’s eyebrows shot up. "Uh-oh."
"And, I mean, she’s obviously... incredibly beautiful, but...." But she’s really a guy, he didn’t say. Yohji pushed his glass away. Maybe he should stop talking about Aya before he got truly shitfaced.
He smiled at the bartender. "What’s your name?"
"Mikae," she said warily.
"What are you--"
"Not a chance."
Yohji sighed. Clearly he was losing his touch.
"Have another drink," Mikae said, not unkindly. "I find it helps."
He hadn’t meant that kiss to happen tonight. Really he hadn’t. He’d only suggested the sparring as a peace gesture. But they’d both enjoyed it, and at the end there had been that beautiful smile on Aya’s face that Yohji had put there. Who wouldn’t have responded to that? Especially when Aya had been so willing at first....
Sober, Aya still wanted him, just not enough to go all the way. Yet. Yohji had faith in his abilities.
He had to accept the idea that he wanted Aya badly enough to get stupid around him. No, first he had to drink, then later he could try to accept that idea.
Yohji was hungover all morning, for as much morning as Yohji was awake for, so Omi waited until the afternoon break to say, "Yohji, I have to talk to you."
"This sounds bad." Yohji looked so damned flippant about it. "What?"
"I heard you slam Aya against the wall last night."
"That was purely consensual wall slamming. Trust me, he wasn’t protesting. Until he did, and then I let him go. No harm done."
"No harm? Aya’s a mess right now, and you’re taking advantage of that. You only want his body."
The grin Omi wanted to smack off his face deepened. "You’ve seen his body."
"There’s more to him than that, but Kudou Yohji, ladies’ man, wouldn’t be interested."
"You have no idea what I’m interested in. Besides, he knows exactly what he’s doing."
"He sucks at interpersonal stuff as himself. You want me to believe that’s changed now that he’s a woman?"
Yohji smirked. "Slam Aya a little more, why don’t you?"
"I’m trying to stop a tragedy in the making. The two of you getting together won’t work, because he’s going to change back eventually, and you’ll be an asshole to him, and he’ll be annoyed and maybe even hurt that you’re being an asshole. Meanwhile, you’ll probably be disgusted with yourself over having jumped a man. We don’t need the angst, yelling, and ice that will ensue."
"Kid, the fact that you’re an interested party just undercuts your effort here."
Omi bristled at the ‘kid’, as Yohji had intended him to, but refused to lose his cool. "Don’t mess with Aya. He has enough trouble."
"Or you’ll do what?"
"I don’t know for sure, but I have a lot of ideas. I might have to try all of them out on you."
"I’m not scared."
It sucked that people looked at him and didn’t see him as being even a potential threat. "Then do it because it’s the right thing."
"Sure, Omi," Yohji answered, the very image of insincerity. "Can I go back to work now, since I have to ask you about everything first?"
"Yeah." Omi had the bad feeling that he’d just pushed Yohji into doing something stupid.
When Yohji paired himself off with Aya for the night’s mission, Omi’s bad feeling worsened. Unfortunately, his role in the night’s events prevented him from offering himself as a replacement, and the same applied for Ken. He’d have to trust Yohji.
They were so screwed.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten
E-mail the authors:
Maya Tawi - firstname.lastname@example.org
Viridian5 - Viridian5@aol.com
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The Green Room version 3.0 (Viridian5's fanfiction)