by Maya Tawi and Viridian5

part six

Yohji drank and smoked and tried not to fall over on the couch at the occasional lurching of the trailer. Ken was a menace behind the wheel, but like hell Yohji would drive them all night.

Yohji tried not to think about last night either, but the drinking and smoking just reminded him of the bar and Schuldig and the lust and Aya. How many of his thoughts had involved Aya lately? Too many.

Speaking of.... Bleary-eyed, Aya walked into the room in a black T-shirt and purple silk pajama bottoms, barefoot, and sat at the other end of the couch. Yohji stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray and asked, "You couldn’t sleep either?"

Aya shot him a look back that said ‘I’m awake, aren’t I, you idiot?’ but, muted by what looked like fatigue and depression, it didn’t have Aya’s usual force and resolve. It triggered Yohji’s instincts, making him want to comfort her. Him. Remembering Aya’s earlier depression just strengthened the urge.

Yohji slid closer to him. "I’m sorry about your sister, Aya. It’s unfair."

It was unfair that Aya had to be that pretty and female while actually being a man. In a better world, Aya would be a real, uncomplicated woman. Wait, an uncomplicated woman? That would be a perfect world.

Very unfair. "And I’m sorry I freaked out on you last night. Most men would have reacted the same way in my position," Schuldig was atypical and didn’t count as ‘most men,’ fortunately, "but I hurt you and didn’t mean it."

Aya had shadows under his pale purple eyes. "Thank you, but I’d rather not talk about it anymore. We should move on and forget."

That was one benefit to Aya being a man; a woman would have wanted to talk about it, but Aya wanted to just forget and pretend it hadn’t happened-- "What? I know I was good."

"You were fine, Yohji."

"Just ‘fine’?"

"You were the best I had." Aya closed his eyes. "At that point."

What? Yohji stared at him, but Aya didn’t say anything else. Had to be messing with him, because nobody could score again that fast. "Sadistic bastard," Yohji muttered.

"In case you haven’t noticed, this is the opposite of not talking about it."

"I have my honor to defend."

"All right. You’re a stud, Yohji, so incredible that I’ll never have sex again because no one else could ever compare to you. You’ve ruined me for other people."

Yohji ignored the thick sarcasm in that flat voice. "That’s more like it."

"Now can we forget about it?"

Damn, Aya even smelled like a woman-- one who didn’t wear perfume, but definitely a woman-- and the curve of his graceful neck still drew Yohji’s attention. This was insanity. And certainty. Sitting this close, Yohji couldn’t deny the continuing attraction. "I... don’t want to."

Aya turned to look at him. "You’re joking."


"You recoiled from me."

"I was surprised!"

"I won’t open myself to that again."

Yohji lightly stroked the side of Aya’s face, ending at his jaw, and smiled at the unconscious lean into his touch. Such smooth, beautiful skin.... "That won’t happen again." Aya shivered enticingly under the next stroke, blatantly liking to be touched, hell, begging for it. "Fuck, Aya, is this why you don’t touch people?"

Aya jerked away. "Distractions are lethal."

Damn. If Yohji hadn’t mentioned it, he would still be getting some petting in. "You want this. I can tell."

"Feelings and attractions happen. The important thing is to maintain self-control and not act on them. That’s what counts. I suppose that you know nothing about that. Right now, you’re bored or daring yourself or simply horny, while I’m convenient."

"You haven’t been convenient in the whole time I’ve known you!"

They glared at each other, then Aya said, "I suppose that this is where we’re supposed to erotically fall upon one another like ravening beasts, our anger and hate firing into desperate passion."

"That’s a classic."

"I’m not that kind of girl. I’m not really a girl at all. Even if you don’t remember that right now, you will soon enough."

"I know that!"

"I trust you with my life, Yohji, but not with this."

"You don’t trust me not to hurt you."

"Would you, if you were in my place?"

"Okay." It hurt, but Yohji could understand it. "How about a friendly hug?"

Aya glared at him. "Yohji!"

"No sex, no scam. You just had a rough day, and a hug might help you."

"I don’t need a hug."

"Do you want one?" Yohji could see Aya’s indecision, but that iron will still refused to submit, so he continued, "Half a hug. One arm around you, and your head on my shoulder." He slid closer on the couch, close enough to feel Aya’s warmth.

Aya almost smiled. "How much further will you haggle yourself down?"

"That’s as low as it goes. Any lower and I wouldn’t even be touching you." Yohji scooped Aya in and kept one arm around him. "Cozy, yeah?"

"Hnnh." But Aya carefully put his head on Yohji’s shoulder and leaned a bit.

"Yeah, that’s nice."

Aya’s hair felt so soft against his neck and jaw, and he wanted to kiss it. Wanted to kiss everything. Wanted to, but did not do it. Patience would pay off. As they sat together, entwined, quiet, Yohji drifted a little, feeling almost peaceful. Aya made a pleasant armful.

Yohji noticed a few faded blue numbers on Aya’s wrist. "What’s that? You’re writing on yourself now?"

Aya sounded drowsy and almost amused as he said, "Just a reminder. Something on my to-do list. Yohji, I should go back to my bunk. I’m falling asleep."

"Are you comfortable?"

"Mmm. Yeah."

"Then don’t go. Stay."

"Your arm will fall asleep."

"Worse things have happened."

"Why are you doing this?"

"Trying to earn back some points, what do you think?"

"Makes sense. I would have distrusted pure altruism. All right." Aya closed his eyes and... snuggled in, making himself more comfortable.

Definite progress. And maybe Yohji would stop being so aroused sometime soon. If he wasn’t already a masochist, maybe he should learn to like it, since he kept doing this to himself anyway.

When Aya woke up, he felt an odd weight. Yohji, asleep, had leaned his head against Aya’s. How would he get himself loose? He gently pushed Yohji’s head back against the couch. Yohji didn’t wake or protest, deep sleeper that he was. He looked innocent, if careworn, as he slept.

Aya stood and stretched and tried very hard not to think. Thinking led to despair. After his world had blown apart the first time, he’d thought and thought in circles until he’d wanted to die. Realizing that he couldn’t go on that way, he’d devoted himself to doing. He would return to that now, setting Tokyo and everything in it behind him. Work would fill the void.

If he tried hard enough, maybe he could convince himself of that.

Omi, sleepy-eyed but dressed, trudged through. "Hey. I’m off to school."

Aya liked Omi and thought this was too soon to throw him into yet another new school. "Kritiker arranged that already?"

"They’ve done it on short notice before." Omi yawned. "I don’t really need schooling, not with how far ahead of everybody I am, but I keep up with it for some semblance of normality."

"This is hardly normal."

Omi gaped at Aya. Was it possible that it had never occurred to him before? "Yes. Maybe.... Things to think about. I’ll see you later."

"Do we have a mission tonight?"

"Probably, since Manx specifically sent us here. Why?"

"I could use one today."

They did have an immediate mission in Kanazawa: Yoshimura Sadao, a respected businessman who had recently started providing the ‘child’ part of a notorious child porn ring. Young boys and girls had been disappearing from the streets in unprecedented numbers for almost a month. Weiß quickly tracked him to his office, where he was working late. Getting in, however, was a different matter altogether.

"Forty-five bodyguards," Ken said in dismay. "What does one man need with forty-five bodyguards?"

"Maybe it’s his lucky number," Omi said.

"We can avoid most of them," Aya said, ignoring the byplay. He pointed at the blueprints spread in front of them. "There’s a skylight near the back door--"

"No good," Yohji interrupted, loping back across the rooftops towards them. "Guards there too."

Aya growled. Ken said, "Forty-five personal bodyguards, plus--" He nodded at the street-- "the doorman there, and anyone else who routinely guards the building. It’ll be rough."

"We can do it," Aya insisted.

"Well," Yohji began, and then a taxi pulled up to the building and they all fell silent.

The woman who emerged from the backseat was obviously a prostitute. She was better dressed than most, definitely a high class call girl, but a call girl all the same. Aya watched, cursing silently, as she strode towards Yoshimura’s building.

Sure enough, the woman swaggered up to the doorman and announced, "I’m here for Yoshimura Sadao."

"Great," Ken muttered sourly. "An innocent witness."

"Forget her," Aya said, turning back to the blueprints. "We can get past them before she goes inside. If we go in from here and here--"

"We might not have to," Yohji said slowly.

The doorman was murmuring something into his walkie-talkie, as the prostitute waited impatiently. Aya glanced at them, then looked up at Yohji. "You have a plan?"

"I," said Yohji, "have such a bad idea." But he was grinning, and his eyes were sparkling.

"What?" Aya asked, immediately suspicious.

Yohji ignored him and caught Omi’s eye instead, jerking his head towards the woman on the street. Omi glanced at her and started to smile.

"You’re evil," Omi murmured.

"What is it?" Aya asked again. He had the uneasy feeling that whatever it was, he wasn’t going to like it. And when had those two gotten friendly again?

Without warning, Omi and Yohji dropped from their rooftop perches. Aya jerked in surprise, and Ken patted his shoulder in what was probably meant to be a reassuring manner. "Don’t worry. They’ve got a plan."

"I’m not blind," Aya hissed. "But what--"

And then, as he watched in dawning horror and realization, Omi approached the doorman and the prostitute with his best lost-little-boy look and Yohji crept up behind them, and then it was too late to stop them.

Five minutes later, the doorman was unconscious at his post and the prostitute laid, likewise, at their feet, not unlike a corpse left by a cat on a doorstep as a gift. Omi and especially Yohji certainly looked as self-satisfied as cats. Aya said flatly, "Not a chance."

Yohji eyed him critically, ignoring his objections. As usual. "What you’ve got on should be fine. Have I mentioned how much I’m amused by your concept of proper workplace attire?"

Through gritted teeth, Aya said, "We’re assassins. We are not accountants."

Yohji said, cheerily, "And it’s probably better for our souls that way. You ready?"

"I am not doing this!"

"So you wanna explain to Yoshimura why his hooker never arrived?"

"Not especially," Aya said. "I’d rather just kill him."

Yohji spread his arms like a game show host. "And what better way?"

"I was mistaken. I’d rather just kill you."

"Think about it," Yohji insisted, with that damnable grin. "Maybe we could get through all his bodyguards, but I don’t like the odds, and you don’t either. And here’s this opportunity falling right in our laps! So you go in there, you get him alone--"

"Unless he wants the guards to watch," Ken piped up, and then paled. "Did I just say that?"

Aya growled. The prostitute murmured something unintelligible and stirred.

"Better decide quickly," Yohji said. "She’s waking up. So are you going in, or shall we set this young lady back on her feet and send her in to rat us out?"

Behind him, Omi said quietly, "I think it’s our best option, Aya."

Aya whipped his head around to glare at the boy. Omi gazed back at him, apologetic but steadfast, and just as Aya opened his mouth to demand loyalty-- How could you do this to me?-- he realized, with a sudden shock, that Omi was being loyal. He was loyal to Weiß, and he was too much of a professional, too much an agent of Kritiker, to let his affection for Aya influence his field decisions. Of course he and Yohji had worked as one; they were a team. Aya was the one who was losing his objectivity.

So instead he just growled, "Don’t you dare tell Manx about this."

Omi blinked. "Manx? Why would we--"

"Never mind," he said, suddenly weary. "Fine. I’ll do it. And I’ll kill you all later."

"Yeah, yeah," Yohji said, unperturbed. "Heard it before." He handed Aya the prostitute’s purse. "Make yourself up."


"You’re a prostitute. You need at least lipstick and eyeliner."

"I’m going to use hers? It’s unsanitary. I know exactly where she’s been!"

"Aya, he’s right," Omi said.

They were right. Other people being right seemed to lead to humiliation and other terrible things for him. Why was that?

The red lipstick he found in her purse left his lips looking unnaturally slick, as if the red weren’t whorish enough just by its shade. Less than confident about his facility with eyeshadow, he only used smudged black eyeliner for his eyes. As much as it made him cringe, he decided to take the purse with him. Maybe it would prove useful.

He would walk in there as a prostitute. Carrying a purse. He’d hit a new low. At least the purse matched his outfit.

Aya scowled at them and turned, preparing to march in and face his fate. Suddenly Omi said, "Wait."

"What?" Aya demanded.

"Your katana," Omi said. "They’ll probably pat you down before you can go in. Here, take this instead." He held out one of his darts.

Aya stared at it. "Where am I supposed to put it that they won’t find it?"

"Well, I just figured you could put it between your...." Omi blushed. "You know."

Lighting a cigarette, Yohji asked, "Legs? You think they won’t look there?"

Omi rolled his eyes. "Breasts, you pervert."

"I’m a pervert?"

Aya felt his ears burn. "I can’t do that."

"Sure you can," Yohji said. "You’re even wearing that handy zipper top, so you’ve got easy access to the goods." He smirked as he said it, obviously imagining that easy access for himself.

Aya glared. "If you must know, I’m wearing a sports bra. All cleavage is hidden. Besides, there’s not much I can do with one dart." He almost smiled. "I need a better hidden weapon, and you’re just the person to give it to me."


"Your watch."

Yohji’s expression suddenly turned strange. "You want to use my wire?"

"I’m not as multitalented with it as you are," unfortunately true, "but I can strangle someone in an old-fashioned way well enough. Yes."

"You need the gloves too so you won’t cut your fingers. They’re reinforced."

"All right. Hand them over too." Aya took his own off and put them into the pockets of his coat, then slipped his coat slowly from his shoulders. He felt naked without it, and leaving his katana behind-- well, he had experienced castration of a sort, and this was worse. His katana was part of him, the Aya he became on missions, as essential as an arm or a leg.

Omi took the coat from him and nodded encouragement.

Yohji looked dazed but said, "All right," and removed his gloves and watch.

The gloves nearly fit Aya’s hands, so Yohji’s hands had to be not that much larger than Aya’s woman ones. He’d have to keep that in mind for a taunt later. He fastened the heavy man’s watch around his wrist and rolled the ends of the gloves into a kind of cuffs. They looked almost stylish that way.

"You know how to use that?" Yohji asked.

Aya pressed the correct stud and showed how he could call up varying lengths of wire, whatever he wanted. He’d watched Yohji, after all, since it only made sense to know how the people watching your back fought. "Yes."

As if to reclaim some ground and seem less unsettled, Yohji said, "Your lipstick’s already smudging."

"If you want me to do this, be quiet."

Yohji raised his hands in mock surrender, while Omi met Aya’s glare steadily and said, "We’re here if you need us."

"I won’t," Aya muttered.

"It is the best way. You know that."

"I’m doing it, aren’t I?" He leapt to the ground without waiting for a response, landing in a crouch next to the unconscious doorman. Aya took a deep breath, steeled himself, and marched in.

How the hell should he act? What did prostitutes do, aside from the obvious? They probably didn’t march, for one thing. He slowed down and put more swing in his walk.

The bodyguards noticed and admired. Aya gave them a professional smile, one that acknowledged but did not welcome. He had one man here he actually had to bother with. Thankfully, after a pat-down that he and the person doing it had enjoyed too much, none of them challenged him, so that doorman must have had more pull here than they’d guessed. Their research also told him what floor and office he had to go to, which meant that he didn’t have to chance a conversation with a bodyguard and the revelation of his ignorance of what Yoshimura’s usual girls did for him.

Walking through office buildings always sent a strange shiver through him. In another life, he would be working in a place like this. It might have been a better life, but given what had happened to his utterly mundane parents he knew that there were no guarantees.

As soon as he walked through the door, Yoshimura greeted him with "You’re not Mariko."

Damn. He had a favorite prostitute he frequented? Aya thought to say that she’d gotten sick, but considering her line of work he said, "She has a bad cold. Very contagious. We hoped that I would work out for you." No need to tell him something that might lead him to think that the girl had a venereal disease.

He was defending a whore’s honor to a dead man while trying to be seductive. How fortunate that he’d stopped expecting his life to be sane long ago.

Yoshimura took his time looking Aya over, examining the goods. As usual, the breasts garnered the most attention. "You’re not my usual thing, but you’ll do."

Aya refused to feel angry or insulted. "Thank you."

Yoshimura approached, then started to circle Aya. To Aya’s amusement, the top of the man’s head would just reach the bottom of Aya’s neck. "What’s your name?"

Aya would not play the prostitute under his sister’s name or Sakura’s. Who could he.... "Asuka."

"Have you done this before?"

He sounded intrigued, so Aya answered, "Not often. That, yes. This, no. I’ll be happy to do whatever you tell me. Or not, if that’s what you prefer."

Yoshimura unzipped one of the zippers on Aya’s left sleeve, letting the air conditioning touch the suddenly bare skin of his upper arm and making Aya shiver. The moving zipper sounded so loud.... "You look rough but you seem innocent. And with all these things to toy with.... Unwrapping you might take a while." He undid the zipper placed on a diagonal on the back of Aya’s top, exposing more skin.

"I could help if you’d like."

"No, I like this." His hand stroked along Aya’s hip and then over the top of his ass. Then he pressed close against Aya’s back, cupping a breast with one hand while sliding the other hand lower down Aya’s front. Aya could feel Yoshimura’s hard cock pressing at the back of his thigh.

Killing him soon would be a good idea. Shutting up the part of himself that said that Yoshimura wasn’t that old or bad looking would be even better. Did he have to be such a slut? This... creature was a child pornographer.

Yoshimura pressed his mouth against the bare skin on Aya’s back, then said, "Yamada told me that Mariko had arrived. I was tempted to see how far you’d go, but I couldn’t keep it quiet. You’ll still put out for me, bitch, after I’ve knocked some respect into you." The clutch of his hands became harder, nearly painful.

This made so many things so much easier. Instead of immediately fighting, Aya went limp and drooped so he could knock his head back hard into Yoshimura’s forehead. Surprised, stunned, Yoshimura’s grip loosened, and Aya spun away and behind him, then pressed the stud on the watch, hearing the wire reel out with a creepy high-pitched squeal. He looped it around his target’s neck and sighed, noticing that Yoshimura managed to get a hand between his neck and the wire. Undaunted, Aya twisted the gleaming wire tight and pulled hard, watching blood flow from the entangled hand and hearing Yoshimura wheeze.

"Bitch...." he gasped as he struggled and kicked.

Aya realized that he was pulling and jerking the wire and Yoshimura around almost in rhythm, like sexual thrusting. It amused him.

This was so brutal, so visceral. Yohji had so much finesse with this weapon that he could strangle a victim quickly and from a distance, but Aya didn’t.

Did Yohji ever get aroused doing this?

"Is it good for you?" Aya asked.

Yoshimura just made choking sounds. The upraised hand had been pulled too close to the neck to protect it from anything other than being cut by the wire. He would strangle. Except that on one jerk Aya broke his neck first. Aya hadn’t expected that kind of strength from this body. Not that he minded....

Aya unlooped the wire, dropped the sagging body, and retracted the wire into the watch casing. A weirdly sensual weapon, even if it didn’t respond to his thoughts and movements as supernaturally as it did to Yohji’s.

Damn, he felt horny.

How long should he stay before going out and passing the bodyguards? They would get suspicious if he left too soon, wouldn’t they? To be safer, he waited another fifteen minutes, thinking of nothing, touching nothing, pacing, before going out the door.

The fifteen minutes made no difference to his state of excitement.

The guards looked at his mussed hair and partially unzipped top and smirked. Fools. Aya put a little more strut into his step.

Yohji smoked and tried not to think of Aya in there. Aya acting the whore and preparing to use his weapon to kill their target. Damn, that was hot.

Omi smacked him, and Yohji asked, "What?"

"I can hear you thinking."

"I’ve never been so black and blue in my whole fucking life, and I’m an assassin."


Aya walked out in full strut with a ‘fuck me’ smile on his face. Blatantly turned on. He really did look incredible with makeup on. Without the coat over it, the black outfit revealed every ripe curve. Aya just needed to be unpeeled, and someone had already started the process, unzipping a zipper on one sleeve, making Yohji wonder who had done it. Yohji loved that shirt, though it hadn’t come undone on its own on a mission again since that one night.

Ken quickly looked away. Omi gaped, and Yohji put a hand under his chin and closed his mouth for him. Omi glared at him and handed Aya his coat and katana. When Aya turned to put the coat on, Yohji noticed that a zipper in back had been undone as well, showing a contrast of pale skin to dark fabric. Could a man die of curiosity? Maybe, if the lust didn’t kill him first.

When Aya looked at him, he noticed that Aya’s pupils had so dilated that his pale eyes looked far darker, though the eyeliner helped that as well. The lust didn’t seem to be one-sided. They stared at each other for a while, thrumming with it.

Omi made a small growling sound and muttered, "I give up." People on the other side of the world could see his disapproval and annoyance. Ken kept averting his eyes.

"Really?" Yohji asked.

"No." Omi shook his head. "We should go."

They didn’t ask Aya if the target had been eliminated. They didn’t need to.

Since he didn’t quite trust Omi or Ken with the car and Aya seemed a bit too buzzed to drive, Yohji took the wheel when what he really wanted to do was sit in back with Aya. He had to content himself with glances back in the rearview mirror.

"God, Yohji, Omi’s just barely old enough to be allowed to see the looks you’re giving Aya," Ken muttered from the passenger seat.

"What about the ones he’s giving me back?" Yohji murmured.

"Actually, he’s looking at all of us like we’d be good to eat."

Yohji nearly crashed the car from the mental image.

"Do you need me to drive?" Omi asked from the back.

"Yohji, just get us home safely," Aya said. No doubt he wanted to get home quickly so he could jack off. Not that Aya had to take care of himself alone.

Yohji managed to drive them back to the trailer without killing them. Aya entered the trailer first, with Yohji at his heels. As he walked, Aya let the snow queen coat slide down off his back in a swirl of white, making him a slinky black shadow punctuated by glimpses of pale skin and bright hair, and placed it and his katana carefully on the couch before he went into the bathroom. Yohji followed him in and closed the door, then unfastened his coat and let it hang open. He hadn’t put a shirt on under it.

Aya gave him a heated look. "What are you doing?"

"Getting my weapon back."

"That’s all?"

"Do you want more?"


Yohji grinned. "Aya, if you wanted it any more you’d be knocking me down and taking it."

"Hope springs eternal."

"Something here is sprung."

"You’re all class."

"Oh yeah."

Aya took off one of Yohji’s gloves but before he could take off the watch and other glove Yohji held that wrist and lifted it to his face. The glove smelled of his cologne. Aya had killed with his gear. Fuck, he was hard. Aya breathed deeply, licked shiny red lips, and stared at him.

"You were gone for a while," Yohji said, then kissed Aya’s gloved fingers.

"I had to make it look good."

"What else did you do to make it look good?" Aya’s hand clenched and tried to pull away, but Yohji kept his grip. "I get... eager after a kill sometimes. It happens."

"Not to me, not like this."

Yohji pulled him in close enough to feel his heart pound. "Yeah."

Aya pressed against him but said, "This isn’t a better idea tonight than it was last night." The master of mixed messages, but that was Aya, who often seemed to want two conflicting things at once.

They didn’t kiss so much as devour one another as they rubbed together. Aya’s hands stole up under his coat to stroke and clench along his back, while he had one hand in Aya’s soft crimson hair and the other quickly tracing circles on the skin bared by the zipper. All the zippers called to him, so he unzipped the one on the other sleeve, the back of Aya’s neck, the top of Aya’s breasts (damned bra prevented access, though), and over his stomach. It made it look as if Aya was coming undone at the seams and added to his debauched look.

Gasping, Aya hopped up backward onto the counter and spread his legs open. Needing no other invitation, Yohji pressed in close and thrust and thrust, wishing he had far less clothing on but much too excited to do anything about it. If they’d both been unclothed they’d be fucking right now, but there was something hot and dirty in doing this in their mission wear, and frottage could be good, frottage could be very good when he had Aya moaning and wrapping his legs around him, meeting his thrusts. Had Aya always secretly been this wild or was it her?

Aya could change again, but right now Yohji didn’t care. Was he so shallow that he’d leave a sexy creature who was mad with lust to languish unfulfilled just because the body wasn’t stable? No. Woman, man, Aya wanted him badly. Yohji thought of their target touching Aya, thinking he’d get this, and it made him thrust harder and hold on tighter.

"Oh, fuck...." Aya groaned, then bit his ear.

Yohji came hard, blacking out for an intense and wonderful moment, and came back to see a still female Aya looking very frustrated. He grabbed her, backed up until he hit the wall, then cupped her ass and lower and started to stroke hard. Aya closed her eyes, arched her neck, writhed, and let out a chorus of ever more intense Ohs until she convulsed and her legs began to lose their grip around his waist. He helped her down to her feet and stopped her sag to the floor... and for a moment she became he again with a grunt of pain before flipping back to she. Yohji felt that body changing each time.

He stopped breathing for a moment but stayed calm. There. That hadn’t been so bad. And, damn, he felt good right now.

Aya leaned on and rested her/his head against his chest. "You okay?" Yohji asked.

"Dizzy...." Aya took a deep breath. "This was such a mistake."

"Not at all."

Eyes wild, Aya pulled away, took off Yohji’s watch and remaining glove, and set them down on the counter. "I didn’t mean to do this. I didn’t want this."

"Could’ve fooled me."

"I have to go." Aya opened the door and fled at a speed that shouldn’t have been human.

Damn. One step forward, one step back. Maybe even two steps back. But he didn’t pursue, because he got the feeling that pressing the issue now would make it worse.

There went the possibility of showering together.

Omi watched as a hunted looking Aya left the bathroom, grabbed his katana, and rushed to the bunk area. For someone who supposedly wanted Yohji so badly, Aya spent a lot of time running away from him.

Then again, Aya’s top had been unzipped every which way by somebody.

"Ken, don’t you think it’s weird that Aya’s... like this so much of the time?" Omi asked.

Ken rolled his eyes. "Aya’s a woman now, and you’re asking me if it’s weird that he’s a slut too? Sure, Omi."

Great. He couldn’t ask anyone questions to help him work on his theory without them actually assuming that he was jealous. Which he was, but not to the extent that it clouded his judgment. Something was going on.

Aya could do with a shower, but that would mean facing Yohji again, which he would not do. His usual post-mission routine involved inspecting and caring for his katana, but he hadn’t used it tonight, so the usual peace that came with that ritual would not come tonight. There was no point in doing it when he hadn’t even drawn it. It would be foolishness, weakness.

The change had left him tired, but he couldn’t sleep, so he paced. He was probably keeping Ken and Omi from their bunks and sleep, but right now that didn’t matter to him.

He’d wanted what Yohji had done to him and stayed female until the very end by sheer want. What had happened showed him utterly out of control in some ways and in it in others.

He was a slut who got off on killing and couldn’t control his own lusts. His panties were wet. He was wearing panties. Situations and thoughts that had been utterly foreign to him weeks ago now felt natural, right. If he changed back permanently, would it feel wrong?

He couldn’t stay here.

He put his leather jacket on and realized with some horror that it didn’t smell like him anymore, it smelled like her. Once, he’d thought that madness had a bottom you could hit and eventually you couldn’t drop any further. Wrong again.

As he passed the bathroom, he heard the shower running. Since Ken and Omi were in the next room, it had to be Yohji washing, which made sense, since male orgasm tended to be far messier. Aya twitched all over and kept walking.

When Aya reached the door, Omi asked, "Where are you going?"


Omi’s gaze started at his chest but quickly rose to his mouth. "You can’t go out alone."

"We came to Kanazawa so we wouldn’t have to do this shit. If being in another city isn’t enough to stop Schuldig, then there’s no point."

"I’m going with you. If not right now, then I’ll follow you."

He had no control over any other aspect of his life, so why not this too? Aya kept walking and felt Omi follow at his heels.

Omi said nothing as Aya drove, but his presence and aura of concern each had a weight, and they seemed to settle on Aya’s chest, making it hard to breathe. Aya parked the car near a park he saw and got out. Again, Omi followed.

He couldn’t keep living like this, but he saw no alternatives.

Omi took a deep breath, enjoying the night, moonlight, and heavy scent of flowers. Pretty spot. Pretty company too, though Omi was much happier now that most of the slick red lipstick had worn off.

"I want to be left alone," Aya said. "I don’t think it’s so much to ask, but Schwarz and my own team seems to feel otherwise."

"Being left alone is probably the worst thing for you right now."

"No, it’s not. It’s best. It’s best that I don’t have people crowding me and touching me.... I can’t take this anymore!" Aya threw his arms out, which made his top gape more from the two visible, unfastened zippers.

Omi had been expecting an eruption of some kind. Aya had held it in longer than he’d expected. "I think you’re doing well."

"‘Well’? You think I’m a slut. I think I’m a slut."

That put a whole new spin on Aya’s plea for solitude. "It’s hard to judge when you haven’t been in the situation yourself," Omi said as diplomatically as he could. He tried to keep his gaze on Aya’s face. Aya’s pretty, made-up face. This wasn’t working.

"Judging is what we do."

"It’s what Kritiker does."

Aya’s lips curved in scorn. "We simply execute."

"More than that."

"I don’t know who I am anymore. If I change back to my rightful self, it will feel wrong."

"You don’t know that."

Aya shivered. "I’m sure."

Omi fastened the bottom zipper to make Aya warmer and remove the distraction of that bare, toned midriff. Since Aya didn’t protest, Omi fastened the top one too, not quite ignoring what he was touching. That left them standing very close. Omi looked up at Aya as Aya looked down at him. So very close.

He couldn’t say who started the kiss and didn’t care at that moment. Sweet, so sweet. The body didn’t matter, because Omi had fantasized about both of them. Aya smelled of leather, sweat, cigarettes, and a hint of blood, but those were Weiß smells, good smells.

Then Aya pulled back gently, mouth trembling. "I’m sorry."

"You don’t know why you did that." Which hurt a little, but Omi knew that Aya did care about him, and he wouldn’t forget this kiss.

"You touched me. That was all. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I’m like... this. I hunger, Omi." Aya put his hand over his mouth and closed his eyes. "Manx mustn’t ever hear about this."

Manx might start tossing Aya at any target she could think of if she knew that Aya could sometimes be triggered just by someone touching him. "She won’t. Not ever."

"I don’t respond to everybody, Omi. I feel it, but I don’t...."

Don’t touch back for just anyone. Omi smiled. "Love you too, Aya. We’ll find a way to fix this. Not that it’s so bad. You’re just feeling more physically affectionate lately."

"‘Affectionate’ isn’t the word I’d use."

"We’ll beat this." Not that Omi saw all that much wrong with it. "We’re not giving up."

"Thank you."

"Ready to go back home?"

"Yes, but I’ll settle for returning to the trailer."

"See? It can’t be so bad if you can make jokes about it."

Aya shook his head.

When Yohji finally came out to work after lunch, Aya said, "Yohji, last night--"

"Never happened? Of course not," Yohji quickly answered, as if expecting it, and looked far too cheerful and smug. Humoring him. Dammit.

Yohji’s whole attitude said that he expected sex to ensue again eventually. He probably thought that the repetition would wear Aya down into simply accepting it.

He didn’t understand Aya’s shame and anger and the fact that they wouldn’t be having sex again. Ever.

As Aya used his victim’s coat to wipe the blood from his katana, he heard and felt the rumble. He smelled dust. Familiar....

Omi ran back into the room. "We have to go. I think the place is--"

When another rumble hit, a ceiling beam fell to block the doorway. Debris started to rain down. Why the hell did this keep happening to him?

Aya fought down the fear. It wasn’t a phobia. It was only sensible to be afraid of having a building fall on you, especially when it had happened more than once before. He whipped his gaze around to look for an exit but found none. Door blocked. Windows blocked.

If the last three hadn’t killed him, this one sure as hell wouldn’t. Dancing between clumps of falling debris, Aya grabbed Omi and tried to shield him with his body. They wouldn’t die. He wouldn’t let them.

At the very least maybe he could save Omi.

"Yohji!" Ken shouted.

Yohji turned and saw the building they’d just run out of it start to collapse on itself as explosions rocked through it. It fell to pieces in a rush and roar, dust clouds flying, choking him. Who the hell had blown the place up? Not them.

Aya and Omi hadn’t gotten out.

He could feel his heart shatter. It hurt worse than almost anything he’d ever felt before. Next to him, Ken stared at the huge pile of rubble, his lips trembling. He didn’t know if Ken could take losing a few more friends. For Yohji, this was losing more than half of his.

They coughed uncontrollably through the dingy gray-brown cloud of dust and dirt that flew around them, but Yohji couldn’t bring himself to move and it seemed like Ken felt the same way. Ken, who didn’t have even the scant eye protection Yohji’s sunglasses provided, blinked and grimaced. Yohji didn’t bother to blame his tears on the dust. It seemed disrespectful.

As the air cleared, Yohji went back to staring at the rubble. Part of him wouldn’t believe it. They’d gotten through so much....

He saw movement, a flash of red and white. No way. Then he really started to doubt his eyes. It was Aya and Omi walking toward them, and Aya had his arm around Omi. Walking through the debris like ghosts. Fuck, his mind had broken. He was seeing things. Omi looked shocked. Shocked?

But Aya, male Aya, a very tired looking male Aya, stopped in front of Yohji and asked, "Are you just going to stand there?" Then he collapsed at Yohji’s feet, a very solid weight atop Yohji’s boots.

"Aya!" Omi shouted and knelt beside him.

"You’re alive," Yohji said.

"Yes!" Omi said. Ken grabbed him by the shoulders and hugged him.

Yohji knelt beside Aya too and gently turned him over. He felt solid.... Strange how Aya looked so wrong as a man now, his face too squared and angular, his body proportions wrong, even though he was still pretty, if in a different way. Yohji realized that Aya had been a woman for about a month. The woman’s clothing looked painfully constricting, stretched taut, its seams splitting, on his body.

"We have to get him out of here," Yohji said. He picked Aya up in his arms, and they ran to the car. He could ask himself how the hell Aya and Omi had survived later.

Ken took the driver’s seat, Omi the passenger seat, and Yohji put himself and Aya in the backseat, smirking at the echo. Ken hit the gas pedal hard.

Unconscious, Aya still had an expression of pain on his face, which might not be from being squashed into clothing too small for him, but why add this to it? "Omi, give me a knife," Yohji said.

Omi looked back. "Why?"

"That’s the only way some of this is coming off."

"You’re stripping him?" Omi sounded pissed.

"Imagine what his boots feel like. Or just look at his hands in those gloves. Or think about how his bra must be--"

Omi winced. "Yeah." He pulled a blade out and handed it to Yohji.

Yohji carefully sliced the shredding, far too tight gloves away, and Aya didn’t stir at all. Getting the boots off took a while, but Aya’s expression eased a little afterwards. Taking off the coat made a little trouble as he wrestled with Aya’s long limbs and lean body, but not much. The shirt looked weird now that only the bra pushed it out, but in other sections the buckles strained the holes. Still, the straps were mostly easy to work with. "At least he wore a shirt that comes off easily." Hearing Omi laugh, Yohji asked, "What?"

"The straps are practical for easy access. Sorry. It was a private shopping moment."

Yohji sliced the bra off. Now he obviously had original recipe Aya passed out cold in his lap. Half-naked, which was unusual, and wearing pants that were too tight for him, but it was definitely the ice king. Aya shivered, so Yohji draped the coat over him. It gave him more peace of mind having him covered.

"Do you think that’s how he survived?" Omi asked.

"Survived what? Oh." Aya’s family’s home had exploded around him, but Aya had survived. "Maybe." Trauma. Yohji remembered something about that.

"Omi, what did it feel like?" Ken asked.

"I don’t know. I didn’t feel any of the debris or anything, but I felt Aya against me. I felt it when he changed. We were walking, but I wasn’t thinking. I don’t think he was either." Omi’s thoughtful look became even more thoughtful. "When Schreient’s place came down around our heads, we came to under only a light pile of rubble, which should have been impossible. Then when the citadel fell... I don’t remember much, because I was out of it."

"I wasn’t much good during that one either," Ken said. They’d both had the crap beaten out of them by Schwarz.

Which left Yohji. "I had a lot on my mind then. Most of the citadel, actually. But if Aya protected us, I don’t think he knew it."

"Is Omi all right?" Aya suddenly said, looking up at Yohji with tired and dazed eyes. Yohji would have to get used to that deep voice again.

For whatever reason, Aya was staying Aya. Maybe he’d hit the end of his strength and was forced into default mode? He sure looked like he couldn’t move anymore.

"Yeah, you got him out."

"I’m right here!" Omi said from the front.

Aya closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Good." Then he opened his eyes again. "Wait. How did I get him out?"

"What do you remember?" Yohji asked.

Aya’s brow furrowed a little. "I tried to shield Omi. When nothing hit us, I tried to walk us out of there through the dust. It didn’t make sense, but I didn’t intend to stand there gaping at my good fortune. What is it?"

"You walked Omi through the debris like you were ghosts, and you were back to yourself again."

"The first is impossible. But thank you for getting me out of the boots."

"How the hell do you think you got out of that alive?"

"I’ve gotten us out alive before."


Aya stilled. "I don’t feel well."

"Everything’s fine," Omi said. "We’re all safe, and you’re you again."

Yohji heard Aya murmur, "Am I?" Then Aya closed his eyes and rested again, conscious but obviously exhausted.

The rest of the ride passed in a heavy silence, since the nervous energy of the impossible survival seemed to have worn off. Everybody else was probably as lost in thought as Yohji found himself to be.

Keeping his eyes closed had been a form of hiding. If he ‘rested’, they would be less likely to bother him with questions he couldn’t answer. Fortunately, his ploy had worked.

When the car stopped at their home, Aya opened his eyes again and carefully sat up, hard to do while his body felt like pudding. He prayed that it was fatigue and not some other freakish thing happening to him. "I need to change into something comfortable first." No one protested, though they did stare at him....

Aya stumbled as he stood and tried to walk. Now he had to relearn how to walk with his real body. He sighed and worked to get the feel of it again.

Everything felt wrong.

Once he was inside the trailer, removing the pants took ages, but at least all of his original equipment had returned. Trying to get comfortable, he quickly changed into his own underwear, a baggy navy blue sweater, and baggy jeans. He slammed the door on the closet so he wouldn’t have to see his women’s things. Wouldn’t have to feel that weird longing.

Everyone stared at him again as he walked a bit clumsily into the briefing room. Manx, standing there amongst them, had a calculating look on her face. He immediately sat on the couch and said, "I assume you’ve been informed of what happened."

"I don’t think you need me to tell you how we’d love to have an operative who can walk through walls," Manx answered.

It all seemed unreal, even if he had spent the last few weeks as a woman. "How am I to train myself to do it, though? Will we be collapsing buildings on me until I get the knack of it?"

"There has to be a way. I know you, Aya. Now that you know you have this, you won’t be content with only using it subconsciously when you’re in danger. You’ll want to master it."

She was right.

"All those times you run into a hail of bullets, you could know you’d be okay," Ken said.

"Who said he wasn’t already doing that?" Omi replied.

Aya sighed. It made too much sense.

"There’s something I want to tell you, Aya. I don’t know if you want the others here for this," Manx said.

"They might as well stay."

"If you insist. When we first became aware of you, we thought you had an accomplice, a woman who looked a lot like you."

No. "I would have noticed if I’d changed into a woman back then."

"We have surveillance footage of her." Onscreen, a picture flashed of a red-haired woman with a katana who wore a coat exactly like Aya’s original mission coat. No, not a woman, Aya saw, but a very androgynous figure, one that could easily be mistaken for a woman.

How embarrassing that they’d caught him on film. But he’d been reckless then....

"That doesn’t look as much like Aya as he’s looked recently," Ken said. "I mean-- you know what I mean."

Aya saw it and closed his eyes. "Don’t look at it as a female me. The face is a melding of two people."

Omi got it. "It looks like a mix of Aya and his sister!"

"I thought of my sister often while working toward our vengeance." Even back then, he’d been... wrong, not normal. Now everything was suspect, like how his hair had darkened over the last two years. Had it darkened because it was supposed to or because his darker frame of mind had subconsciously darkened his hair to match?

Manx continued, "When we recruited Aya, we waited for his partner to show, but we never saw her again. Maybe the structure of being in a team and having people put expectations on him stabilized him."

"Manx, he’s in the room," Omi said. "Why didn’t you mention this earlier?"

"We wanted to have a better idea of what we were dealing with."

"Knowing this could have helped!"

"What’s done is done," Aya said softly. "In any case, it would seem that I now feel unstable enough that I could change into a woman for about a month, with only a few breaks. Killing Takatori and my sister coming out of her coma changed the rules for me." Left him adrift, not knowing who he was or why he did anything anymore.

"Yeah. If we see a pattern to the changes back, you can control it," Omi said. "We know that... uhm...."

"Yes, we know that works," Aya answered and smiled at Manx’s annoyance at being left in the dark. She didn’t have to know about his sex life, especially since she hadn’t seen fit to tell him that he’d been changing years ago.

So... a sex dream had brought him back to himself, but then he shifted back as soon as he’d relaxed into sleep. His first experience with Yohji had been negative, and he’d half expected to change back to a woman, and so he had. He’d desperately wanted to remain a woman for Yukio, and so he had. He’d retained some control during the second time with Yohji but not as much as he had with Yukio, perhaps because Yohji knew him as a man....

Perhaps the shifting had required a certain degree of letting go of his thoughts that sex allowed. Despite his battle trances, he focused too hard in battle for the extreme emotion there to do the trick.

But why had he changed that first time? He hadn’t thought himself that stressed.

"Why didn’t you change back when your sister was with you?" Ken asked.

That was easy. Aya saw it immediately. "She was too thrilled at the thought of having a sister for a little while." Remembering her smile and amazement, he felt a moment of vertigo and fought it hard.

Excited, Omi looked years younger. "Do that again! Oh. Sorry. But, Aya, you stopped it!"

"That’s a good sign. I think." As a test, he thought of Yukio, and felt his body start to slide into female dimensions again. He stopped it so quickly that the others probably didn’t notice.

The ability to ghost seemed to work on slightly different principles, being utterly survival-oriented. Untangling it all would take time and effort. Training himself would be even more difficult.

Aya noticed that, for once, Yohji had nothing to say. He just sat there with a thoughtful expression on his face. Aya remembered coming to half-naked in Yohji’s lap and wondered what he was thinking.

Maybe he really didn’t want to know what Yohji really thought. Especially when he didn’t even know what he thought.

He felt... wrong with his weight redistributed correctly, something he’d suspected might happen but had hoped wouldn’t. This was his real body. A month as a woman shouldn’t have skewed his perceptions so strongly. Maybe all the work he’d done to drill his other body to work well and instinctively in the field could be blamed. Familiarizing himself with and optimizing its levels of strength, speed, and flexibility had been the whole point of the training. He might even have to retrain himself, a prospect that didn’t cheer him. It made sense, and he’d go with that explanation.

It unsettled him nonetheless. He looked away from Yohji and half-listened to the conversation around him, which mostly focused on the increasingly ridiculous methods Manx was proposing to train him in the use of his... abilities. They didn’t expect more than the occasional ‘hnn’ or cold, flat ‘no’ from him anyway, and Omi immediately shot down the more ludicrous or dangerous suggestions with a sarcasm he rarely showed. Aya shouldn’t need help from Omi but appreciated it. He was just so tired.

Tonight, he’d survived another explosion and building collapse, walked through walls, and changed back to himself for the longest time in the past month. He had good reason to be tired.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten

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Maya Tawi -
Viridian5 -

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The Green Room version 3.0 (Viridian5's fanfiction)