by Maya Tawi and Viridian5

part eight

Yohji woke up when something hit him in the face. From under a soft fuzzy layer of something he heard Ken say, "You’re lucky Omi didn’t come out first."

"Thanks, Ken," Yohji answered, and Ken grumbled something Yohji was probably better off not really hearing.

The blanket just made things comfier, especially with Aya making a surprisingly pleasant armful and looking so cute while asleep. Yohji hadn’t thought he could possibly wake up before Aya, but sleeping so well after the sex might have helped. He always slept better if he had company. They had their own little world under the blanket....

"Yohji?" Aya asked sleepily, his head resting on Yohji’s chest and eyes still half-closed, very cute.

Yohji was hard and getting harder. Straight really wasn’t what it used to be. "Yep."



"On us. How?"

"Ken brought it."

This was rich. He’d always figured that Aya woke up entirely awake, sharp and eager to get going. Unless today was unusual, it looked like Aya’s brain actually took longer to restart in the morning than the rest of him. The possibilities for torment were endless....

Aya’s eyes opened further, and sense returned to them. Too soon. "We have to tell Omi and Ken about yesterday’s visitations and see if they’re willing to back us on being reassigned to Tokyo."

"They’ll be willing. And we have time." Yohji ran his hand up and down the curves of Aya’s ass.

"This isn’t the time," Aya said, but he sounded a little breathless.

"Make time."

Omi sighed loudly. "At least you’re under a blanket."

Kid had lousy timing. Yohji poked his head out from under the blanket and said, "If you don’t want to see anything, go to the kitchen."

"No," Aya said as he poked his own head out. "We need to shower and get started. Omi, we have some important Weiß-related information to share."

"Call a meeting?" Omi asked.

"Once we’re presentable."

"I hate you," Yohji said to Omi.

Omi just smiled.

Aya didn’t even let Yohji shower with him, which might have made them ‘presentable’ faster but still felt unfair.

They had their meeting in the kitchen. Omi looked expectant when he wasn’t shooting dirty looks at Yohji, while Ken sat backward on one of the chairs with his ‘talk to me’ expression on. Yohji leaned against the table and gestured to Aya to start. It was interesting watching Aya move knowing exactly what that felt like under his hands, against his body....

Aya crossed his arms and said, "Schwarz found us. Schuldig paid me a personal visit, while Farfarello took a small chunk out of Yohji’s shoulder."

"Way to break it gently, Aya," Yohji said with a smirk, "and it wasn’t a chunk." He didn’t correct Aya on the number of visitors he’d gotten, preferring Aya to remain ignorant of Schuldig’s insinuations where possible.

Omi looked thoughtful. "That explains--"

"What?" Yohji asked, seeing badness incoming.

"Nothing." But just as Yohji started to breathe easier, Omi said, "Schuldig left something on Yohji’s bed."


Ken yelled, "What?"

Aya raised an eyebrow at Yohji, who said quickly, "It didn’t directly relate to our conversation at the time."

"Like hell," Aya replied. "What was it?"

"A tiger lily," Yohji answered, knowing that Aya wouldn’t understand the true significance.

From the confused look on Aya’s face, it seemed that he didn’t. "Wonderful. He’s leaving little gifts inside the trailer now. Since we’re only here to try to avoid this sort of thing, I want to talk to Kritiker about bringing us back to Tokyo."

"I’m all for it," Ken said.

"Omi, I know you have school...."

"It doesn’t matter. Really. It’s not like I can ever let the other students get to know me or hang out with them." Omi sounded offhand about it. "I’d like to go back to Tokyo."

They stared at him. Yohji had never thought about what Omi’s life had been like, had actually tried not to. At least the rest of them had had normal lives before tragedy struck in their late teens or early twenties. Omi had lived in and been shaped by Weiß’s world of lies and killing since he was very young.

Actually, Yohji and Ken stared. Aya looked unsurprised as he asked, "We’re decided?"

"Yeah. Let’s call them," Omi said.

"What if they won’t even consider it?" Ken asked.

"Then maybe we should break away from them," Yohji answered.

Omi and Ken stared at him. Looking incredulous, Aya asked, "You do remember that we were ordered to hunt Omi and Ken down just because they refused to execute one of Kritiker’s kill orders? Desertion wouldn’t get a better reaction."

"That wasn’t really Kritiker talking." Yohji knew better than to trust in Kritiker’s kindness and loving care, but he hated the feeling of having no options, so he forged forward anyway.

"For a while we thought it was, and it wasn’t a reach."

"You said once that you didn’t want to live underground," Ken said.

Yohji shook his head in frustration, but Aya said, "It’s something to consider." This thing with Schuldig must have really upset him. "We’ll call Manx. If Kritiker refuses to even consider what we want, we’ll explore other options."

As they walked to their mission room in silence, Yohji wondered if they were all thinking about those other options the way he was. He really hoped Kritiker didn’t force them to break away. It wouldn’t be pretty.

As soon as Omi had the link going, Aya plunged right in with his speech, barely giving Manx the time to get more than a greeting in. "Manx, Schuldig quickly found us here, so there’s no point in running. He’ll find us wherever we go. Thus, I think we should go back to Tokyo and stay there unless we have business elsewhere. Our familiarity with the city helps us work better."

She looked annoyed. "Kritiker will consider it. You might ask yourself how you can make yourself more valuable to us to speed the decision."

Omi shot to his feet. "That isn’t right!"

"I agree," Aya said, though it didn’t surprise him that Kritiker would put such conditions on it.

"We’re your employer. You should be thinking of these things already. I know you have reasons for wanting to be in Tokyo, but you have to consider our needs too."

Aya’s mouth twisted. "I’ll keep it in mind."

"We’ll consider your request." She cut the connection.

Aya walked out in disgust and avoided Yohji’s hand, since he didn’t feel like he could handle company. ‘Consider it.’ How long would that take?

Omi watched Aya storm away, then called Kritiker back. As soon as Manx came on, he asked, "What the hell was that about? You know that he’ll kill himself trying to give you enough to bring us back to Tokyo." He knew that Ken and Yohji were watching him in shock but didn’t give a damn. This was too important.

"You’re exaggerating."

"You know better. Is this because he wouldn’t play a whore when you told him to?"

"Omi!" Ken said. Yohji smiled.

Her eyes narrowed. "I’m not that petty."

Unimpressed, Omi replied, "Prove it."

"You serve Kritiker, not the other way around. Remember everything we’ve done for you."

Yes, saved him from his kidnappers, then renamed him, trained him to kill for them, and tried to keep his past and true identity forgotten and buried, the better to set him to the task of assassinating his family. Very humanitarian of them. The look on his face must have told her his thoughts, because Manx said, "We always have your welfare in mind. Sometimes you’re too close to the situation to realize that."

"So keep Aya’s welfare in mind. Don’t drive him too hard."

"We’re not doing anything to him."

Omi saw Ken and Yohji stare at Manx with exactly the same expression he felt on his own face. Omi said, "Just keep it in mind. Bombay out."

"I’ll see how Aya is doing," Yohji said as he stood and left.

Watching Yohji go, Omi said, "I should probably give up on that."

"Probably," Ken answered. "Will you?"

"Probably not."

Yohji didn’t find Aya anywhere he expected inside the trailer and started to worry that Aya had gone out walking alone to parts unknown as he often did while upset. Fortunately, Aya may have gone outside but he hadn’t gone far, having stopped to sit down on the sidewalk behind the trailer. He seemed to be watching the dark storm clouds drift and tumble across the periwinkle sky. Yohji sat beside him, lit up a cigarette, and shared the silence. It felt almost companionable, whereas once sitting with Aya felt like sitting alone or with someone who wanted you to be somewhere else far away.

After a while, Aya said dryly, "Schuldig never brought me flowers."

At least he was talking. But.... "He didn’t-- And it was one flower, not ‘flowers’!"

"Why a tiger lily?"

"I don’t know." Yohji decided to follow up the lie with some misdirecting truth. "He’s a sick bastard, okay? Who knows how he thinks."


Yohji wanted to leave that topic immediately. "Omi called back to give Manx a tongue-lashing after you left."

He smiled a little. "I’m sorry I missed that."

"We all forbid you to get stupid over this and overwork yourself."

Aya took on a dangerous look. "Forbid?"

"Yeah. All of us. Don’t give Kritiker the satisfaction."

"I’ll be good," Aya said, looking at Yohji with a cool expression.

Like hell.

Aya struck with his katana, then tried to flow through the wooden ‘opponent.’ He hit his shoulder hard instead. Dammit. There had to be a way. He tried again and hit again.

He felt something coming at him and flowed right through at last to get away from it. Omi, who’d fired at him, said, "It’s all in your subconscious right now."

"I can’t depend on that to defend me."

"True. You know, I think you have more than biokinesis. Your talent affects your clothes and katana too. You may be more powerful and multi-faceted than we thought."

"I hadn’t thought of that." While he had a witness.... "Omi, I want to try something."


Aya took off his coat and sat down on the nearby chair. "I want to see if I can transform again and come back."

Omi smiled. "But you hate being a woman."

Aya shot him a withering look that Omi only continued to smile through. Aya said, "Being able to change my appearance would be useful."

"I won’t argue."

Aya thought about his other self, wanted it, and felt only a slight moment of vertigo and a liquid, shifting feeling. And he was her again. "Do I look the same as I did?"

"It looks like. I wonder why you settled on such a big chest the first time. Do you have a secret anime stash?"

"If the chest offends you, let me try to change it." He concentrated and felt it shift again, but more painfully. This was less instinctive. When he opened his eyes, his breasts were smaller. He could do this. What about his hair? Darker, darker.... His head started to churn, raw and painful, but he felt a rush of something too. A good rush. A very good rush. He could do anything to himself, remake himself utterly, he could feel it.

Omi had never seen Aya mid-change before-- the near-shifts that Aya had quickly corrected that night didn’t count-- and the sight left him deeply unsettled. The change in breast size didn’t make much impact with Aya’s shirt shielding it from close view, but Omi could watch as black appeared at the roots of Aya’s crimson hair and ran down the strands until it covered them completely. Wrong. Unnatural.

It had to be messing with Aya’s mind even worse.

Omi’s stomach churned as Aya’s head drifted down from its upright position and teeth clenched, struggling. This looked painful, and Aya was so stubborn.... Omi knelt in front of the chair and grabbed his arms. "Stop! Aya, stop!"

Aya pressed his forehead to Omi’s, so warm. "I can change my eyes too. Watch me," Aya said in his husky woman’s voice, so seductive. "How about green, like Yohji’s?" He sounded dazed and almost high.

Omi remembered his own experience of Aya’s abilities, of how that building had fallen through him, and he hadn’t felt it. He had felt Aya’s body shift from female to male and Aya’s heart pounding, felt Aya hold him and urge him to walk. Nothing else. What happened to him should have felt as impossible and life altering at the time as it had actually been. It hadn’t.

Afterward, he’d felt odd, twitchy and exhilarated. Almost high. Who knew what else was adjusted in the effort to slide through solid matter... or change gender and physical traits?

"Aya, a blood vessel in your right eye broke," Omi said. "Please stop."

"No, it’s good. This is like anything else. It’s always difficult and painful until you get used to it."

Omi had a sudden horrified idea of what kind of damage Aya must have done to himself while training to be an assassin to get his vengeance. "I believe you. You can try again another time."

"All right." Aya was a redheaded man again. That change seemed to be far easier for him.

Becoming his former woman self seemed easier than the other changes as well. Maybe practice would make it better. If Omi could convince him not to hurt himself doing it. That would be challenging.

Maybe Omi would be thinking clearer if he didn’t have Aya’s face brushing his, close enough to kiss. He or Aya just had to move to the side a little and their lips would touch. Maybe something deeper would start. It might be a Bad Thing, but if Aya chose to kiss him again, he wouldn’t fight it. It had happened once without the world ending. It could happen again.

"You’re a good friend, Omi," Aya said softly and moved back.

Friend? Kiss of death! But without the kissing. Damn.

"Omi. I think... I may need help with this. With training myself in this. What?"

Omi tried to dim his smile a little. "Give me a minute to bask." He’d thought he’d have to cajole and beat Aya down on this. No way Aya could be trusted not to kill himself trying to train himself to use his new abilities if he did it alone. He needed guidance and supervision, and there was no way he’d have to go to Schwarz to get it, as Yohji had suggested. It wouldn’t be necessary, and Omi wouldn’t allow it.

"I’m not that difficult."

Omi snorted.

"That’s just rude," Aya said softly, but he nearly smiled.

Aya walked out of the bathroom dressed but radiating humid shower heat and looking very relaxed. This would be the perfect time.... Yohji said, "I thought I might take you out somewhere."

Aya smiled, leaned in close, and said in a deep, husky voice, "Sounds nice. But I’m not hungry." At least not for food, if his mood could be judged by his body language.

Only an idiot would turn down such an invitation. "It doesn’t have to be for dinner. I know a hotel you might like." And only an idiot would interrupt it to ask what had happened to Aya’s eye, so Yohji didn’t do that. Later existed for a reason. Yohji fingercombed wet hair that looked nearly black away from Aya’s eyes and took a deep breath as he saw the lust darkening them. Definitely a hotel.

Yohji enjoyed seeing Aya this blatantly lustful, especially as the initiator. Looking at him wickedly, radiating heat, Aya grabbed his hand and kissed it. He could definitely get used to this.

It worried Yohji to see Aya being so quiet, self-contained, and Aya-like in the car, but he kept driving. After that earlier display, he intended to do a full debauchery, and nothing would stop him, especially not Aya trying to revert to original type.

Aya kept being Aya as they picked up the key and walked to the room, but once the door closed behind them he looked at Yohji with such intensity that Yohji briefly took a step back. It seemed that he wouldn’t have any problems here after all. Aya brought that same intensity to his kiss, and Yohji responded eagerly, running his hands all over him and humping him back.

But Yohji had to ask, "What was up with you being so quiet and cool in the car?"

"Everything... in its proper time and place. Now is a good time," Aya answered in a husky, breathless voice that went right to Yohji’s cock. "No talking."

"I like to listen to you talk."

Aya kissed him hard and tore at his fly, ruthless in pursuit of what he wanted. Yohji moaned, which came out sounding more like a hum, which made Aya shudder. Sensitive boy. Sensitive boy who growled, "Too fucking tight," when he couldn’t get Yohji’s pants and underwear down. What did he expect? With how low the pants hung, they had to be tight just to stay up. Yohji had to help him. Damn, the shoes were in the way.

With the two of them in the state they were in, desperate and sex-stupid, it looked like this would be a fast one if they could actually get themselves undressed. Or they could always grind against one another clothed if undressing turned out to be too challenging. Yohji didn’t mind a fast one, since he had no intention of settling for one time tonight.

When Yohji had himself successfully half-naked, the important half, he looked up to see that Aya had made efficient use of the time by removing his shirt and boots and starting on his pants. The skin of Aya’s left shoulder and arm was mottled with masses of dark bruises.

"What the hell have you been doing to yourself?" Yohji asked.

"We’re assassins. It happens."

It hadn’t happened on last night’s mission; Yohji had kept track of Aya the whole time. These were fresh. Add them to the blood in his eye, and it looked like Aya might be doing something stupid and self-destructive in his spare time. "You’re not being good, are you?"

Aya’s expression turned wild. "If you have complaints--"

"About the training! You promised not to kill yourself trying to master your new... abilities."

"I’m not." Aya’s lips twisted. "I’m under supervision now."



That had to be okay. Omi wouldn’t let Aya hurt himself.

"Take off your shirt," Aya said.

"Take off your pants."

"I’m working on it."

"Work faster."

Aya snarled at him, which raised Yohji’s temperature considerably. He kept uncovering new fetishes during his times with Aya. But that bite, that Schuldig bite, on Aya’s neck pissed him off, so he pounced and sucked hard on it to make his own mark over it. Aya writhed against him and shouted his name before pulling him down on the bed on top of him. Fuck yes.

As they kissed and rubbed against each other, Aya’s fingers fumbled on the buttons of his shirt, so he took mercy and undid them, then tossed the shirt away, putting them bare chest to bare chest. That look of concern-- no stone face here-- over the bandage on his shoulder made him feel warm. Aya wiggled under him. Yohji had never figured him for a wiggler. Then again, there were a lot of things Yohji had never figured him for that it turned out he was and did.

"Dammit," Yohji muttered as he caught on Aya’s open zipper. "Your pants are coming off."

"Am I supposed to be arguing?"

They both tried to pull Aya’s pants off at the same time, which didn’t get the pants off but did make them look silly trying. Yohji, the expert at removing clothing under such circumstances, finally waved Aya’s hands away and pulled everything off in a few fluid movements.

"It’s a gift," Yohji said as he slid back up Aya’s body.

Aya plucked his shades off, to his protests, with "You wore these two out of the three times. I prefer to see your eyes." But then Aya gave him a hot kiss and wrapped himself around him, rocking hard against him, which made it better.

Better, but it would leave them with frottage again. Yohji figured that if he was doing a man, he might as well do things that could only be done with a man. "Hey, Aya, let go of me a little and let me try something."

Aya raised an eyebrow but loosened his grip and made an exaggerated show of lying back and surrendering himself. Wise-ass. Yohji liked it and showed how much he liked it by kissing his way down Aya’s chest to his cock. He touched its tip with his tongue and smiled at the full-body shudder that got from Aya, then licked his way down the length of it.

"Yohji, Yohji," Aya gasped, "I’m going to--"

Going to come. Whatever had revved Aya’s engine had given him very little staying power. Given the warning, Yohji moved out of the way before he got hit in the face with come or Aya’s bucking body. It let him watch the pleasure rush across that usually cool face too.

Once it finished wringing him out, Aya sprawled there limply across the bed and blushed. "That was embarrassing."

Yohji felt the heat of it when he kissed Aya’s cheek. "I didn’t mind."

"I did!"

He ran his fingers down Aya’s slick length and licked them clean. Interesting. Sweeter than his own. Aya took in a deep aroused breath watching him do it. Gestures meant so much in life.

Nuzzling his neck, Yohji said, "You’re done for, but I have this big-- really big-- thing that needs to be taken care of. Do you have any suggestions?"

"You could fuck me." Aya avoided his eyes. "If you want to."

Yohji had been expecting this to come up sooner or later and read up on it, not that he’d ever admit that to Aya. When he thought of the weeks he’d spent wanting to fuck girl Aya.... "Have you ever done this before?" he purred, striving to sound sexy instead of curious.

Aya answered with silence and a blanked face. That would be a ‘no’. Yohji had the sudden uncomfortable thought that he’d been a virgin before transforming into a woman, which meant that he’d had his first sexual experiences in a body that hadn’t really been his. As if he needed more reasons to be fucked up.

Yohji could see Aya starting to second-guess himself as he waited for an answer. "I want to," Yohji said as he put the condom on. "I really want to."

As they kissed in a slow, hot tangle of tongues, Yohji slicked his fingers and used will power to hold himself back from coming. He didn’t want to shoot off too fast. He’d expected more resistance for the first finger, but after the initial difficulty it slid right in. Aya had relaxed against him, and it felt like trust. Then Yohji found his sweet spot, and he became even easier. By the time Yohji was working Aya with three fingers, he was using every finger fucking trick he knew and a few new ones he’d picked up in his reading to whip Aya up into a writhing, begging froth. Amid the moaning and babble, it sounded like Aya wanted his cock already. Well, Yohji didn’t believe in denying people that, especially when he didn’t know how much longer he could hold on anyway.

"I hate the way you make me beg for it," Aya gasped.

"Make you beg? At no point did I demand that you beg me to touch you. If you haven’t noticed, I barely need an invitation. And it’s almost impossible for me to make you do anything."

Then Yohji understood what Aya meant. Aya, who rarely spoke to his teammates when he could avoid it and had a limited array of things he said to his victims, could be imprecise at times just from a lack of experience in actually communicating with people. He probably meant that he hated how Yohji made him want to beg for more from how good it felt.

"You won’t be begging for much longer," Yohji said.

Once he slicked up, Yohji thrust in as carefully as he could manage, trying to be gentle. Disdaining ‘gentle’, Aya pushed himself down as Yohji pushed up. Damn it was good, hot and tight, and it was Aya demanding it and moaning his name. Unable to wait any longer, Yohji started to thrust and followed every command to thrust harder and faster. Aya was anything but cold now as he had his wonderfully flexible body twisted around Yohji’s and begged for more, his pleasure right on his face for anyone to see. Beautiful.

Aya let himself drown in the sensations that ran across his skin and inside him. It terrified him to abandon his self-control and give in to what his body wanted, yet right now he did it, completely surrendering to his physical desires, Yohji, and the pleasure he distrusted. He let it obliterate him, riding the rush as Yohji rode him. It felt like and utterly unlike what Yukio had done to him: triggering different feelings, working in different places, surrounding him in different scents, running a very different weight atop him.

When Yohji came, Aya could swear that he felt it throughout his body and blacked out accordingly. He came to with his body aching pleasantly from use and Yohji lying beside him stroking his hair, so he turned to face him.

"Tired?" Yohji asked, sounding and looking amused and self-satisfied.

"Hmm, yeah." Feeling safe, Aya fell asleep.

Yohji smirked. He’d made Aya do that. Again, he saw signs of a trust that Aya had never shown him before.

Then Yohji looked at the bruises on his arm and shoulder again and sighed. Trust didn’t mean that Aya wouldn’t do stupid, self-destructive things in secret without seeing anything wrong with it. Having gotten through all of Aya’s armor, Yohji felt very protective of him now, and if he needed to be protected from himself sometimes, so be it.

Aya shifted and murmured in his sleep. Yohji eased his arm over Aya’s bare shoulders, careful of the bruises, and wondered what he was dreaming about. Wondered what Schuldig had been telling him. Wondered if Aya was being careful in his training, and what form Omi’s ‘supervision’ took.

He wanted to stay awake all night and watch Aya sleep. He wanted to protect Aya from bad dreams and crazy telepaths and his utter disregard for his own safety.

He slept soundly, and if he had dreams, he didn’t remember them.

Aya sighed. "You." He couldn’t be left alone even in his dreams anymore.

"What? No threats, no recriminations? Either I’m losing my touch or you should have sex more often."

Aya snorted, amused despite himself. "If I had any more sex I wouldn’t be able to walk straight."

"Ah, straight’s overrated." Schuldig sat down cross-legged on Aya-chan’s hospital bed-- her empty bed, with the cross slashed deeply into the mattress-- and seemed to notice his surroundings for the first time. "What’s this, the site of your greatest failure? Or is it second greatest? How do you even keep track?"

"I’ve invested in a Day-Planner," Aya said.

Schuldig applauded. "Very good! I see I’m rubbing off on you." Then he leered. "Wanna rub some more?"

"You," Aya said, "have not influenced me in any way." He turned on his heel, intending to leave the hospital room and, hopefully, the dream. He stalked out the door--

--and found himself walking back inside, ready for his daily visit with his sister. The nurses had told him that he helped Aya-chan by talking to her, and he knew they were just trying to make him feel better, but in some foolish, infantile way it worked. He felt optimistic for the first time in years. She would wake up someday, they would build a new life together--

The bed was empty.

His sister was gone. There was a large cross carved into the mattress. Aya felt his stomach turn to lead. He knew exactly what it meant: that he had failed yet again, that he had brought this down upon her. His work with Weiß had endangered his baby sister just as surely as Takatori and his car.

He sank to his knees--

"Oh, get up. You’re like a bloody Mobius strip. Learn a new tune, would you?"

Aya glared up at Schuldig, feeling imaginary heat suffuse his dream self’s face. "Get out."

"So you can wallow in peace? I don’t know, we were having a nice conversation a moment ago. I feel like I really learned something, don’t you?"

"No. I already knew you were a pain in the ass." Aya stood. "Bored tonight, are you?"

"How’d you guess?" Schuldig stretched lazily and lay back on the bed. Her bed. "Actually, I was wondering if you’d given any thought to my offer."

"I don’t need you. Omi’s helping me."

"Knows a lot about psi talents, does he?"

"Omi’s helping me train," Aya repeated evenly. "Yohji’s fucking me. I don’t need you."

"No. No, you don’t." Then Schuldig smiled. "But you want me."

He didn’t bother denying it. "That doesn’t matter."

"You’re so repressed. I’m not evil, Aya, I’m just drawn that way." At Aya’s puzzled silence, Schuldig sighed. "Never mind. Honestly, you make sex such a big thing. I know you’re attracted to me; what more do you want?"

"I don’t appreciate being coerced."

"You didn’t seem to mind when Kudou did it."

"That’s different."


Aya couldn’t quite think of an answer. He couldn’t say ‘Yohji never tried to kill me,’ because he wasn’t even sure that was entirely true. The early days of their acquaintance were hidden under such a cloud of grief and rage....

Instead he said, "You must be really hard up if you’re begging me for it."

"I told you, it’s my new fetish. I’ve tried making Farfie wear a skirt but it’s just not the same. That was a joke, Fujimiya, chill."

The mental image still made Aya feel faint. Which seemed strange, because he was already unconscious, so how could he pass out? He decided not to think about it. Or about Farfarello wearing a skirt....

He was not thinking about it.

Schuldig smirked. "I was your first as a man. I was nearly your first as a woman. I feel like we have a bond, don’t you?"

"I’m waking up now," Aya said firmly.

"Oh, sure, avoid the issue. That’s what you’re good at."

"Why ruin a winning streak?" Aya pinched himself hard--

--and woke.

He stared at Yohji’s sleeping face, so close to his own, and the thin trail of saliva running down his chin to the pillow. Aya hid a smile.

If this was avoidance, he’d take it any day.

Aya’s head pounded, but he fought it. If he let pain scare him off, he’d never master the talent.

Omi grabbed him. "Aya, stop!"

"I can get this."

"You are getting it."

"I can get this easier."

"Of course the color work is harder. You’ve been shifting mass and form for a while now but not your coloring. Take it slow and easy."

"I didn’t take the others slow and easy."

"And look at you now."

Aya sighed. "I walked right into that."


Aya slashed down with his katana, but his katana ghosted through his opponent, who gibbered for a moment before laughing in derision. Damn it. Aya solidified himself and his weapon and did it right this time, stopping the man’s laughter forever. It looked like he’d need more practice with his abilities.

Ken coughed behind him, and Aya said, "If you tell Yohji about that, I’ll kill you."

"Sure, Aya."

But during the car ride home, Yohji looked at him through the rearview mirror and said, "Hey, Aya--" but couldn’t get any farther through the laughter.

When Aya glared at Ken, Ken answered, "I couldn’t help myself! It was funny!" Aya’s death threats used to be more effective. Perhaps he’d overused them recently.

Well, he’d certainly had cause to. Unfortunately he didn’t see that changing any time in the near future.

Yohji saw Aya on the phone and listened in a bit to see if he was near the end of his conversation. "--right. I hope I can see you soon. Work. You know. You know more than I want you to." Aya listened silently for a while, then said, "I love you too. We’ll talk again soon."

Once Aya hung it up, Yohji sidled up to stand behind him to gauge where Aya was. When Aya practiced with his weird abilities, he came out of it feeling fairly lusty. Easy. He leaned back against Yohji. Yeah, definitely practicing.

Yohji felt a thrill running through his body, the new kind of lust that he hadn’t quite put a name to yet. Aya’s male body was foreign yet familiar to him now, and sometimes he caught himself still looking for soft curves instead of hard planes, not that he’d ever admit it to Aya. Being attracted to him as a man had become something of a badge of pride for Yohji. Which was strange enough considering how vehemently he had insisted-- would still insist-- that he wasn’t gay.

But Aya wasn’t necessarily a man, at least not just any man, and he certainly wasn’t a woman. He embodied a third column and possibly some nebulous fourth as well.

Yohji didn’t like men. He liked Aya. That was enough for him, and Schuldig could just go screw himself.

"We should be minding the shop," Aya said, but he made no move to pull away.

Yohji smiled, gratified, and ran his fingers through the wilder strands of Aya’s hair. "Eh, business is slow. There’s really no way for a traveling florist business to build a customer base, when you think about it."

"Customers," Aya echoed. He said it like it was a dirty word.

"You’re not cut out for the service industry, are you?"

"You only just realized this?" Aya was quiet for a moment, and then he said, almost inaudibly, "I was a waiter."

"You--" What? "What?"

Yohji could feel the small twitch of lips that was Aya’s version of a smile. "Before this. I was a waiter."

Before Weiß, before Takatori. Before his sister’s coma. "No wonder you hate people."

"I don’t hate people. Not always."

"Yeah, you’re a ray of sunshine." Once again Aya had shared information freely. The fact that it was personal information, about his own past, made the revelation all the more daunting. Suddenly Yohji was seized by a moment’s unreasoning panic. What exactly was he getting himself into?

The moment passed, just as Aya demanded, "What is it?" and Yohji relaxed, feeling a true smile curve his face. He rested his hand under Aya’s chin and pulled him around gently until they were facing each other. Aya was tall, but Yohji was just a little bit taller, and Aya’s lips parted easily under his.

Lust. Oh yes.

Yohji danced, enjoying the pounding of the music thrumming through his body. The pretty woman he danced with spun him away into the arms of a new partner. "So predictable, Yohji," Schuldig said as he tightened his grip on Yohji’s wrist, the one he kept his watch on. "I guess I can’t expect all your dreams to be... stimulating."

"Fuck off," Yohji said, but his efforts to pull away got him nowhere. Maybe Schuldig’s telepathy made him stronger in dreams.

"Maybe. It sure is fun corrupting Aya, isn’t it?"

"Corrupting? You have the wrong guy. I’m the last one who’s gonna think that having a healthy sex life is corruption. Aya, though...." Yohji understood then. "You son of a bitch."

Schuldig’s smile just about devoured his face. "The only reason you got him to go this far is that he got his vengeance and his sister woke up from her coma. Before, it would have been a mortal sin to have a sex life while he had so much undone. Hell, enjoying himself at all would have been wrong."

"That’s before."

"That’s years, and old habits are hard to break."

Yohji hadn’t wanted to kill someone this badly in a long time. "And you’ll remind him of his old habits. Fuck, what the hell do you want? First you dare me to move on him, then you try to break us up. Do you have a plan? Or is that you have no fucking attention span?"

"You know what I’m in it for. Fuck, Yohji, Aya is so much easier than you are. I say something, and he’s already three steps ahead at my destination. You make me work for it."


"You realize that I’m suggesting that you’re not very bright."

"I don’t give a damn."

"Yeah? Maybe you’ll give a damn about this: When you’re tired of being ‘not gay’-- what, Ayasexual?-- and can’t deal with him anymore because you have no idea what tangled mess his head is in, I’ll be there waiting to pick up the pieces. Please feel free to soften him up for me."

Yohji punched him, but he wasn’t Schuldig anymore. Asuka grunted at the impact and dropped to her knees, clutching her stomach. "Why did you do that, Yohji?" she gasped, looking up at him with hurt and confusion in her eyes.

Fuck. Knowing it was a dream didn’t make him feel any better.

Brown-haired and green-eyed and female, Aya felt good, really good, over having successfully held this form for ten minutes and counting without pain. He also felt unbearably... excited. He’d convinced Omi to leave him alone, and Yohji was nowhere to be found, and he had to work this off somehow.

The phone beckoned. It wouldn’t hurt anyone, and maybe Yukio worried about him....

As soon as she said her hello, he answered, "Yukio, can we talk for a bit? It’s Aya," in a purr he hadn’t thought himself capable of.

He could hear her smile. "I have to say that it’s hard to think when you sound like that."

"Good. I’m not thinking clearly myself at the moment."

"I can help clear your head. Can you steal a few minutes of privacy?"

He took the phone into the bathroom and locked the door. "Done."

Her voice purring dirty instructions and his own fingers brought him to orgasm in five minutes. "Oh, God," he finally gasped as he sprawled half-naked on the counter with his head tilted back against the wall and legs spread, the aftershocks of pleasure pulsing through his body.

"Yes, my disciple?"

As he looked at himself in the mirror, he realized that at some point his hair and eyes had changed back to his true colors, making it him--female him--sitting there looking like a wanton slut. What the hell was he doing? Once he’d been the master of his flesh, but lately it seemed to be taking a protracted vengeance on him. He closed his eyes.

"And here comes the guilt," Yukio said over the phone, sounding sad.

He wouldn’t make her feel awful over this. "No. I just didn’t call with the intention of getting free phone sex."

"It’s dull where you are?"

Aya thought of all that had happened since she’d last seen him. "I wouldn’t say that. It’s just not home."

"Tell me about it."

So he did, as much as he could, which of course left out the assassinations, predatory telepaths, building cave-in, ghost-walking, and body changes, yet even with his omissions he still had more to talk about than he’d expected.

His arms tightly crossed, Aya stared at the clothing folded in neat piles at the bottom of the closet. Her clothing.

He’d hated every moment of being female that month. Hated it. It had been wrong, a cruel lie, to be stuck like that. He only got these urges to become her now when he didn’t have to because the changing gave him an endorphin rush, intoxication. That was all. It would be sick to want it for any other reason. His calls to Yukio had been aberrations born of chemical shifts. The anatomically impossible sexual ache he felt in body parts he didn’t even have as a man had to be psychosomatic.

If he didn’t start taking responsibility for his own lusts, they’d keep blindsiding him.

It would be easier if he didn’t have the clothes around to remind him, but he needed to keep them for work, since Kritiker so appreciated the thought of an agent that could completely change his appearance. Keeping them saved some expenses, and he knew he could move and fight in these.

Aya’s hands clenched on his arms. Rush or no, temptation or no, Yukio or no, he only had to exercise some self-control.

Aya had been standing on this line in the bank for hours now. How incompetent was that teller? His father would have lambasted her. Incensed beyond measure, he started to unsheathe his katana, intent on teaching her what customer service should be.

On line in front of him, Kae-kun stamped her foot and growled, "C’mon already! Aya, you have to do something about this!" She looked as angry as a four-year-old girl could possibly look.

Kae hadn’t seen him since they were both four years old, so why had she called him ‘Aya’? Goading him to kill seemed out of character as well. Maybe she would have to taste his blade first.

"I’m scared to think about what this says about your subconscious," someone said from behind him. Schuldig.

Aya spun, katana unsheathed. The telepath simply stood there and gave him an amused, somewhat contemptuous look. "I’m so scared," Schuldig said with a theatrical yawn.

"This dream," since that must have been what this was, "says that I’m hot-tempered, paranoid, and impatient."

"As well as casually lethal. But waiting on line in a bank? Dull, dull, dull. I could put you someplace more interesting. A strip club, Valhalla...."

It might actually be Schuldig inserting himself into the scenario and not a dream Schuldig, so Aya asked, "Do you want something?"

"Nah, it’s about what you want. More specifically, about you knowing what you want. I told you that you’ll never master your abilities if you don’t figure out what that is."

Aya wondered if his soulful staring into the closet had attracted Schuldig’s attention.

The telepath smiled. "Yeah, that would be it."

Aya answered, "I know what I want."

"Oh, really?"

"I want you out of my head."

Schuldig put his hand over his heart and dramatically winced as if he’d been shot. Pity he hadn’t been. "Oh! The wit. I walked right into that one. And nasty, nasty Aya, wishing harm on someone who means you nothing but good."

"You’re putting a lot of effort into me. Maybe you should ask yourself what you really want," Aya said.

His eyes narrowed, and he paused for a moment before answering, "What I really want would scare you." The figure that had been Schuldig became Aya’s mother again and said nothing, though she stared at him and his unsheathed weapon reproachfully. It might have hurt if he hadn’t been so aware now that he was dreaming.

He awoke and stared into the darkness, upset at Schuldig’s intrusion but feeling like he’d scored a small victory. Of course, Schuldig would probably make him pay for that later.

"It seems that I can only change my hair, skin, and eye color to colors that naturally appear in humans."

Omi couldn’t help smiling as he imagined the possibilities. "Okay, now I’m curious. What color were you trying for?"

"I couldn’t give myself purple or blue hair. Red eyes didn’t work either."

"Someday I’ll find your anime stash, Aya. Hey, you smiled!"

"I don’t know what you’re talking about, Omi-kun," Aya said as he walked away.

Aya shook his head as he took advantage of his distance to watch Yohji in action amongst the customers. The man flirted the way other people breathed: automatically and incessantly. It seemed as necessary to him as breathing as well. Aya could just barely hear his low, insouciant purr as he spoke about something that probably had nothing whatsoever to do with the job he was supposed to be doing.

Aya sighed. How could mannerisms that had annoyed the shit out of him months ago now seem so endearing? He knew he had a stupid little smile on his face.

This couldn’t happen. He didn’t dare become attached, because he would lose Yohji eventually, especially if Yohji ever found out what he was really like.

Aya found a certain peace in the repetitive, familiar motions of closing up for the night. It required no thinking of itself and allowed him to let his mind wander. With only a few more plants left to bring in, he was almost done, so he took a moment to enjoy the colors streaking across the sky.

"Alone again?" Schuldig. How did Schuldig sneak up on him so easily?

Aya ghosted through the hand coming at him, leapt to the side, and turned to face his opponent. "What do you want?"

What did Schuldig always want? To mess with his head and whatever other body parts he could get his hands on.

"You need to get a new script, Aya. Don’t worry. It’s a friendly visit." Schuldig wore a long black coat and well-tailored dark clothing, all very flattering and contrasting nicely with his bright hair, and had foregone the headband. He looked good, far too good.

"Your visits are too friendly. I don’t want you."

"It’s amazing how people keep trying to lie to telepaths. It’s so pointless. But that’s okay, because Yohji wants me."

That hurt far more than it should and for far too many tangled reasons. Aya refused to show that Schuldig’s shot had hit home, but the telepath probably knew anyway. "Lust fixates on whomever it pleases. It’s what you do with it that matters."

"I think I hear an echo again. I’ll be kind and tell you that he didn’t make a move on me. But in his mind...." Schuldig smiled smugly. "In his mind he let me fuck him and begged for more. I guess you’re not enough for him. I guess the problem isn’t that you’re a man or that you do weird shit, it’s that you’re you."

Driven beyond thinking, Aya attacked, punching with enough force to knock Schuldig’s head back. Schuldig grabbed his wrist and yanked him in for a kiss, and Aya had spent so much time and effort training himself not to ghost when Yohji touched him this way that he couldn’t make himself phase out. He responded to the skill and hunger in that kiss, kissing and grabbing back, even as he hated himself for it. Having never been so attracted to someone he hated this much-- even Botan had only annoyed him-- he didn’t know what to do, especially since Schuldig seemed to see attacks as foreplay. Schuldig’s mouth tasted sweet....

Schuldig let him go and spun him away, taking advantage of his dazed lust and confusion, then touched the bruise swelling along his cheekbone and smiled. "But I love it that you’re so fucked up. Don’t ever change." Between one blink of Aya’s eyes and the next, Schuldig was gone.

Breathing hard, Aya leaned against the side of the trailer for a moment, then stalked inside.

Aya walked in looking like death, his face ashen and angry and miserable all at once, and said, "Omi, call Manx."



Arguing with that tone of voice wouldn’t be a good idea. When Yohji approached Aya and had teeth bared at him in response, he decided that touching him wouldn’t be a good idea either.

As soon as Omi got Manx up on the viewscreen, Aya said, "You’re getting us out of Kanazawa now." His voice sounded like gravel being ground to powder. "Schuldig just paid me a personal visit at the trailer."

Oh, shit. And what had Schuldig done to make Aya act like this? Yohji lit up a cigarette. Schuldig had been out there and none of them had realized it. Omi’s eyes had gone wide.

Why hadn’t Aya yelled out a warning?

Manx said, "This is sudden--"

"Get us the fuck out of here now. He just violated all of your excuses."

She got a stubborn look on her face. "He’ll find you in Tokyo too."

"At least there we’ll be home."

"It doesn’t look like he hurt you."

Aya just gave her a look that made her change her tune a little with "Keep in mind that we want you to--"

"I know what you want me to do," Aya answered coldly. "I can’t forget it. I’m working on it. Now recall us."

"I’ll see what I can do." She killed the connection.

"I’ll step up my own efforts too, Aya," Omi said. "What happened outside?"

"I told you."

"Why didn’t you shout for help?"

Yohji said, "When you’re up against Schuldig, you’re too busy fighting to hold your own to spare attention for anything else."

Just as Yohji had intended, Aya looked a little less hunted after his verbal assist. He could get the real story in private later. Omi and Ken hadn’t experienced Schwarz’s more... personal attentions and couldn’t understand. Did it make him a very sick man that he appreciated having this kind of secret knowledge and bond with Aya? Probably, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He was what he was.

Unfortunately, Omi wasn’t so easily put off. "Aya, did he.... I mean...."

"We fought," Aya said. "He made some offensive insinuations and toyed with my head a little. Verbally, not with his telepathy."

"What did he say?"

"The same old shit. I need to--" Aya left the room in hurry. Yohji followed.

"Aya--" Yohji started, but Aya turned around to grab and kiss him, and in the midst of that hard, desperate kiss he could swear he tasted Schuldig on Aya’s lips. He pulled away to gasp, "Aya, it’s okay."

"It’s not okay...." Aya might trip him to the floor and have his way with him right now.

These touches had the flavor of territorial claiming and ownership, though Yohji didn’t know if Aya meant to claim him as owned property or to assert that he belonged to Yohji. Yohji grabbed his shoulders and held him out at arm’s length. "You don’t have to do this."

Aya looked down at the floor, seeming to be miserable and worried and afraid all at once. Of course he took it as a rejection.

"Aya, you don’t have to prove yourself to me." Yohji pulled him back in close for a hug and stroked his crimson hair to try to calm the both of them. "What did he say to you?"

"The same old shit," Aya said softly into the side of his neck.

Omi came through the door, his expression falling as he saw them, though Yohji didn’t know if the sudden depressed look came from jealousy or sympathy over their obvious misery. "Manx called. We’re reassigned back to Tokyo. We can leave tomorrow morning."

Aya pulled himself back together, straightening up and moving away from Yohji, his idea of being strong and in control. "At least something good has come of this."

Yohji hoped Tokyo would be better, but he wondered....

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 -
Viridian5 -

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The Green Room version 3.0 (Viridian5's fanfiction)