Amanda Barton


This is my first attempt at a yaoi fic by myself, so I hope it doesn't get too ugly. I'm going by the anime storyline, so I have all of the Weiss members living in rooms on the upstairs of the Koneko no Sumu. I'm not sure if that's correct, but I did my best!

I can't make lying faces
Walking along with rain striking my cheeks
My voice wouldn't sound except for the white puff of a sigh
To say "Goodbye, sorry to have hurt you."

~ Truth, Hiro Yuuki

Mamoru... Mamoru...

The voices kept calling out to him, kept reaching out for him, but he couldn't identify them. He strained against the invisible bonds that held him tightly against the icy earth below him. The name pounded in his ears over and over, echoing painfully in his brain, as well as the soft sound of approaching footsteps, the monster coming nearer and nearer to him with each passing second. Red eyes flashed.

Brother...? The beast came closer. No...!

A fatal scream escaped Omi's lips as he jerked into consciousness, breathing heavily. His pajamas stuck firmly to his body with sweat, his heart beating frantically within his chest. The nightmare... Again... Sighing, Omi slumped back against a pillow, his thoughts cluttering together into one giant mess.

It had been hard enough for Omi to even begin dealing with the memories that surfaced within him after the kidnapping case. It was too much pressure on him at once to discover that his real name was Takatori Mamoru, a son in a family of ruthless killers... He kept denying it to himself, kept persisting that meeting his brother Hirofumi and allowing him to escape had never happened. It was just too much... But he kept remembering it, the scene repeating before his eyes over and over like a stuck record.

Don't go anywhere, Mamoru. Let's live together and help each other! Let Father's dream come true!

Father... He could see them again, those visions that flashed through his head like a speeding rollercoaster whenever he heard that word. He felt the ropes binding back his arms again, and eyed the tall, dark shadows towering over him with horror-stricken eyes, listening as they snickered amusingly at his crying. Your dad said he won't pay... Hands reached for his neck. I'll teach him a lesson. I'll kill him!

His concentration was broken when he heard a soft knock on his door. "Omi?" a voice ventured from outside. "Are you alright?"

The door creaked open ever so slightly and Ken poked his head in, his long brunette bangs hanging messily in his eyes. "I heard you scream," he explained sheepishly as he stepped into the room.

"I'm fine, Ken-kun," Omi stammered as he sat up. "Just had a bad dream, that's all."

Ken nodded understandingly as he sat beside the boy on the bed, gazing down thoughtfully at the floor. Omi stared distractedly at the designs on his bed sheets, a strong wave of guilt washing over him. Not only had he allowed their target, his brother, to get away, but he had pointed a gun at two of his closest friends to do so. Even now he couldn't forgive himself for doing such a thing, even though Ken seemed to have already forgotten it, and Aya had just flat-out stopped talking to him anyway. He had never broken down and cried as hard as he had at that time before, except maybe after he discovered that his father didn't even care enough about him to pay his ransom. It hurt...

"Omi..." The young boy looked up, startled as Ken wiped tears away from his clear blue eyes. When had he started crying? Omi let out a quiet sob, wishing over and over again that his memory had never returned, had stayed locked away in the vault of his mind forever. Persia was right. He was so much happier never knowing the truth. But now... "What's wrong?" Ken asked as he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Can you tell me about it?"

Damn, he just had to ask. The very thought of telling someone the few memories he had regressed horrified him. He had no right to throw his problems on other people when they all had troubles of their own, especially the other members of Weiss. And Ouka... She had asked him about it, too. It was hard to turn away from her, hard to tell her that it had nothing to do with her and to leave him alone. The more he thought about her, the more his heart began to feel like it was about to burst. He didn't understand it.

And Aya had been worst of all. He could remember visiting the older man just hours before, inquiring on his connection to the Takatori family that he was now a member of. That same flame of hate had sparked in those dark, amethyst eyes at even the slightest mention of that name, the same as that time when they were on a mission to stop a chain of human chess games. He had been expecting Aya to coldly push him away and avoid the question before he approached him on the subject, but it still afflicted him nonetheless. He didn't want Aya to be angry at him, or any of the other members of Weiss for that matter. It wasn't fair that Aya was acting this way towards him simply because he was part of a family that had abandoned him since childhood, leaving him at the hands of Persia, who had raised him to become the assassin that he was now. But the damage had been done, and Aya was not one who easily changed his mind about things. He would probably never know what grudge Aya held his against the Takatori's, no matter how many times he asked.

"It's nothing, Ken-kun!" he insisted again, trying to fake a smile. "Go back to sleep, okay? I'll be just fine." A wave of guilt arose in him as Ken stood up, looking down at him with melancholy eyes. He hated lying to anyone, especially Ken, but the last thing he needed was everyone worrying about him. It was his usual nature to be happy and cheerful. He didn't want them to see otherwise.

"It's because of the Takatoris, isn't it?" Omi tensed. "I understand if you don't want to talk about it," he said as crept across the room back to the door. "But just remember that I'm here for you if you ever do want to talk about it." And with that he left, exiting as quietly as he had entered. Omi buried his face in his hands, holding back tears.

If only I could explain my feelings to someone...

It became plainly obvious to each of the members in Weiss over the next few weeks that something was definitely wrong with Omi. Of course they assumed that most of his depression was the result of the recent killing of his older brother Hirofumi, which he had delivered with his own hands. His wounds from the torture Hirofumi had put him through were still not completely healed, making it difficult for him to move around much. Momoe had dismissed him from his duties around the shop for the time being, leaving Omi more time to spend away at his computer, alone in his room.

Ouka dropped by every day to check on Omi, asking how he was doing and what had happened to him at the party. His three teammates avoided the question as inconspicuously as possible, though Ouka was stubborn as usual, and would not be denied. She questioned Omi herself once when he had come down to the shop to begin work again. Ken could recall her frightened tone of voice when she approached him on the matter. Omi, are you getting dragged into something dangerous? Strange incidents keep happening around you. I'm worried.

Omi had dismissed it as casually as the others had, but it didn't change the fact that Ouka was becoming suspicious. After Omi and she had gotten caught for human game and Omi's kidnapping at the Jigen Party that she had invited him to, it was no wonder. If she were to discover that Omi was a member of Weiss, team rules were going to have to apply. To kill her.

Ken figured that must have been the main cause of Omi's misery. He had finally come to realize that he was not Takatori Mamoru, but indeed Tsukiyono Omi, discovering who he really was on the inside. The ordeal between him and the Takatori family didn't seem to be bothering him much anymore, so it must have been Ouka...

"What's the matter with Omi?" Ken questioned to Aya and Yoji. Aya sat across from him at the table placed in the middle of the Koneko no Sumu, looking as serious as ever, and Yoji was at the other side of the room constructing a flower arrangement. "He's locked himself in his room since coming home."

"He probably had a fight with Ouka. I guess the sunshine turned into rain," Yoji replied casually, gathering up another handful of flowers.

"He had an awfully serious look on his face," Ken persisted, hoping for a better explanation.

"When a man falls in love his face becomes that way." Yoji turned, winking back at him.

ken rolled his eyes, sighing irritably. "Well, I'm going to go check on him. Keep an eye on the store, will you?"

Omi tossed and turned beneath the sheets, memories of the previous afternoon surfacing within him. His heart ached even more intensely than ever when he thought of Ouka, and at times he found it hard to breathe when she was near him. She may have been selfish and pushy, but she cared... about him. There was so much more to her on the inside, things that he couldn't even begin to contemplate.

Again the man's words echoed within his mind like a stuck record - haunting him, plaguing him. You've fallen in love with Ouka, haven't you? And even more so the words that followed. Inside you've nodded yes.

He slowly sat up, wiping warm tears away from the corners of his eyes. You're a member of Weiss. You're a sibling-killing murderer.

That's not true! I...

"Omi?" He heard a knock at his door, Ken's soft voice speaking calmly from outside. "What's the matter? Are you all right?" He heard the knob jam when Ken tried to twist it open, the lock on his door keeping it securely closed. "Come on, open the door, Omi. You can't stay in there all day."

Omi groaned. He was hoping that he could avoid the rest of his team for at least the rest of the day. But he knew it was no use trying to convince Ken to go away and leave him alone. Ken was not someone who easily gave up on anything. Mumbling to himself, Omi stood, blindly fumbling for the doorknob in the darkness of the room. Eventually he located the lock, flipping it in the opposite direction from its current position before plopping right back down on his bed.

Ken cautiously creaked the door open, peering in to see Omi's back facing him as he sat in bed. "What's the matter, Omi? It isn't like you to just sit in here and pout all day, and I know you're well enough to be working in the shop by now."

"It doesn't matter..." Omi muttered moodily. There was no way he was going to tell any of them about his conversation with that odd redhead. Doing so would only put Ouka in more danger than she was already in.

"Come on, Omi. You've been so distant lately," Ken said as he sat on the edge of the bed. "Is that Takatori thing still getting to you? You know that Aya isn't angry with you anymore, and it was your brothers' own faults for setting themselves up as targets. You have to stop blaming yourself for it."

"It's not that..." he replied gloomily as he sat up.

"What is it then?" Ken asked, raising a brow at him.

"That guy... The one with the red hair that showed up when you all came to rescue me... I saw him again," Omi admitted slowly, silently cursing himself for never being able to keep his mouth shut about some things. Ouka had been miffed with him for days for not opening his problems out to her and now he explaining them to Ken?! Then again, the former J-League player was kind and understanding, and could easily be trusted with whatever he told him. Ken wouldn't mention it to Aya and Yoji if he asked him not to. That was what made him such a wonderful friend to have.

"Eh? What happened? Did he hurt you?" Ken instantly burst out in a concerned voice. He could still remember how intensely he despised the superior smirk that man gave them, saying one of the oddest things he had ever heard. I have seen your faces. Now I have your lives. It was his fault that this happened to Omi. If he hadn't kidnapped Omi, Hirofumi never would have been able to wound him like he had. There were few instances Ken could recall where he had been so angry that rage completely overtook him, and that was one of them, having to see Omi with his hands bound tightly together with rope, hanging helplessly from the ceiling, shirt removed as Hirofumi beat him, demanding to know why Omi had tried to kill him. And Omi, as loyal as he had always been, didn't say a single word about it. Ken had protected Omi like a younger brother ever since he joined Weiss. And seeing Omi's real blood-brother do a thing like that... It was inexcusable!

"No... But he knows about Weiss. He knows all about it and... he threatened to tell Ouka about it... I don't know how he found out, but he knows everything. About Masafumi and Hirofumi and everything..." Omi choked on his words, a sob escaping him. He hid his face in his hands when tears prickled at the corners of his eyes. "I don't know what to do! If he tells Ouka, she'll never speak to me again! She'll hate me and she'll abandon me just like Dad did, and I'll - "

"Your father?" Ken scooted toward him, patting him gently on the back. "What happened, Omi? How was it that he hurt you?"

"They were going to kill me! I was so scared... But Dad wouldn't even pay for me, and they were going to..." Another forceful sob surged through his stomach, driving him beyond words in agony.

Ken wrapped supportive arms around him, letting Omi weep into the fabric of his shirt. It all made sense now, why Omi had broken down during their mission to stop a group of kidnappers, why Persia had raised him instead of his father, Takatori Reiji. And he had kept it all bottled up inside of him all this time, his hidden emotional pain now leaking out of him in the form of tears. Ken held him there, stroking his soft strands of hair while Omi cried until he couldn't cry any more. Once his sobs subsided, Ken gently placed his head back against the pillows of the bed, wiping tears away from his soft cheeks.

I know what it means more than anyone, what it feels like to be abandoned by someone that you love, Omi... But it shouldn't have happened to someone as good-hearted as you, Ken thought as he pulled the blankets up over Omi's exhausted body. And I know how awful it feels when the guilt of killing finally hits you. He stood up from the bed, gazing down at Omi with sympathetic eyes.

"Just go to sleep, Omi. Everything will work out. You'll see."

Ken wished later that he could have been more reassuring when he told him that, regretting the fact that he probably hadn't helped Omi at all, and regretted even more that he doubted his friend for even a second when they received that strange e-mail claiming that Omi was one of Takatori's spies. He had cleared the thought from his mind as quickly as it had come without much effort, sure that Omi could never have done such a thing. He knew Omi, and he most certainly knew that Omi was no spy just putting on an act. He had been raised by Persia to become the assassin that he was now, not by Takatori to be placed in the position. And he could tell without a doubt that Omi's passing smiles and fond chats with them were that of true friendship.

Still, whoever had put the scheme together had done it well. As strange as the message was, they still found it their responsibility to investigate the meeting place they were given, surprisingly finding an angered Omi, a hopeless Ouka bound to a tree, and two mysterious fighters facing off against them. Ken recognized the smug redhead, though the other was completely unfamiliar, and a little odd looking...

It wasn't until after the battle that he found Omi holding Ouka's limp body up in his arms, screaming out her name until he was sure the boy's throat would burst. And it had rained, blending in with Omi's desperate tears. They had been too late, and now Omi's heart was crushed and there was nothing they could do for him. Ken found himself thinking only one thing as he looked upon the scene, heart aching.

Please don't cry, Omi. I can't stand it when you cry. I wanted to protect her as long as she made you happy. I really did. But there wasn't anything I could for her... Please forgive me.

Omi looked down upon Ouka's grave, which was now blurred from the tears in his eyes, his mind going hazy.

She isn't dead! he insisted to himself. I'm probably dreaming all this. It's one of those terrible nightmares, just like all of the ones about my brothers, and soon I'll wake up and everything will be back to normal. She'll pop into the store as straightforward as always and buy more flowers than she knows what to do with, and just smile over·at me the way she always does. Takatori won't really be her father, and we won't be siblings. Everything will... Tears burned. Ouka-san... I'm so sorry...

Denial wasn't helping, only making it that more painful. It was all his fault Ouka had gotten killed. She had gotten involved with him, that in itself casting danger upon her. He should have realized that at the very start when she had gotten captured along with him for human game, getting severely bitten by savage dogs. But instead of shielding her from that dark atmosphere circling around him, he had invited her into it, blinded by the love that he had grown for her.

I can't love anyone... he thought, his stomach churning with nausea from the constant flow of tears coming from his eyes since Ouka's death. Anyone I love will only be hurt because of me, and there won't be anything I can do for them.

"That man was right..." he whispered to himself, the cruel realization rushing to his brain. "I'm a murderer. I had no right to love her from the start..."

He slowly stood up on quivering legs, gazing up at the sky. Seagulls dived and chirped above him, flying east towards the same seaside he so often visited when his problems became more than he could take. His place to go when he just needed to be alone. Wiping tears away from his eyes, he took off into a sprint out of the graveyard, not even noticing when Ken stepped out of his hiding place behind a sakura tree at the other end of the cemetery.

Ken peaked solemnly into Omi's bedroom through the slightly ajar door. Omi sat at his computer, head lying down on the desk beside the keyboard, supported on both arms. He looked so... lonely. Omi hadn't left his room since Ouka's funeral, pining his days away in a deep depression. It wasn't like Omi to act like this at all. Her death had torn him up more than he had expected. But that was natural. Omi was still young and tenderhearted, losing the first person he had ever loved. Having her die right in his own arms... He knew what that was like. He had felt the same way when Kase had died by his own hand. At the time he thought it would have been easier than facing the reality that his best friend he had cared for and trusted had betrayed him. That it was easier killing him than to have to look at him knowing the truth. And he remembered how reckless he had been afterwards, not caring whether he lived or died, how he had even considered killing himself once or twice to follow Kase's dark destiny. It was Yuriko who had saved his heart. She must have been able to sense his suicidal nature, trying to keep an eye on him for as long as she could. But Omi...

He had to do something before Omi grew as wrecked with pain and despair as he had. Damn, just to get him out of the house at all!

"Hey, Omi," he greeted good-naturedly as he stepped into the room. "You have today off from school, right? What do you say we go out into town for awhile and enjoy ourselves while we can? It's nice out today and Aya and Yoji are working the shifts in the shop."

Omi raised his head a little, dismissing Ken's proposal uninterestedly. "No, I'm going to stay here. But thanks."

Ken frowned in frustration, jerking Omi forcefully out of his chair by his shirtsleeve. The boy wailed and protested as Ken dragged him toward the door, insisting, "You'll have fun Omi, really. It's not healthy for you to be in here all day. It'll be my treat."

"I'll be fine!" Omi whined persistently. "If you want to go out, why don't you invite some cute girl down in the shop to go with you like Yoji-kun always does? I can name at least twenty girls who would kill to go out with you."

"Well, I'd rather take you, so shut up and come on!" Ken tugged him down the staircase that led to the Koneko no Sumu. Aya was busying himself watering vases of white roses, ignoring the group of screaming fangirls circled around him. Yoji was at the other side of the store, doing nothing as usual, spending his time away flirting with another bunch of girls. Sundays were always the busiest day of the week at the Koneko no Sumu, since all the schoolgirls had time out of class to gawk at the four handsome florists working there.

"Let's try to sneak out the back door before they notice us," Ken suggested. He noted that Omi must have given up resisting because he attentively followed Ken's lead, even after Ken released his grip on the sleeve of his shirt. He reached for the knob of the back door, sweatdropping as he heard the excited cheers of the girls.

"Hidaka-san, suteki!"

"Tsukiyono-kun, aishiteru!"

"All four of them are here today! Lucky!"

Ken chuckled nervously as the girls came running toward them from the other end of the store. Omi merely stared at them wide-eyed. He looked up at him.

"Should we run?"

"Quick!" Ken agreed, slamming the door behind them once they had dashed out. "I swear those girls are like hawks! They could spot us ten miles away!

Omi nodded silently, staring fixedly at his feet as they walked down the street toward downtown Tokyo. There was really no reason to waste gas riding motorcycles on such a glorious day. The sky was a perfect, clear blue, a tiny breeze ruffling through their short hair. Ken took a deep breath of the fresh air, observing Omi's troubled expression. He missed Omi's smile, his laugh, his outgoingness. After everything that had happened, he wasn't sure if Omi ever could go back to being the way he was. He had always taken seeing that shining smile of his for granted. Now he wanted to see it again so desperately that it hurt.

"I'm starved! Let's go pick up something to eat," he suggested. "You hungry?" It was a pointless question really. Omi hadn't come down for any of their meals for the last two days, no matter how many times they pleaded for him to come down, and Ken was sure the boy was half-starving by now.

"Yeah," Omi replied slowly, "I guess so."

Ken smiled. "Great! Let's go then!"

Ken had to admit he was having a great time despite the circumstances. It was a fine sight to see Omi eating again, munching away hungrily on an ice cream cone. The streets of Tokyo didn't feel as bleak as they usually did when he was out now that he had a companion at his side, even though Omi rarely spoke.

He'd taken him to a movie for the remainder of the afternoon, picking a comedy that he hoped would bring Omi's spirits up. He found himself looking over more frequently at Omi than at the movie. He barely caught a word of the film, staring dazedly at Omi's young boyish features in the dim light projected off of the movie screen. Omi was so cute. His big blue eyes stared interestedly at the screen, gulping down soda pop between handfuls of popcorn. Though he knew he probably shouldn't, he admired the boy while he had the chance. It wasn't often that Omi was so concentrated on something else. He took in each little detail of his figure outlined against the dark. He was beautiful enough to be an angel!

Ken's face lit up when Omi began to laugh at last at one of the jokes that went by in the movie. How long had it been since he heard Omi laugh? It made his heart soar to hear it again, to see him smile at last.

It disappointed him when the film eventually came to an end. Omi strolled steadily beside him as they exited the theater back into the streets of Tokyo, the first signs of sunset settling over the city, colors smeared like pastels across the sky.

"That was really great!" Omi commented casually as they made their way back toward the Koneko no Sumu.

"I'm glad you liked it." Omi turned and smiled at him, sending his heart into his stomach. And he heard Yuriko's words come back to him again. I'm so glad you brightened up, Ken! "You look a lot better."

"Yes. I feel better because of you. Thanks." Omi grinned to himself. He had said that same thing to Ouka the day she had taken him out to look at an art gallery and then to her mother's restaurant. Ouka-san, I understand now. There's still too much waiting here for me in the mortal world before I see you again. I hope you can be happy for me. He l ooked up at the sky, watching the bright colors dull and darken. Ouka-san...

"Let's go out again sometime then," Ken offered shyly. "We could go out on our motorcycles and ride around town if you want." That had been Yuriko's and his favorite thing to do together. Just to ride out to the horizon, heading to no particular destination. Just the two of them.

"Sure." Omi patted him playfully on the shoulder. "Race you to the shop!"

Light flickered against the darkness from the TV screen. Ken watched intently for the second half of the next J-League tournament to start, waiting impatiently through the commercial break. He nearly jumped when Omi's head fell against shoulder, sound asleep. Ken smiled as he situated the boy in front of him, draping his right arm around Omi's shoulder to hold him up as he slept.

He must be exhausted after such an eventful day, Ken thought as he brushed golden-auburn bangs away from his thick lashes. Omi looked like an angel when he slept; a being of complete innocence and unequaled beauty. His breathing was soft and steady, nearly childish. Ken tore his gaze away from the other Weiss member and turned his attention back to the TV. Everything felt so peaceful with Omi cradled in his arms this way. It felt so safe and secure.

It was as if he wanted to be able to hold onto Omi that way forever...

Shaking his head as if to shake his own thoughts away, Ken looked down upon the slumbering angel, hoping he wouldn't have any more nightmares. Lately, he had been so concerned for Omi with the present situations, he had little time to worry about himself at all. Just to make him smile, he would have given up anything. He wanted Omi to be happy. He wanted to be with him and make sure he was all right, make sure he didn't try to do anything rash or reckless as he had after Kase's death. And spending this one day with Omi had brought him closer to his teammate than he had ever felt. It made him realize why Omi was always placing everyone else's problems before his own and helping solve them for that other person. It helped him forget about each of the troubles he had, just as Ken had felt when he was out with Omi today. It was an incredible feeling.

I've never gone this far out for another person before... His hand unconsciously moved to stroke the soft flesh of Omi's cheek. His heart skipped a beat. Why do you care this much about Omi? Is it because you've been with him in Weiss for so long and feel like it's your obligation to look after him like a younger brother? Ken questioned himself slightly, finding himself denying each one. That wasn't what he felt at all. It... it almost felt like that time when Yuriko was still with him, when he held her close like he was with Omi now, finding it within himself to love her despite the consequences.

No! Ken nearly choked. It isn't that! It isn't... Ever so carefully, he lifted Omi up, noting how light he was as he walked across the hall, placing Omi into his own room. He settled the slumbering boy down on the bed, pulling the blankets up over him. He hoped he hadn't woken him. Brushing long bangs away from Omi's closed lids, he felt a blush beginning to burn in his cheeks. That feeling...

Stop denying it to yourself! he heard a part of him yelling in his own mind. You've been pining after Omi ever since that incident with Hirofumi, and you know it! Why else would you care so much? Why else would you sit and admire him whenever he looks away from you? His heart pounded as he leaned down, pressing a light kiss on Omi's forehead. You've really fallen for him, you idiot! And you've fallen hard!

Luckily for Ken the next few days were too busy for him to have enough time to think. He was sure that if he started thinking again, he would come up with the same impossible conclusion and torture himself trying to prove that he wasn't in love with Omi in the way he thought he was.

Recent bombings were being placed in their name, leaving the Self Defense Force investigating left and right for a group known as Weiss. It was a wonder to all of them who could have been setting up each of the incidents, but it was a horrid ordeal at any rate. To make things worse, Manx had informed them that Aya seemed to have dropped out of Weiss for the sake of his own revenge. That left their group to only three against an entire army of specially armed forces!

Omi clicked away at the keys of his computer, Ken and Yoji listening attentively behind him as he looked into the situation, trying to find the details needed for them to strike back. There wasn't much else they could do.

"These were the places that the bombs were placed," Omi explained as the information scrolled up the monitor. "This is the airfield they were stolen from... and judging from the place the helicopter ran out of fuel and landed, their target tomorrow is..." Lights blinked on the map appearing on the screen, emitting a small beeping noise.

"It's nice they made it, but it's a landfill in the sea," Ken muttered as he observed the map.

"Definitely a trap," Yoji confirmed with him, arms crossed over his chest.

"What do we do?" Omi asked a bit hopelessly.

"Let's start our mission," Ken answered simply, turning for the staircase leading up from their secret headquarters, stopping abruptly when he heard Yoji speak once again.

"By the way, where did Aya go?"

Omi looked down at his keyboard defeatedly, replying weakly. "Aya-kun isn't coming back..." Ken could sense the guilt in those words, coming back up behind Omi to place a comforting hand on his shoulder. Omi had told him earlier that he had accidentally let out that Persia was really his uncle to Aya. Ken knew how angry Aya could get at even the slightest mention of the name Takatori, which was probably what turned him away from Weiss in the first place. Omi looked up at him, crystal blue eyes shining a bit sadly.

"It isn't your fault Aya left, Omi," Ken assured him. "It's his own fault for being so head-strong. Never think that it was your fault."

The boy managed a weak smile as he stood up from the computer chair, giving a small indication of a nod. I swear that I'll protect you no matter what happens... Ken promised him silently. No matter what.

Their prediction had been right on. In no time at all the SD Force had them cornered, the spotlights from their helicopters bringing the three assassins into plain view. Their missions were always performed in the dark, none of their opponents ever really getting a good look at them, as it was happening now. The three of them squished together, listening as a deep male voice echoed across the distance, demanding that they drop their weapons.

"It was a trap," Ken yelled, frustrated as they crouched low to the ground, watching as soldiers came in on all sides around them.

"We can't beat all of them!" Omi voiced as he saw the gleam off of their weapons in the moonlight. "We have to get out of here!"

Yoji nodded in agreement. The three stood up hurriedly, running as fast as they could out of the spotlight's view. The helicopter followed them to no avail, the soldiers beginning their long parading of shooting at them. Rain poured down on them, wetting down their clothes and hair as they tried to avoid the carefully aimed shots. They fought for breath, thoughts going short-circuit as more gunshots pounded in their ears.

"Shit! There's too many of them!" Ken cursed. "If Aya were at least here - "

"Don't depend on a drop-out!" Yoji promptly interrupted. "Right now Weiss is only us!"

Omi gulped, trying to catch his breath as he looked up, a helicopter right on their tail. His eyes locked on it in fear when he noticed the explosives attached to the bottom of the plane, waiting to be released.

"Ken-kun, Yoji-kun, look out!" His warning came too late, an explosion bursting behind them, the force sending the three flying forward, slamming painfully against the ground. Ken groaned in pain, clutching his left leg that had been smashed as Omi and Yoji pulled themselves up into a sitting position above him. "Ken-kun!" Omi fumbled toward him, helping to hold Ken's shoulders up, keeping him from falling over.

"Damn it! If Persia weren't around we could attack!" Ken growled as he looked up to the helicopters with hazy eyes. "Isn't there anything we can do?!"

"Over here!" Yoji gestured to a nearby piece of rubble that had been left sitting up, making a good shield once they hunched behind it. Omi helped to pull Ken back against it, trying to calm down his heartbeat. What to do... "Our time's going to run out in a place like this," Yoji added, adjusting the wire within his watch.

"I'm not giving up until the very end!" Ken snapped back indignantly.

I will not lose. I will not lose, he told himself, glancing over at Omi. Please stay safe. If they hurt you, I swear I'll kill them all.

"Violently snorting your last breath..." Yoji shrugged. "You've always been that way, Ken, and it doesn't look like you're going to change."

"Here they come!" Omi called back to them, eyes gleaming in urgency. The three scrambled out of their hiding place just as the gunshots poured down upon the debris as heavily as the rain, just barely missing them. Ken gritted his teeth against the pain that shot through his leg with the sudden pressure on his wounded leg. He would get through this. How could he ever expect to protect Omi if he couldn't even deal with his own pain?

Yoji struck back against the soldiers, sending out his garrote wire to tangle threateningly around the set of soldiers nearest to him. Ken watched, bugnuk poised for action, ready to back him up when needed. He gasped, attentions turning back to Omi as he heard a gunshot shout out across the battlefield, the sound of it deafeningly loud in his ears, pounding in his brain.

Ken looked up with horror-stricken eyes as they met the direction of the shot... striking Omi directly on his back. Breath caught in his throat as he watched the boy tumble soundlessly down the slope and out of his view. Ken trembled in terror before he let out an anguished scream, echoing out across the night sky. "OMI!"

Omi could feel his body going numb as he fought for air. The pain in his back pulsed achingly, finally fading into a razor-sharp thrumming between his shoulder blades. He tried to move, struggling with all his remaining strength to sit up, but it was no use. His body refused to budge even as rain began to pour down upon his limp form even more intensely. It felt so cold...

I'm going to die... Omi thought, tears welling up within his eyes as Ouka's face flashed through his mind. Ouka, I'm sorry I couldn't avenge you... Rain blended into tears. Aya-kun, Yoji-kun, Ken-kun...

Ken could only remember one thing going through his mind as he dashed steadily across one of the base's fences, dodging shots from the forces all the while. Omi, don't die... I'm coming for you, so just wait for me a little longer. Hang on!

And it wasn't until he saw Omi sprawled out helplessly upon the ground, body covered in bruises and the red blood that stained the front of his shirt, that the fact that Omi really could have died registered to him. Omi's voice still stuck in his mind, tearful and more scared than anything. Don't come for me! Run!

Once he and Yoji had been struck down by the forces as Omi had, lying beside him on the ground, he was sure it was the end. He never would be able to protect Omi, nor gain the right to love him... His hope drained from him as tears and pain, every muscle in his body aching with exertion. He was startled when he saw Omi slowly crawling towards him, getting just close enough to place a comforting hand on his shoulder. Damn, it really hurt. If he had only been stronger, he could have saved them both. He looked up at Omi with a defeated look in his eyes, using all of his remaining strength to whisper up to him, "I'm sorry." And then collapsed.

Ken's head rested comfortably in his lap, his eyes exhaustedly shut. Omi gently stroked his hair as if to calm him, even though he was unconscious. You're so stupid... Tears rolled down his cheeks. Why did you come for me? You almost got yourself killed! He stifled a sob, resting a soft hand upon his dirty cheek. Why would you risk all that just for me? A familiar feeling swept through him, a warm flutter in his heart - that same feeling he had felt when he realized how much Ouka really cared about him... And how much he cared about her. Oh, Kami-sama... Breath caught in his throat. It can't be...!

"Hey, Ken." The boy lazily opened his eyes, twin pupils still glazed over in a half-asleep state. He tilted his head toward the sound of the voice addressing him, Omi doing the same. There was Aya, looking as solemn as ever, with an injured Yoji leaning on his shoulder. The oldest member of Weiss smiled at them. "There was one more of us with a little sense."

"Yoji-kun! Aya-kun!" Omi's big blue eyes widened in relief. Safe at last!

"Let's get out of here," Ken whispered weakly. "I don't want to have to stay here any longer..."

It didn't help matters in the slightest that the assassins returned to find the Koneko no Sumu completely trashed, the downstairs headquarters demolished by the doings of the SD. Aya was all for going to attack Takatori right then if it weren't for his other three teammates needing time to heal their wounds from the previous battle. So there was only one thing to do really: rent hotel rooms until they recovered, and then head out to defeat their arch nemesis, Takatori Reiji.

The next few days went by slowly, the four warriors regaining their senses enough to consider a strategy against Takatori. And it was all the other members could do to keep Aya from stomping right out of the hotel to face Reiji himself right then and there. Ken and Omi had become dependent on Yoji to keep Aya's hotheadedness in check, much to their relief.

Omi found himself coming back to Ken's room time and time again to check on his wounds, forgetting all about his own in his concern for the older boy. Ken would merely smile at him, as Omi sat on the edge of his bed, helping to dress his leg in fresh bandages every couple of days.

"You really don't need to worry about me," Ken told him each time. "You're hurt much worse than I am," he pointed out, gesturing to his chest, which was tightly bound in bandages beneath his clothing.

"It's healing quickly, though. We should be ready for our last mission soon!"

It wasn't until later that night that Omi realized that was what had been bothering him ever since their showdown with the SD. Once Reiji was dead, there would be no more need for Weiss. What would become of each of them? What if they were to never see each other again? He could feel tears forming within his eyes as he fell onto his bed. If Weiss is no longer needed, than I might not be able to be with Ken-kun anymore...

His sobs increased, his heart wrenching more painfully than the scar across his chest. Why does it have to hurt so much? I don't want to feel this way again! Not after Ouka-san! He clenched his eyes shut against the tears. I don't know what to do... His fingers dug into the bed sheets. The more he's with me, the harder it is to tell myself that I'm not in love with him... And I can't stop wanting to be close to him

Soft kisses worked their way up the length of his neck, trailing lower to take one of Ken's nipples into his mouth. Moaning, Ken pressed up into the touch, wanting more. The lips came up once more, resting lightly on his neck before gently kissing Ken's own lips, and the words he longed to hear for so long were whispered seductively into his ear. "I love you..."

Ken abruptly jerked awake, his heart thumping heavily against his chest. A deep gasp escaped him as he struggled restlessly out of the bed, untangling the blanket from around his ankles. More dreams... he thought moodily. Those same erotic dreams that haunted him every night, making him want Omi more and more. He wanted to feel Omi's body up against him that way, to hear those same treasured words flow from Omi's lips.

He abruptly cut off the daydream before he got himself even more worked up, trying his best to stay focused on reality. His injuries had healed plenty enough for him to stop lounging around in bed all day, though it was a good excuse to keep Omi coming in to check on him everyday. He was addicted to that sweet look in Omi's eyes, the feel of his hands when he re-dressed his wounds. And each time his sexual arousal grew, intensifying the unfulfilled desire. He loved him. He wanted him.

And it was starting to frighten him.

Muttering to himself, he slipped into a casual shirt and jeans, gazing at himself absently in the mirror as he brushed out his tousled hair. He'd had way too much time to think about things lately. Thinking about how much Omi reminded him of Yuriko, his first love. They were both always so cheerful, always smiling, putting his problems before their own. But Yuriko had left him eventually, leaving only a fleeting mark in his memory. It brought back his constant fear of abandonment, always making him question how close he should get to something in case it left him, leaving a bruise on his heart as Yuriko had.

He needed to stop lingering on the past. He knew that, and yet he couldn't stop it from plaguing him.

Ken stepped out into the hall, immediately bumping into just the person he wanted to see. There was Omi, staring at him with startled blue eyes, looking completely adorable dressed in a sleeveless, lace-up brown shirt with green shorts.

"Konnichi wa, Ken-kun!" Omi said once his surprise toned down. "How are you?"

"Completely recovered, I think. Thanks to my great nurse of course." Ken laughed as he patted his once injured leg, not feeling a twinge of pain left in its wake. "And you?"

"Great!" Omi beamed. "I took off all my bandages this morning. It all feels all right."

"In that case, let's go out for a walk," Ken suggested. "It's been awhile since I've seen the outside."

Omi breathed in the salty air, savoring the misty scent as they settled beneath a tree. Rained poured relentlessly upon the bare earth, cold winds sweeping around them. Omi shivered. He should have dressed more warmly instead of wearing his traditional pair of shorts and a tanktop. He wrapped his arms about his chest, trying to keep warm. Ken glanced over at him, brushing wet bangs out of his eyes.

"You're shivering," Ken murmured worriedly, noticing Omi's teeth chattering. "Here." He pulled off his brown leather jacket, holding it out in offering to the boy.

"N - no, you don't have to do that!" Omi stammered shyly. "Don't worry about me!"

"Don't be silly. You'll catch a fever dressed in that," he insisted, placing the jacket on Omi's shoulders, wrapping it securely around him. "Just our luck that it starts raining as soon as we go out... We'll just have to hang out here until the storm clears up," he remarked offhandedly, surveying the silent park as Omi timidly buttoned up the jacket Ken had given him.

"I'm sorry about this." Omi blushed, looking down at his shoes. "You've been so kind to me. Thank you."

"You don't need to thank me, Omi!" Ken chuckled. "What are friends for? I'm glad I could help out." His heart skipped a beat when Omi smiled back at him, his beautiful blue eyes shimmering as he wiped raindrops away from his face on the sleeve of Ken's jacket. Omi really was cute, Ken found himself thinking again, trying to shove the voice away as he had countless times before. He had to stop thinking that way! He had to keep telling himself that the affection he felt for Omi was that of an older brother and nothing more. He could have forced himself to believe it if it hadn't been for his body's yearnings for his teammate, his desires burning more intensely as time passed. And spending all this extra time with him alone certainly wasn't helping. And yet he couldn't stop wanting that contact...

He gulped, watching a raindrop trail from Omi's golden-auburn hair to his lips, Ken's eyes locking on his mouth. He could only pray that Omi didn't notice his staring as he imagined himself pulling Omi up against him... feeling him... touching him... kissing him.

"Now you're getting cold, Ken-kun," Omi pointed out, breaking Ken out of his silent reverie. He was so focused on his thoughts of Omi that he hadn't even realized that he was trembling. It horrified him. His mind was swimming with wild fantasies of the boy, reality becoming hazy around him. What scared him even more was that he wasn't shivering from the cold. "Here, stand closer to me." Omi tugged at his arm, pulling Ken against his side.

"Omi - " he began to protest. He didn't think he could take much more. "Don't do this to me..." he blurted out, not realizing what he was saying.

"Huh?" Omi cocked his head at him, looking at him with curious eyes. "Did I do something wrong? Ken-kun - "

Omi stopped in alarm as Ken's arms twined involuntarily around him, embracing him sweetly as he stepped forward, his chest pressed against Omi's. He could barely tell what he was doing, driven by the force of his own heartbeat pounding in his ears. He couldn't deny it to himself - not now. He had fallen in love again, and had fallen so deep that he couldn't concentrate on anything else. If he didn't do anything now, he thought he would go crazy.

I want to kiss him... I want to so much... a voice in his head told him.

No! I couldn't! I'd ruin everything! We're both men and we're teammates, nothing more. This is forbidden! said another. Omi is never going to love me. I have to give up on him and stop thinking this way before I do something stupid and destroy the friendship I already have with him. I'd lose him the same way I lost Yuriko and nothing would be the same again. But...

Screw it, he decided, lust over-ruling him as he leaned down, his lips brushing lightly over Omi's. The boy gave a small yelp of surprise, but he didn't pull away. Ken took advantage of the moment, cherishing it while it lasted, taking in the feeling. His lips were so soft and warm, even more so than Yuriko's had been. He tightened his arms around him, lips pressing more forcefully on his as his courage built. It felt so good... Every nerve in his body reacted feverishly to the kiss, his mind going short-circuit. That familiar flicker of sensation in his heart... Love.

Ken sensed Omi tensing in his arms and he hurriedly pulled away, fear replacing the previous lust.

Oh, Kami-sama, what have I done?

He backed away from Omi, nearly drowning in those wistful cerulean eyes. Omi just stared at him, saying nothing. After a long moment he spoke. "Why...?"

"I'm sorry!" Ken stuttered, feeling tears beginning to well up in his eyes. "I'm so sorry!" And with that, he fled, running as quickly as he could across the park, not looking back even as Omi called after him. His tears blended in with rain, the objects around him smearing into one giant mess. He ran more quickly than he ever had in any of his soccer games, his breath coming in ragged gasps. He had to get away.

Running doesn't do any good, he told himself as the hotel the four assassins were temporarily using since the destruction of the Koneko no Sumu came into view. But I can't stop loving him... And I can't turn back now.

Omi watched as the rain began to fade into a light drizzle, the wind calming into a soft breeze. He pulled Ken's jacket more tightly about him, feeling the warm fabric against his skin. His lips still tingled with dull pleasure, the kiss so fresh in his mind that he could have almost sworn that Ken was still there, hugging him and kissing him again...

Sighing, Omi slumped against the tree trunk, pulling his legs up to rest his chin atop them. Ken had been so caring and understanding of him through each of the ordeals he had to face once his past revealed itself in his memory. If it hadn't been for Ken being there with him after Ouka's death, he didn't know what he would have done. He recalled wandering to that melancholy seaside he often visited to think through his problems just after her funeral. A part of him wanted to jump over that railing, to cast himself into that perilous sea. At the time it seemed that drowning himself in the depths of those icy waters would have been easier than dealing with the agony. He didn't have any family to grieve for him. Only those involved in Weiss and Kritiker.

He might have reconsidered going back there and doing just that if Ken hadn't taken him out that afternoon, making him realize just how much he still had to live for, realizing that Ouka would have wanted him to continue to be that happy, cheerful person that she had fallen in love with. She would want him to live his life to its fullest: finish school, go to college, and get into computers as he had always dreamed of doing... Fall in love again...

That was what frightened him the most. That time... when Ken and Yoji had both risked their lives to come back and save him, the way Ken had looked into his eyes when he held his injured form in his lap. He remembered that same look in Ouka's eyes that time she had kissed him at the party. And his heart felt exactly the same way it had when he was with Ouka as it did when he was with Ken now, only more intensely. Just being with him, talking with him, being held by him... He couldn't stop wishing to be with him and the more he wished, the more his heart ached. He kept telling himself that it was all nonsense, that he had imagined those longing looks Ken gave him whenever he thought he wasn't looking.

But Ken had... he had kissed him! Just like that, and it was over and now he was gone. It hurt Omi to see the obvious emotional pain Ken must have been going through when it happened. Had he meant it? It most certainly felt like he did. Either that or it was his own mind trying to convince himself that it was love he had felt from Ken all this time.

There was one thing he knew for certain: he couldn't ignore his feelings anymore. Time after time, he pushed the thoughts away, telling himself that it was a brotherly love that he felt for Ken, that it wasn't at all like the time he had been with Ouka. It was wrong to feel that way for another man, wasn't it? Much less one of his teammates! Then again, he always had believed that love came in all forms, that it could exist between any two people no matter what they're differences may be.

He loved Ken. He knew that now, though he still didn't know what to do about it. He had always been shy when challenged by Ouka and other admiring girls at the flower shop, completely oblivious when it came to matters of love.

Hey, fellow kittens... So, do you think I'll ever be able to love?

Ken's words came back to him from all those years ago, even before Aya had joined their team. He never did understand the meaning of those words back then. He smiled to himself slightly. Nodding with resolve, he stood up, walking steadily across the park as the dead of night rested over the city. Mist arose from his breath as he whispered Ken's name aloud.

He knew.

Ken couldn't recall how long he had been lying in his room by the time he heard Omi's cute voice ring out cheerful greetings to Aya and Yoji downstairs in the hotel lobby. Ken assumed the other two team members were probably already asking Omi why they hadn't come back together or why Ken was acting so strangely. Both of them had eyed him suspiciously when he ran back into the hotel alone, dripping wet with rain, not saying a word to them before trudging up to his room.

He sat up lazily in his sheets, clad only in his boxers. His wet clothes had been scattered carelessly about the room, his pillow left damp from his tears and from his soaked head that had been lying there. He brushed now dry bangs out of his eyes, wishing desperately that he would never have to confront Omi about what had happened. It was such a stupid thing to do! Sometimes he just didn't use his head. What was he going to tell him? That he had fallen completely and madly in love with him and couldn't keep himself from kissing him? No!

Just tell him it was all a joke, he thought. I'll tell him it was a joke and he'll understand and everything will be fine. He buried his face in his hands, feeling as if he were drowning in his own despair. No, he couldn't say that. If he did it would be an obvious and utter lie. He hated lying and it wasn't as if he could come up with some mindless excuse that Omi would actually fall for.

So that left only one option: the truth.

His body tensed as he heard energetic footsteps thumping up the stairs, followed by two other softer ones. He glanced over at his clock, noting the late hour. Omi really had been out for a long time then. He was probably as uncomfortable with seeing Ken again as he was with Omi, thus staying out as long as he could.

"Ken-kun?" His entire body froze in fear as Omi's voice ventured to him from outside, knocking softly. "Can I come in? I want to talk to you." He sounded so... sweet and caring. Ken moaned miserably. This wasn't going to be easy... but how could he resist him when Omi sounded so angelic? Besides, as much as he may not have wanted it, he was going to have to face Omi sooner or later.

"Sure, come in," he muttered as he pulled up the blankets to cover his bare torso. Light crept momentarily into the pitch-dark room from the hallway, then faded as Omi soundlessly shut the door behind him. Ken looked down at the bed sheets, studying the patterns on them as if they were the most interesting thing there. If he looked at Omi, he was sure he would cry. That was the last thing he needed. Silence stretched uneasily between them before Ken nervously began. "You got back late. Storm take that long to pass?"

"No," Omi replied. "I stayed there to think for a little while." Omi slowly came towards him, soft footsteps padding across the floor. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder and he slowly looked up at him, meeting the innocent gaze of the beautiful boy before him. The darkness made it hard to see him, much to Ken's disappointment, though he was glad that it hid his blush. "Here," Omi said, offering an object out to Ken in his other hand. "You left your jacket."

"Oh." Ken accepted it, at a loss for words as he set it down beside him on the bed. He was relieved when Omi finally revived the conversation instead of leaving it up to him.

"Aya-kun and Yoji-kun said you came right up to your room when you got home, and that you wouldn't come out all night. That's not like you at all, Ken-kun. Are you..." He paused. "Are you angry with me?"

"No!" Ken immediately burst out. "You did nothing wrong, Omi. It's myself I'm mad at..." His voice trailed off, an unbearable aching growing in his heart when Omi withdrew his hand from his shoulder, looking away from him.

"Because you kissed me?" he asked in a tearful voice, sending another wave of guilt through Ken.

"I didn't mean to! It just happened, and..." He fumbled for words, trying to think of what to say. "I didn't mean to hurt you, Omi. It won't happen again, I promise." It pained him to say that. To make a promise he didn't want to keep. Just like that time with Yuriko when she looked at him with those pretty blue eyes, widened with hope. Do you promise that you'll be there?

"Why did you do it then?" Omi asked, voice faltering as he said it. Damn, and he had been hoping he could avoid that question, hoping that he could avoid the subject altogether. But he couldn't lie, not to Omi. Not when his heart already felt like it was being torn in half.

"I - " Tears filled his eyes, a sob ripping through him. He battled against them, trying with all his might to hold them back. It hurt. Just like it did when he realized that he couldn't love Yuriko, couldn't fulfill her dream and be with her. He would never be able to make Omi happy. He would only bring him despair as he had to Yuriko, and Omi would leave him.

His body shuttered in surprise when he felt Omi's weight against the bed, sitting on the edge of it, warm arms coming around him and pulling him close. He surrendered to the embrace, sobbing uncontrollably into Omi's shoulder. He wasn't sure how long he had bawled like that, but he knew it had been awhile. And Omi was still there, rocking him back and forth like a child, whispering reassurances in his ear.

"It's all right, Ken-kun. It's okay," Omi soothed as he stroked his hair. "I'm here for you."

Ken just lay there limply in his arms as he spent the last of his tears. He didn't care how awful the situation was or how terrible he felt, only that he was being held. It felt so comforting...

A small, protesting noise escaped him as Omi shifted, pulling away slightly. His big blue eyes glowed like those of a cat in the dark, his saddened expression nearly bringing Ken to tears again. And for a split second he saw Yuriko leaving again: stepping up into the airplane that would deliver her to her dream. And even so her face showed only pain. Pain because of him. Because he broke his promise to her and wounded her when he only meant to love her.

It's the same... he thought sorrowfully. He's going to leave me just like she did...

His breath caught in his throat as he felt Omi's lips on his. Euphoria rushed through him, overwhelming him. The warmth, the desire... the love. He pressed forward, intensifying the kiss. He wanted more of that feeling, so much more. Omi...

Slowly the boy moved back, gasping for breath as Ken tried to calm down his heartbeat to a manageable level. Omi had just kissed him! Not a childish kiss that a younger brother might give to his sibling, but a serious, loving kiss. Damn, where had Omi learned to kiss like that? Somehow he hoped he hadn't gained it from previous experiences.

Omi's head came down to rest on his shoulder, Ken nuzzling his soft hair. A shiver ran down his spine as he felt Omi's hot breath on his ear. Omi tightened his hold around him, his voice just barely audible. "I love you." Ken stiffened, his heart nearly jumping out of his chest. "I love you so much..." He could feel the demanding truth in Omi's words, could feel the true emotion he felt flowing from his mouth. He couldn't recall how long he had pined to hear those words, nor how many times he had fantasized about it. But now it was real, and it felt so comforting, so warm...

"How? When?" Ken finally stammered after a long period of silence.

"It just... happened," Omi answered sheepishly. "It just took Ouka's death and you risking your life for me in the battle against the SD for me to realize it." He blushed a bright crimson in embarrassment. "I never would have thought that you felt that way... I..."

"Oh, Omi..." Ken let his body fall back against the pillow, pulling Omi down with him so that the younger boy was stretched out on top of him.

"K - Ken-kun - "

"Just let me feel you this close to me..." he whispered huskily, letting his hands roam up Omi's back.

Omi sighed and relaxed atop him, wrapping arms about Ken's neck. He let every fear and doubt he had clear from his mind as Omi leaned down to kiss him again. He moaned, placing his hand firmly on the back of Omi's head, holding him in place there. He absorbed the flavor of Omi's lips, kissing him madly for as long as his lungs permitted before he needed to stop for air. Omi melted into the kisses like a contented kitten, much to Ken's delight.

He really does love me... He's not just saying that to make me feel better, he realized between feverish kisses. I don't care anymore. As long as he loves me... He had thought that about Yuriko too, when he first learned of her feelings for him, which only made it worse when he remembered the blood of all those he had mercilessly killed staining his entire being, remembering that he could never tell her the truth about him being a member of Weiss and always having to keep it hidden from her. But Omi was so different, having been cast in the same dark fate as he had, being a part of that other side of him.

Their lips reluctantly parted at last, Omi resting his head on Ken's bare chest, listening to the rhythmic beating of his heart. "Stay with me. At least until I fall asleep," Ken murmured sleepily. He didn't want to be left behind again. He wanted to feel Omi's body heat against him, listening to the sound of his childish, steady breathing.

"Mmm... Maybe I won't have any nightmares here," Omi agreed as he snuggled closer to him.

Ken smiled to himself as his eyes slid shut, sleep instantly overtaking him.

The next morning brought about the same fears as the night before. When he first awoke, his memory had been so clouded and groggy that he had momentarily forgotten the events from the night before, wondering why there was such a warm body lying on top of his. Omi awoke with him when Ken began to stir underneath him. He lazily rolled off of him, yawning deeply.

"Ohayoo, Ken-kun."

"Ohayoo..." Ken blushed as the memories came flooding back to him, remembering all that he had said, everything that he had done. "I'm sorry about yesterday. I - " He stopped when Omi put a finger to his lips, silencing him.

"Don't you dare regret it," he told him sternly, "or say that you were taking advantage of me, because you weren't." He chuckled as he withdrew his hand, noting the redness in Ken's cheeks. Ken sat up, gritting his teeth against the razor-sharp pain in his shoulder. Omi was instantly observing his right shoulder, which seemed to be the source of Ken's reaction.

"It looks like you pulled a muscle. It probably happened because I was sleeping on top of you and you were trying to roll around in your sleep..." Omi seemed to consider something for a moment before standing up from the bed, heading toward the door. "I'll be right back."

Within a few moments Omi reappeared in the doorway, holding a small glass bottle up proudly. "Massage oil!" he said in explanation to Ken's confused expression. "It'll be terrible if you tense that shoulder up anymore. Lie down."

Ken immediately did as he was told, letting himself fall back against the mattress on his stomach. Omi crawled up next to him, flipping open the lid of the bottle. A sweet aroma drifted to his nostrils from it, reminding him of the Koneko no Sumu before it had been destroyed. The scent of freesia, Omi's favorite. Measuring a fair amount into the palm of his hand, Omi generously spread the cool oil over Ken's aching muscles, relaxing him. He closed his eyes as Omi's skilled fingers rubbed his ribcage before trailing up to his afflicted shoulder, taking great care as he massaged it. Within no time at all the pain subsided beneath Omi's fingers, leaving him only the sensation of Omi touching him to concentrate on.

"You're going to put me back to sleep, Omi," Ken told him in a teasing voice. "It feels really good though. Thanks."

"No problem at all. But jeez, you must have been really tense lately," Omi remarked offhandedly as he finished massaging the rest of the kinks out of his back. "Maybe it's best that you get some more sleep. Aya-kun is going to be dragging us out of here to fight Takatori tomorrow whether we like it or not, so we're going to need our rest." He planted a light kiss on Ken's neck as he stood up. "I might take a little nap too. I'll see you later."

"Mm-hmm..." Ken mumbled, exhaustion already beginning to reclaim him. "Later Omi."

It was midnight when Ken awoke again, leaving him restless and anxious about what might happen in their battle tomorrow. Wondering what would become of this new relationship he had just gained with Omi... Within the past hour he had dressed reasonably and brushed his hair and teeth about a thousand times (a bad habit he had when he was nervous about something). He paced around his room, thoughts of the boy swarming all around him. Damn, he couldn't take his mind off of him for even a second! He wanted to see him right now. It was enough to drive himself insane.

Reaching his final resolve, he crept out into the silent hotel hallway, crossing the hall to pause at the door of Omi's room. Knocking timidly, it occurred to him that Omi should be asleep at this hour. He still received a reply nonetheless, permitting him entry to the room.

He walked through the door, catching a whiff of incense that he found burning on the dresser of the hotel room, just beside the bed. Omi sat up on the bed, back propped up against the pillows, reading a book. He looked up, beaming when he saw the older boy, setting the novel aside on the dresser.

"Konban wa, Ken-kun!"

"Konban wa." Ken looked at him uneasily. Why was he still awake so late at night? "Are you having more nightmares?" Omi could sense the worry in Ken's voice. He smiled warmly at him, sending Ken's heart into his stomach as he was able to do with all of the angelic looks he tossed at him and him alone. He felt a blush beginning to burn in his cheeks as he approached the younger boy, trying to hide it behind his long bangs.

"No. I just couldn't sleep, that's all," Omi told him reassuringly. "Of course I didn't have any nightmares last night, either." He stifled a giggle when he saw Ken's blush intensify as he gestured for Ken to sit down next to him on the bed. Ken quickly obeyed, settling himself down upon the soft comforter, his gaze trapped by Omi's crystal blue eyes. "What about you, Ken-kun? Why are you still awake?"

"I wanted to come check on you..." he answered timidly, wondering if that was really the reason. It was either that or simply the wanting for the company of another.

"You worry about me too much!" Omi said in a joking tone. "I'm fine, really."

"I can't help it." His hand instinctively reached out, cupping the soft flesh of Omi's cheek. His skin was smooth, almost like silk. Ken was more surprised at himself for performing the action than the way Omi instinctively relaxed into the touch, rubbing gently against his fingertips. "You've had to go through so much all at once. I thought that we would all lose you."

"But you were with me the whole time. I couldn't have made it without you." He threw his arms around the older boy, embracing him tightly. "Hold me for awhile. Like you did before. Please...?"

Ken pulled him close, feeling the boy's body, warm against his own. Omi's hot breath lingered on his neck as he rested his head in the boy's fair hair. He smelt of the incense that he had lit in his room and that special other scent that was Omi's alone. Ken's heart pounded in his chest, the heat of Omi being so close to him tingling everywhere within him. It was just too much...

Time seemed to freeze around him as Omi's lips met his own, as gentle and innocent as the first time he had kissed him. Ken submitted to the sensation, forgetting all else. He sighed from behind the kiss as his tongue flicked at Omi's lower lip. With a small gasp, Omi let his mouth fall open for Ken, letting his tongue delicately probe his mouth. Omi tasted like sweet sunshine, Ken noted as he absorbed the flavor of his tongue, half-startled when Omi moved it passionately against his own. He stifled a groan, dueling with the younger boy's tongue until he was out of breath. Their lips reluctantly parted, lust-filled eyes meeting each other as Omi leaned in to kiss him again. It felt like heaven; holding his one true love tightly in his arms, losing himself in kisses unlike any he had ever exchanged. He wished he could hold on to Omi like this forever, to never let him go no matter what. If he were to lose Omi the way he had with Yuriko... If Omi were to abandon him like that... He wouldn't be able to take it - not again.

"Ken-kun..." Omi's husky voice touched his ears in a quiet whisper as his golden-auburn head dropped down to nuzzle his neck. Ken grasped the fabric of Omi's thin pajama top, hanging on to him frantically. Much more and he was sure he would have to give in to his body's yearnings... No, he couldn't do that! Omi was so young and innocent. He couldn't. It just wouldn't be right, but... The closer he and Omi became, the more urgent his sexual burning would become, driving him to manually releasing himself from the desires. It was more than he could take. He didn't want to lose Omi. He couldn't lose him.

"Don't leave me..." The tone of his voice surprised even himself as he pulled the boy closer to him, the pounding in Omi's chest an echo of his own. "Stay with me. Don't go anywhere."

Omi lifted his head, gazing affectionately into Ken's liquid blue eyes. He could sense the understanding in those cerulean pupils. It was as though Omi could see right through him, straight down into his heart and soul. Silken fingers brushed comfortingly over his cheek, drifting down to trace the curve of his neck.

"You're afraid of losing me like you did with Yuriko-san, aren't you?" Omi asked quietly, hands wandering down to rest on his chest, feeling the beating of his heart through the cloth of his sleepshirt. Ken nodded slowly, stifling the tears that were welling up within him. Again Omi's lips were upon his and every thought snapped from him, eyes sliding shut as his tongue explored Ken's mouth the same way he had his. It felt so good, so warm... "You won't lose me," Omi murmured as he drew away. "I'll always, always be with you. So please don't be scared."

"Omi..." Heat engulfed him as Omi's lips roamed down the length of his neck. He couldn't stand it... Barely aware of what he was doing, he captured Omi's wrists and pulled him away, pressing him against the comforter on his back. A startled look struck the younger boy's face as Ken rested his body, not too heavily, on top of him. "Omi..." The words huskily left his throat, raw with desire. Suddenly aware of what he was doing, Ken hastily sat up, meeting Omi's wistful stare below him.


"I'm sorry!" Ken sputtered out in embarrassment, rolling off of Omi completely. "I'm sorry!" It was really all he could think of to say at the moment. His cheeks were burning nearly as much as the arousal between his legs and he looked away sheepishly. He had to get out of there, otherwise... "I should go now, Omi," he heard the better side of his judgement say, despite what he truly wanted. Standing up on trembling legs, he fought the urge to go back to what he was doing, go through with what had been gnawing away at him for so long, until a timid hand reached out, clasping his hand from behind, pulling him back down to the bed. Lithe arms draped over his shoulders, and Omi's warm body caressed his back.

"Ken-kun, you don't have to stop," Omi breathed sweetly into his ear. "I... I want to."

Hope seared through him, washing away every doubt in his mind, as well as a wave of fear. He was still so young and tender... What if he turned out to be disgusted with bedding a male afterwards and left him completely and never wanted to speak to him again? He couldn't risk that! What if -

"But Omi..." he protested weakly. "Are you sure...? You're only seventeen and... I mean your virginity - " he cut himself off, realizing he had probably said the worst thing possible. Omi hated it when the rest of the team treated him like a child despite his real age just because he looked like one. It was more the fact that he was going to be Omi's first than his age, to be truthful. Omi had never been with anyone sexually. Hell, he had hardly been with anyone at all! He had never involved himself in a relationship before Ouka as far as he could remember, and he was sure they had only exchanged a few shy kisses - nothing serious. But this...!

"This isn't just because of my age is it?" Omi gave him suspicious look. "I love you, so I want to be with you like this. Isn't that all that matters?"

Shivers ran through him when Omi wrapped arms securely about his neck, their lips meeting once again. He wanted him so bad. He had for so long that he couldn't even recall when it was that his fantasies of his younger friend had begun. And Omi was right. They were in love, more so than he had ever dreamed. So it wasn't wrong... was it?

"I love you," Ken whispered as their lips parted, pushing Omi back down against the mattress once again. Omi gasped sharply as Ken's hands slid easily beneath the silk top of his pajamas, feeling the bare skin of his chest. Omi gave a small yelp of protest when he withdrew his hand from underneath it, settling once again when Ken began to unfasten the buttons of it.

"Ken-kun..." he breathed in heated passion, cheeks already flushed from the feel of Ken's strong fingers roaming over the skin he had uncovered. Omi pushed himself up helpfully for Ken to slide the pajama top all the way off of his shoulders, tossing it off the side of the bed to the floor.

Omi was so sensitive to the touch, Ken noted as he dipped down to leave a trail of hot kisses from his throat to his stomach. Omi moaned and writhed beneath him, encouraging Ken further. He leaned up, pressing feverish lips to Omi's ear, fighting to keep his own arousal under control. He had never wanted anyone this badly in his life. Part of him was nagging at him to hurriedly finish stripping them both, crawl over the boy, and push inside of him without a second thought. But no... he had to stay in control, had to keep his passions from pushing him over the edge.

Omi reached up beneath him, placing both hands on the thin fabric of his shirt. Ken froze, breath catching in his throat as Omi's fingertips slid ever so lightly up his sides as he pulled the shirt up to Ken's shoulders. He raised his arms for him and Omi finished removing the unwanted article of clothing, replacing it with warm hands, rubbing soft circles over Ken's muscles. Ken moaned in anticipation, his erection nearly killing him by now. Omi was driving him crazy, though he was almost certain that he wouldn't go any further without Ken doing so first. Omi was too innocent and too naive to take the situation into his own hands, too shy to take it a step further. Ken didn't mind in the slightest. In fact, he found it rather pleasurable to be playing the aggressive role.

Ken let his body slide toward the bottom of the bed, gently massaging Omi's feet there. Omi let out a fierce groan and Ken couldn't help but grin. He had never really been interested in astrology, but he did remember that Pisces' ruling body part was the feet, and assumed that Omi would be most sensitive there, being the cute little Pisces that he was. Omi moaned deep in his throat when Ken bent, pressing lips to his ankle, fingers digging desperately into the comforter.

"Ken-kun, please..." The words seductively left his throat, raw with pure desire. He nearly screamed when the tip of Ken's tongue ran slickly down his foot, writhing beneath the touch. "Ah... K - Ken-kun..."

"You're so cute," Ken murmured as he came back up, knowing that if he teased Omi any further it could be fatal. He already sounded like he was ready to climax as it was! He leaned over Omi, kissing him passionately on the lips. Omi answered with equal urgency, letting their tongues and lips duel together for as long as their lungs permitted. Ken's erection pressed taut against his jeans, becoming rather painful and resisting for him as they swapped wet kisses. He wished he had put on a looser pair of pajamas like Omi had.

Reluctantly drawing away from Omi's mouth, he let his tongue run from Omi's neck to his navel, drawing out anxious pants from his lover. He wanted to feel Omi now. Wanted to touch him all over...

Ken couldn't take any more. Unzipping his own jeans, he struggled to kick them off, joining their two shirts on the floor. Lust-filled cerulean eyes locked on his as fingers hooked onto the rim of Omi's pajama bottoms, slowly beginning to pull them down. He stopped uncertainly, gulping hard. He didn't want to push Omi. This was his first time being this intimate with another person, and he wanted the boy to take it at his own pace. As understanding as always, Omi nodded in confirmation, easing his concerns. Ken finished stripping the bottoms off without another moment's hesitation. Ken's cheeks burned, heart nearly beating out of his chest when he saw the confined erection pressed against Omi's underwear. Arms came around him, pulling Ken on top of him as dark gold lashes fluttered shut.

Ken settled there, closing his own eyes for a moment to fully take in the feeling of their almost bare bodies against each other. It was so warm... And far more amazing than he ever could have anticipated. For a moment he almost feared it was all a dream like many of his other vivid fantasies, that it would eventually crash and end, leaving him awake and overly aroused.

No, he told himself as he opened his eyes, bending his head down to take one of Omi's tiny pink nipples into his mouth. Omi gasped, arching up into the touch. It's not a dream. It feels too good... too fulfilling... Omi grasped his head, fingers tangling in his short brunette hair. My Omi...

"Ken-kun, Ken-kun, please..." Omi began to beg, pressing his covered erection up against Ken's boxers, exerting a ragged moan from the older boy. "I need it... Please..."

"Gods, you feel so good..." was all Ken could make out in reply, between moans from Omi's eager approach. His hands wandered down to the band of his underwear, carefully sliding them down his thighs. "I want you so much..." he whispered passionately as he tossed the unneeded garment with the others, the skin now revealed to him, causing a surge of euphoria through every nerve in his body.

"Hai..." Omi agreed, gentle hands roaming down the length of his back to his pair of blue silk boxers, pulling them down and then off as Ken had done to his. Their hot erections pressed against one another's bodies, forcing pleasing moans from both of them. It felt so good to be touched like that... It made Omi finally feel wanted after his own father, one of the people that was supposed to love him most, cast him away and left him for dead. He was wanted now. By the one he loved. "Ken-kun - "

His request was cut off of as Ken hungrily came down on his lips again, fingers drifting down to touch his penis in a ghost of a touch. "Ah!" Omi burst out when their lips parted, trying to push more forcefully into that intimate caress. Ken's other hand pinned down his hip, however, keeping him in place as his fingers lightly traced over the hot skin, getting used to its texture.

Ken savored the feel of the erection cradled in his hands, Omi's lusty voice begging for him, adding even more fuel to the flame of his desire. He wanted it so bad... His hand sped up, Omi's breath increasing with it, helpless cries escaping his throat. He crawled down slightly, legs hanging off the end of the bed as he brought his head down to that part of Omi he had so longed for. Hot breath lingered there, the scent of the boy overtaking him.

Omi panted desperately. "Ken-kun... Ah!" His words cut off as Ken's mouth came around him, surrounding him, a suckling wet vacuum. He moaned out Ken's name repeatedly as he tried to force as much of himself as possible into that warm space. Every nerve in his body exploded with passion. "Oh please, oh please, please, please..." His words left him in one run-together chant, his heart beating frantically within his chest. It just felt so good.

Omi knew he wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer, and not being very experienced with sex left him wondering if he was really supposed to come right there in Ken's mouth. His fingers clutched Ken's bobbing head, trying to pull him up from that delicious part of him Ken wanted more of. "Ken-kun, moo ii," Omi panted in a low whine, unsure of what to do.

Ken looked up slightly, sensing the boy's confusion. Omi was a virgin after all, and he was giving Ken the honor of being his first, filling Ken with more joy than he could have ever hoped for. His eyes softened as they met Omi's half-lidded ones. "It's all right, Omi," he reassured him. "I want to taste you..." And with that he went back to work on the anxious erection below him, teasing the underside of it with the tip of his tongue.

Omi writhed against it, moaning all the while, his passions rising to edge once more. He needed it... Oh please...

Omi gasped as his entire body convulsed in pleasure, releasing him from the previous painful arousal. Ken was prepared for the outburst, ready to swallow despite the awkward taste of it. He would get used to it in time. And taking Omi that way was definitely worth it!

He let Omi catch his breath and get his pulse back under control as he brushed sweaty bangs away from his closed lids. He could feel the tension in his own groin increasing with each second, nearly driving him crazy. Desire glazed over his mind when he thought of what to do next, something suddenly occurring to him.

"Omi, that oil you had for my back... Do you still have some?" he asked timidly. Nodding slowly, Omi reached off to the side, struggling to reach the knob of the nearby hotel dresser. Finally getting it open, he felt around for the correct item, then closed it as he handed the little glass bottle to Ken.

He urgently removed the cap, the sweet freesia scent of the oil intoxicating him. He held the bottle up to ready himself when Omi stopped him.

"Let me..." he whispered as he took the bottle from him, pouring a generous amount into his hands before wrapping them around Ken's penis. Ken moaned, the pleasure flooding his mind as he arched into the skilled hands that were slickly fondling with him. He was about to protest when they eventually came to a stop until he felt Omi placing a small amount of the liquid onto his fingers before turning to lie down on his stomach.

"Omi... Is this - is this okay with you?" he asked nervously as he drew his fingers close. "It's all right if you don't want to." Omi shook his head back at him.

"I want you. Please..." His head fell against the pillow as two of Ken's oil-slicked fingers entered him, probing the tight space there. It felt a little uncomfortable and strange, but good nonetheless. His arousal was quickly revived. "Ken-kun, hyaku..." Though the urgency in those words was evident, Ken could sense a tiny twinge of fear lingering within it.

"I'll be careful with you," Ken promised as he came up over him, positioning himself at Omi's entrance. Ken prayed as he slowly thrust in, warmth consuming him. "Oh Omi!" He couldn't keep himself from crying out, trying to press more of himself into that tight, heated space without harming Omi. He looked closely at Omi's face, noting both the pleasure and uneasiness of his expression. He slid in a little further, the lubrication helping his movement go more smoothly.

Omi's hips began rocking up to meet his thrusts, drawing sharp groans from them both, speeding up the momentum between them. Ken lost himself in the haze of sexual desire, united there in the body of his one true love. "Omi, Omi, it feels so good!" he heard himself moaning out throatily, met by Omi's own groans of contentment. "Hai...!" He thrust in one last time, his body tensing as it was released from that mindless wanting. He sat there, frozen in place momentarily from the exertion be felt befall him. He caught his breath before lazily rolling off of him, hoping that he hadn't been too rough with him. They had both been loud enough to attract attention from Aya and Yoji if the other two assassins had still been awake, and Omi being sore in the morning wouldn't help things.

Omi curled up beside him, purring like a cute little kitten as he wrapped spindly arms about Ken's chest. "Mmm, I love you."

"I love you too," Ken whispered back, stroking the boy's hair. "Did I hurt you?" Relief washed over him when Omi shook his head.

"Only a little. I liked it." He smiled warmly at him.

Ken gulped, his previous fears rushing back to him. They were going after Takatori Reiji tomorrow. After he was defeated there would be no more need for Weiss, and all of them would have to go off on their own paths to begin new lives away from the darkness of killing, but...

"I don't want to be separated from you. If we kill Takatori, Weiss will disband and we'll - "

"I'll always be with you," Omi cut in, placing a light kiss on his forehead. "I promise. No matter what happens, I'll always, always be with you. Okay?"

Ken sighed and nodded sleepily. Right now he didn't want Takatori to matter. Only that he had Omi, his love for so long, there with him, with his greatest dream now fulfilled. Omi never broke promises, nor did he ever tell lies. What he had said was the truth, Ken knew from the bottom of his heart.

Worries cleared from his mind, and he drifted off into a deep sleep, holding his lover there securely in his arms.


Ken gazed out over the elementary school playground, watching as the children ran from one end of the soccer field to the other, kicking the ball about frantically. He grinned. Everything felt so peaceful since the defeat of Takatori Reiji. No more Weiss, no more killing. He had to admit that he missed his other fellow team members immensely, though. Since the joining of their team, they were all basically family to each other. Aya had moved out to the coast to do construction work, and Yoji was still off being his usual playboy self, though he wasn't sure what kind of work he had gotten into. Omi had been trying to keep in touch with them via e-mail without much progress. Both seemed to be too busy to reply very often, but it was worth the effort.

"Over there! Cover the right end of the field!" Ken instructed to his little bunch of soccer players.

"Right on it, Ken-niichan!" they called back excitedly, waving to him proudly.

Ken chuckled. He really had his dream job now, away from floristry and assassination. And he had just the right companion to start his new life out with...

"Okay guys, let's take a break!" Ken told them, signaling them back to the benches. The children thankfully accepted the chance to sit down, sweaty and gasping for breath. They chatted fondly with each other, taking little notice of their coach as he slipped inside the school building through the back door to the computer lab. It was empty as usual, utterly quiet.

Ken sat down at the nearest computer seat, anxiously opening the e-mail box that the school graciously permitted him to have on their system. His face lit up when a message came in as it did everyday. A message from /him/.

Dearest Ken-kun,

How is your day going? We had some free time at the end of third hour, so I figured I should e-mail you. How are all of your cute players? You told me the other day that they were complaining to you about seeing me again. I hope I can get down there to watch one of their practices again soon so they'll stop bothering you.

I haven't gotten word from Yoji-kun or Aya-kun yet, but I'm sure I will soon. That's what I really miss since the disbanding of Weiss. Just once I want us all to be together again. I miss them... And Uncle Shuichi...

By the way, it's my night to cook dinner, so I'll be waiting for you back at the apartment. I have some homework to finish up, but I should be done by the time you get home. I'm looking forward to tonight, as always.

Anyway, I have to go now. Fourth hour is about to start.

Ken smiled, scrolling down to the closing that Omi signed at the ending of every e-mail he sent to him.

Take care and always remember the truth of only this...

Ken stood up, looking back at the monitor one last time with affectionate eyes.

I love you.